Thursday, January 31, 2013

Day #22,324

Walk km 12,805-12,807: to T&T

Movie #2211: High School Caesar (1960, O'Dale Ireland)

Standard JD fare. John Ashley runs an organized crime syndicate in high school. Why? Because he was neglected by his parents. That old "it's the parents fault" plot line seems to be used almost all the time in JD movies. Why can't any of these jerks be just plain jerks without that silly crutch?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Day #22,323

Walk km 12,803-12,805: to T&T

Movie #2209: Guns Girls and Gangsters (1959, Edward L Cahn)

As you can telll by the title, they didn't even try with this one. No hope this will look realistic so they go for goofy - and hit a bullseye.
They've got voice-over, Mamie Van Doren, Las Vegas, Mamie Van Doren, an armoured car, Mamie Van Doren, desert scenes, Mamie Van Doren, a roadside motel, Mamie Van Doren, a trailer court, Mamie Van Doren, a prison break and Mamie Van Doren!
Mamie Van Doren is good but Gerald Mohr is better as the sleazy ex-con. Lee Van Cleef and Grant Richards aren't nearly as effective but who cares.
0 points for skilled filmmaking, 75 points for being super goofy.

Movie #2210: Never Let Go (John Guillerman, 1960)

What are the chances? Two British movies on back-to-back evenings and they're both excellent. This one is even better than "Cast A Dark Shadow". You can only push a fellow so much before he's not gonna take it no more. The bad guys steal a salesman's car and laugh at him when he comes snooping around. They oughtn't to have laughed! 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Day #22,322

Walk km 12,792-12,803 (9519 to go): Pacific Spirit Park

Movie #2208: Cast A Dark Shadow (Lewis Gilbert, 1955)

Fellow who kills his wife for her money takes a new wife. It looks like he's met his match this time. But is it his wife that he has to worry about? Charming psycho drama.
And it's British to boot.

Day #22,321

Book #445: The Mourner (1963, Donald E Westlake)

Westlake wrote 17 Parker novels between 62-74 and then 7 more from 97 to 08. The later Parkers are better because they are more intense. The earlier set are not as intense but still fun to read.
This is #4 in the early set. Mostly read on a plane but still enjoyable despite that.
I see there's a new Parker movie out with J.Lo (not playing the lead role).

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Day #22,316

Walk km 12,785-12,787: to the library
Walk km 12,787-12,790: walk around downtown

Movie #2206: Dressed To Kill (Eugene Forde, 1941)

What in the world is this doing on Netflix? My guess is they thought they were buying the rights to the Brian De Palma movie of the same name. There aren't too many 1941 B-movie whodunits on Netflix!
Actually, I was all set to watch "Bus Stop" but they (Netflix) screwed up the aspect ratio on that one.
This one wasn't too bad because none of this whodunit stuff is taken seriously - it's wall to wall wisecracking from Lloyd Nolan as private eye Michael Shayne. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Day #22,315

Walk km 12,783-12,785: to T&T

Book #444: The Expendable Man (Dorothy B Hughes, 1963)

I've read a bunch of Hughes books before but it's been awhile. This one loses steam about half way through but then regains momentum for a "page turning" climax. A murder mystery (from the point-of-view of the accused) with an added race relations ingredient.

Movie #2205: Unearthly Stranger (1963, John Krish)

yes, you too will want to put your fingers in your ears so you won't have to listen to the idiotic dialogue in this movie

I kinda liked this one - not despite the fact that the plot is utterly stupid but because of it. You expect idiot plots from Hollywood but you certainly don't think that the British could put out something so nonsensical.
In this one, a fellow believes that his wife is from outer space one minute and then defends her to the death the next. With no explanation. Maybe the alien has switched bodies and resides in the husband? Nope, they never bother explaining. And the alien: all of a sudden she wants to be a human! She totally turns her back on her own people because she's pretending to be married to this stuffed-shirt Englishman. Good god how stupid.
Also, there were these weird fades at climatic moments just like they have on TV to set up the commercial breaks. Was this made for TV or was the director so stupid that he thought these ought to be in feature films too.
Oh, it was just so silly.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Day #22,314

Walk km 12,781-12,783: to Safeway

TV episode #44: Millionaire Matchmaker (2013)
the host of the show: Patti Stanger (isn't she lovely?)

