Friday, December 11, 2009

Desuko Movie Spot's 3rd Anniversary.

Tomorrow marks the big third anniversary of this blog, so it's time for that annual tradition of making an index of all of the year's posts. (The first part of the index can be found here.) This is also a handy time to announce our brief holiday hiatus. Thanks for all your support and readership in the past year, and we'll see you again in the first week of January!

200 Motels (1971).

April Fool's Day (1986).

Bettie Page: Dark Angel (2004).
The Black Room (1935).
Bluetopia: The L.A. Dodgers Movie (2009).
Bug Buster (1998).

Can't Stop the Music (1980).
Celebration at Big Sur (1971).
Charade (1963).
The Chase (1994).
Cobra Woman (1944).
The Concorde: Airport '79 (1979).

Deep Impact (1998).
Derailroaded: Inside the Mind of Larry "Wild Man" Fischer (2004).
Dragnet (1954).
Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs (1966).

Earth vs. the Spider (1958).
Equinox (1970).

Festival Express (1970).

Gamera (1965).
Gamera vs. Barugon (a.k.a., War of the Monsters) (1966).
Gamera vs. Gaos (1967).
Gamera vs. Viras (a.k.a., Destroy All Planets) (1968).
Gamera vs. Guiron (a.k.a., Attack of the Monsters) (1969).
Gamera vs. Monster X (a.k.a., War of the Monsters) (1970).
Gamera vs. Zigra (1971).
The Ghost of Slumber Mountain (1918).
The Gorilla (1939).
The Green Slime (1968).
Gymkata (1985).

The Happening (1967).
Hercules and the Captive Women (1961).
The Hidden Fortress (1958).
Homicidal (1961).
How the West Was Won (1962).

I Married a Witch (1942).
In the Bleak Midwinter (a.k.a., A Midwinter's Tale) (1995).
It (1927).
I Walked With a Zombie (1943).
I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957).

Jail Bait (1954).
Jawbreaker (1999).

Kill the Umpire (1950).
Kingdom of the Spiders (1977).

Let the Devil Wear Black (1999).
Listening to You: The Who at the Isle of Wight (1970).
Love's Labour's Lost (2000).

Manhatta (1921).
Martin (1977).
Mighty Joe Young (1949).
Mission to Mars (2000).
The Mole People (1956).
Monsters vs. Aliens (2009).

Night of the Lepus (1972).
The Notorious Bettie Page (2005).

Pandora's Box (1929).
Purple Rain (1984).
Puttin' On the Ritz (1930).

Ratatouille (2007).
Red Zone Cuba (a.k.a., Night Train to Mundo Fine) (1966).
Rock Around the Clock (1956).

Scooby Doo: The Mystery Begins (2009).
Scorched (2002).
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1978).
The Sidehackers (a.k.a., Five the Hard Way) (1969).
The Skydivers (1963).
Suburbia (1984).
Succubus: Hell Bent (2007).

The Tale of Despereaux (2008).
Terror Firmer (1999).
The Trial (1962).
The Trip (1967).

Uncle Sam (1996).
Up (2009).

Watchmen (2009).
The Wild Angels (1966).
The Wizard of Oz (1925).

Guest Blog: Vince's Quiz.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Hercules and the Captive Women (1961).

The Scoop:
Herc is up to his usual shenanigans in yet another Italian muscle epic, the third entry in the "Hercules" series that Joseph E. Levine brought to America. Unfortunately, Steve Reeves isn't around, so Hercules is played by Reg Park, who mostly sleepwalks through the role. Seriously, several important plot points rely on Hercules being asleep. And when he's awake, he mostly just throws things and looks confused.

The title is somewhat misleading, since there's only one captive woman and she doesn't figure too much into the plot. Instead, the story concerns Hercules trying to overthrow an evil queen (played by Fay Spain) who is ruling the hidden island of Atlantis. All the Atlanteans worship the god Uranus, leading to plenty of unintentional crude humor in the dialogue.

This one is actually somewhat fun, if you don't think about it too much.

Best Line:
"Uranus has abandoned us!"

Side Note:
This was the first of Park's five films. He did two more as Hercules, and one each as Maciste and Ursus, a couple of Italian Hercules-knock off characters.

Companion Viewing:
"Hercules" (1958).

Eccentirc Cinema.

Take a Look:
The trailer:

The full film:

Friday, December 04, 2009

Dragnet (1954).

The Scoop:
Man, I love me some "Dragnet."

After the success of his 1940s radio series and 1950s TV series, Jack Webb brought "Dragnet," his life's work, to the big screen in this enjoyable adaptation. The story, involving the investigation into a gangland murder, uses the luxury of its expanded budget and running time to offer much more detail about the nitty gritty of detective work and the legal process than the television series. But the hard-boiled, straight-as-an-arrow Boy Scout spirit makes the big screen leap intact, and it positively sizzles.

Ben Alexander reprises his role as Friday's partner Frank Smith, while Webb also directs from a script by Richard L. Breen.

This was the first of three "Dragnet" feature films. It was followed first by a color film in 1966 that paired Webb with Harry Morgan and served as the springboard for the late '60s TV series. And then came the 1987 entry starring Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks, which doesn't even deserve to be considered part of the canon.

With excellent direction, the film captures some of the same mix of earnestness and cheesiness of the series, without being quite as camp as some of the 1960s TV series. Of course, by then the generation gap sparked by the counterculture was enough to make Webb's brand of law and order seem downright outdated. But in this film, in its element, it's still exciting stuff.

Best Bit:
Friday explains the deductions on his paycheck.

Side Note:
This was the first feature film ever spun off from TV show.

Companion Viewing:
The '50s TV series.

Badge 714.

Take a Look:
Friday and Smith lay the smack down:

Sgt. Friday gets his $20 worth:

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Deep Impact (1998).

The Scoop:
The less commercially successful of 1998's two killer asteroid movies, this is the more creatively successful (not that "Armageddon" provided much competition in that area), creating what could be termed a kinder, gentler disaster movie.

Téa Leoni is an ambitious television reporter on the trail of a government cover-up, only to discover that the fact being covered up is the existence of a giant comet on a collision course with Earth, which the government is trying to destroy without alarming the public. The story gets out, though, with all the usual results.

Director Mimi Leder and writers Bruce Joel Rubin and Michael Tolkin shift the focus away from the pyrotechnics in favor of the human reactions to impending disaster (and a less-than-happy ending), creating a film that, though occasionally predictable, still manages to stand out among its genre. The cast is filled with solid actors, but the standouts include Robert Duvall as the gruff astronaut leading the comet destruction team; Morgan Freeman, lending his commanding presence to the role of the president; and Elijah Wood and Leelee Sobieski as the young amateur astronomer and his girlfriend who discover the asteroid.

Sure, "Deep Impact" is still a Big Dumb Blockbuster, but it is at least one with more heart than one would otherwise expect.

Best Line:
"Look on the bright side. We'll all get high schools named after us."

Side Note:
The scene of the president's address to the world originally included the line, "This is not armageddon." But that was cut out when the studio realized that the film would be in theaters around the same time as "Armageddon."

Companion Viewing:
"Armageddon" (1998).

Disaster Movie World.

Take a Look:
The trailer:

BOOM! The money shot. (Spoilers!):