This is the Daniel Negreanu episode. This show is disgusting. How can people watch this swill?
Amazing but true: this show is in its 6th season! Brain dead people have been watching this for 6 years. Let's just hope that none of these people propagate.

Movie #2204: Pitfall (1948, Andre De Toth)

It's amazing what you can find on YouTube. Here we have Andre De Toth behind the camera with Dick Powell and Elizabeth Scott in front of it. Sounds like the perfect combination. Added bonus: it's a film noir. Added extra bonus: they got Raymond Burr to play the heavy.
And does it disappoint? No way.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Day #22,313

Walk km 12,758-12,781 (9532 to go): Meetup walk around Stanley Park

Movie #2203: The Werewolf (1956, Fred F Sears)

Nice copy of this one on Crackle. However, something as old hat as a wolfman can't really create any thrills. The only update here is that they blame the whole thing on the artomic bomb. That A-Bomb sure created a whole slew of scarey monsters.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Day #22,312

Walk km 12,746-12,758 (9554 to go): Meetup walk in Stanley Park

Movie #2202: Because of Her (1963, Tian-lin Wang, Wen Yi)

Gracie Rocks Out
You never know what you'll find on YouTube. Here we have a Grace Chang film that I've never seen before. There are no English sub-titles but that may be a good thing (Grace's movies were always pretty crappy plotwise). It's still 100 minutes of Grace. For some reason none of the songs in this movie were reissued with her CDs in the 90s (maybe they were recorded for a different record company?).
Nice to have uncovered these 100 minutes of one of the greats.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Day #22,310-311

Walk km 12,730-12,742 (9568 to go): meetup walk in Stanley Park
Walk km 12,742-12,746: to Army & Navy

Movie #2200: Time Table (1956, Mark Stevens)

Gritty cops and robbers tale. There seems to be no end to these things. I'm not complaining.

Movie #2201: Hitchhike! (1974, Gordon Hessler)

ABC Movie-Of-The-Week has Cloris Leachman picking up a hitchhiker (a homicidal maniac of course). As usual, Cloris is great but that's the only thing good that can be said about this one. Everything is so homogenized and pasteurized that there's very few thrills left.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Day #22,309

Walk km 12,718-12,730 (9579 to go): test walk in Stanley Park

signpost for Squirrel Trail
approx km 12,723 Stanley Park

Movie #2199: The Return Of Frank James (1940, Fritz Lang)

You would expect a lot from the actor/director combination of Henry Fonda and Fritz Lang. It's pretty much just another western - larger budget just gussies it up a bit.

Day #22,308

Walk km 12,706-12,718 (9590 to go): Meetup walk in Stanley Park

Movie #2198: The Petty Middle Manager (1961, Bong-rae Lee)

What you won't find on YouTube. This appears have been made after someone saw Billy Wilder's "The Apartment". The basic plot is the same: the boss is having an affair and a spineless underling is enlisted to help things along against his better judgement. Fairly amusing but nothing more.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Day #22,307

Walk km 12,703-12,706: to T&T

Music Video #2: Violin Concerto #2 (Prokofiev) / Janine Jansen
Here's your last chance. If you don't like classical music, watch this. If you don't like this then there's no hope for you.
This is another of Prokofiev's big hits. Fortunately, this is orchestral only so it sounds just like the studio recordings ("Alexander Nevsky" had a chorus, solo singer and a guy banging a hammer on a steel rod). Extra points to violinist Jansen for some excellent facial expressions.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Day #22,306

Walk km 12,691-12,703 (9603 to go): Meetup walk along Bath Slough Trail

Movie #2197: Inferno (Roy Ward Baker, 1953)

Robert Ryan suffers a broken leg out in the desert. His wife decides to just leave him there - he's worth more dead than alive to her. My kinda movie.
From IMDB I see that this was originally in 3D - looked OK in 2D.

Music Video #1: Alexander Nevsky (Sergei Prokofiev) / Daegu City Orchestra and Chorus

I just stumbled across this on YouTube. Kind of an obscure work by Prokofiev. I had 2 LP versions of this, one by Fritz Reiner and the Chicago Symphony and one by Evgeny Svetlanov with a Russian orchestra and chorus. The Svetlanov was miles ahead and one of the all-time great classical recordings.
It seemed to me that there wouldn't be any orchestra that would play this never mind film it too. This version is no Svetlanov but it is fun to watch.
I decided to make this music video #1 and add any other oddball pieces that I might come across.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Day #22,305

Walk km 12,675-12,691: Meetup walk on Sea Island

Movie #2196: The Thief (1952, Russell Rouse)

It's a gimmick movie. The gimmick is that there is no dialogue. However, there is music and plenty of ringing telephones (which of course nobody answers). Russell Rouse does a great job with this but the problem is that it's a gimmick movie. It's hard to really suspend disbelief because you're always aware of the gimmick.
You can watch this on YouTube:

Friday, January 11, 2013

Day #22,304

Walk km 12,667-12,675: Stanley Park

Movie #2194: Escape From L.A. (1996, John Carpenter)

Comic book level action featuring the return of Snake Plisskin. The FX looks kinda iffy for a 50 million dollar budget flick. However, it's all meant to be a big joke and it works well at that level.

Movie #2195: Attack Of The 50 Foot Woman (1958, Nathan Juran)

Allison Hayes gives an electifying performance

This is it. I keep watching those crappy 50s SiFi movies in the hope of seeing something like this. A movie that actually lives up to its lurid title. Allison Hayes is great as the 50 foot woman. Solid direction by Nathan Juran. The Special FX are pretty crappy until they bring on the miniatures for the finale. A great movie.
A loved the plot line for the idiotic Harry: he's married to Allison Hayes (the sexiest woman ever to grace the silver screen) but prefers Yvette Vickers? After he sees the alien from outer space he continues right along trying to get rid of Allison so he can have Yvette. Aliens? Who cares about aliens! 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Day #22,303

Walk km 12,665-12,667 (9636 to go): running errands

Movie #2193: The Errand Boy (1961, Jerry Lewis)

Jerry Lewis takes over from Frank Tashlin and directs this one himself. He gives himself the name "Tashman". There is no plot. It's just a series of gags. None are really funny but some are kinda weird. Weird is good. It does go on too long though.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Day #22,302

Walk km 12,663-12,665 (9637 to go): to T&T

Movie #2190: Target Earth (1954, Sherman A Rose)

This one starts out great. A woman wakes up after attempting suicide (sleeping pills) only to find that she's in a totally empty city! It's the old "last person on earth" plot. That's my favourite plot.
However, that's about it for this movie. The plot from there on is just ridiculous. I especially liked the bit where the men have to apologize to the women for trying to figure out what to do about the alien invasion. They shouldn't have spoken so openly about the trouble they face because it's gonna scare the women! These 50s SiFi movies were amazingly sexist.
And then there's the alien robots. They must have spent about 50 cents at a scrap yard to come up with this thing. It makes "Robot Monster" look high tech.
So, all in all, it was kind of fun because of it's extreme awfulness.

Day #22,301

#37 bus to Orange Grove (and the airport)
Gulfport Transit Center

Book #443: The Big Caper (1955, Lionel White)

This book already had three strikes against it before I started reading:
1) read on a Kobo instead of paper
2) read while travelling (mostly on planes)
3) I already knew the plot (saw the movie)
How good is it? Don't know.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Day #22,300

Walk km 12,649-12,657: Ocean Springs to Biloxi
Walk km 12,657-12,663: to Hiller Park
Gulf of Mexico/Biloxi Bay Bridge from Ocean Springs

Ocean Springs from Biloxi Bay Bridge

Biloxi Bay Bridge

Biloxi from Biloxi Bay Bridge

houses on stilts (ready for the next Katrina)

turret on a building on Howard Street

art on a building on Howard Street

Movie #2189: The Nevadan (1950, Gordon Douglas)

Standard oater with a slightly better than average cast and nice colour photography of the great outdoors.

TV Episode #43: Man With A Camera: Face Of Murder (1959, Gerald Mayer)
Not everything from the golden age of television was golden. This series featured Charles Bronson as a photographer. Dull stuff.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Day #22,298-299

Walk km 12,625-12,635: to Beau Rivage and back
Walk km 12,635-12,649: to downtown Biloxi and back

Movie #2187: Mr Hobbs Takes A Vacation (1962, Henry Koster)

The Ramada only has the slow wifi so I watched this one on TCM. It's from the same team as the recently watched "Dear Brigitte" and the results are the same. A comedy that's light and breezy. No one has to worry that they might have to laugh out loud - all that's required of the viewer is a little smile and a warm fuzzy feeling.

Movie #2188: The Deadly Invention (1958, Karel Zeman)

This is a hard movie to rate. How many points do you give for being totally unique? This is a telling of some Jules Verne stories by making the visuals appear to be in the same style as the illustrations found in 19th century books. Both animation and live action are used. Probably, the live action parts were hand painted so that they would blend into the animated parts.
However, the visuals are so striking that the plot becomes superfluous (no suspension-of-disbelief is possible).
If all movies were made this way, this would be a bore and rate about a 20/100 but since I've never seen anything like it, I'll rate it 55/100.
BTW, there is more than one copy on YouTube. One with a sharp looking copy is "biscuitbuddiesvideo".

Friday, January 4, 2013

Day #22,297

Walk km 12,610-12,614: Gulf Of Mexico
Walk km 12,614-12,625: to Beau Rivage and return

Obama 2012
approx km 12,612 corner of Greater and Camellia (Biloxi)

what's that black stuff?
approx km 12,611 Gulf Of Mexico

Movie rewatch: De L'Amour (Jean Aurel, 1964)

The wonders of the internet. I saw this movie in about 1967 on TV channel 3 (the French channel). On channel 3 you could get the very latest (almost) cinema direct from Paris. Not that silly Hollywood or Disney stuff you could get elsewhere. When you are 15, Anna Karina and Elsa Martinelli are quite a treat.
The only thing I remembered about this movie was that Michel Piccoli played a dentist. Now, with IMDB I can tell that this movie from the distant past was called "De L'Amour" and it was directed by Jean Aurel. The last time I was in Paris, I looked for this on DVD - no luck. Now, I look for it on YouTube: it's there! So, from just the slightest of memories of this fascinating movie to actually getting to see it again 46 years later: thanks internet. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Day #22,296

Walk km 12,593-12,600: airport to first bus stop (Gulfport)
Walk km 12,600-12,610: to Beau Rivage and return

bus stop in the middle of nowhere
approx 12,598 Jordy Nelson Road (Gulfport)

Movie #2186: So Young So Lovely So Vicious (1975, Silvio Amadio)

I guess they could have called it "So Young So Spoilt So Catty" but that title must have already been taken. Only one good thing can be said about this film: lead actress Gloria Guida has a very nice looking tushie (see above).

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Day #22,295

Walk 12,585-12,593: downtown via Marietta

Movie #2184: Dark Horse (2011, Todd Solonz)

Wow, back to back Solonzs. That can be quite unsettling.
Here we have the story of Abe, the world's biggest asshole. He lives at home. He works for his dad. He does no work (the secretary has to do his work for him). He blames everyone else for everything. And most telling of all, he drives a Hummer!
There's also his fiance, the world's most depressing woman. Most of the film is made up of dream/hallucinations so it's hard to tell what's real and what's not. That helps.

Movie #2185: The Strange Affair Of Uncle Harry (1945, Robert Siodmak)

What a ridiculous tacked on happy ending! I've never seen anything so silly. The rest of the movie was wonderful although I didn't really see the need for murder - just leaving would have been fine.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Day #22,294

Walk km 12,580-12,585: downtown Atlanta (in the rain)

Movie #2181: Life During Wartime (2009, Todd Solondz)

We've seen this before. This could have been called Happiness II. The same characters carry on their screwball lifestyles down Florida way. There was a virus that kept popping up and the volume was so low so that the viewing experience was not the best through no fault of the movie. Solondz is still king of the heart-to-heart talk - plenty of mind boggling examples here.

Movie #2182: Beatles Stories (2011, Seth Swirsky)
Home movies from a guy who set out to film people who have an anecdote about meeting a Beatle. Fun to watch.

Movie #2183: Valerie (1969, Denis Heroux)

Girl runs away from a convent to the big city (Montreal). She needs money so she prostitutes herself to handsome young men. One day, a client turns out to be old and ugly. She decides that marriage would be better.
Skinflick Quebecoise. It's a shame that this is on YouTube because there are much better Quebec films that I'd Like to see but alas, not enough skin.