Saturday, November 26, 2005

Milland Good, Phantom Bad

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Watched the DVD of X: The Man With the X-Ray Eyes from MGM's wonderous "Midnite Movies" collection last night. It's a terrific low-budget sci-fi film, in my opinion the very best of Roger Corman's directorial efforts (though the original Little Shop of Horrors comes close) featuring Ray Milland as a scientist who develops an eyedrop drug allowing him x-ray vision. Needless to say, he tests it out on himself, and his newfound powers make him an enemy of society, and eventually drive him mad when he dares to look upon What Man Was Not Meant To See! The first time I saw this movie was on the big screen at MASS MoCA, with a live score by weirdo cult-rockers Pere Ubu that perfectly complemented the film's trippier scenes. Watching it with its orignal soundtrack by Les Baxter, it flows at a slightly more pedestrian pace, but it's still damn good, and not one to be missed by old-school sci-fi fans.

In addition to X, my sister convinced me to watch the recent version of The Phantom of the Opera last night. I wished I hadn't, because, to be frank, it sucked hairy ass. Joel Schumacher and Andrew Lloyd Webber took a classic monster story and turned it into a half-assed romantic fantasy for lonely housewives. I apologize for my brashness, but I can't be asked to take seriously a story about some selfish doofus who enters the room like Bela's double from Plan 9 from Outer Space, demands money for no reason, and screws with innocent people just to impress some doe-eyed singer chick. It's the sort of behavior you can only be forgiven for if your name is Lon Chaney. Oh, and he's deformed....if that's what you can call a what appears to be a port wine stain on the face on one of the otherwise sexiest human beings I've ever seen. Anything else? Oh yeah, the music is mindnumbing, the actors are all annoying, and the whole thing stunk to high heaven. Anyone who doesn't read romance novels is advised to avoid this one.

Anyway, on an unrelated note, the Academy Awards are drawing near, and any self-respecting cinema fan will tell you not to worry which films are nominated and awarded, seeing as how the whole thing is merely a high school popularity contest for the entertainment industry. Instead, turn your attention to the Dr. Criddle's First Annual Homefront Film School BTTA Awards. BTTA stands for "Better Than The Oscars". For those of you who are unable to contain your excitement, here is a preview of some of the films which have fallen under the consideration of our unbiased, clear-minded voters. At the end of the year, when we've seen all the movies that were packed into the last week of December in New York and Los Angeles, and in January for schmoes everywhere else in the country, we will make our final judgement.

Good Night, and Good Luck - for Best Picture, Best Actor (David Strathairn) and Best Cinematography
Broken Flowers - for Best Actor (Bill Murray)
Land of the Dead - for Best Director, George A. Romero
.
Downfall - for Best Foreign Language Film
Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit - for Best Animated Feature

BEST DVD RELEASE - King Kong (1933)
BEST REVIVAL THEATER RE-RELEASE - Raging Bull

We haven't seen these yet, but they look extremely promising.

Walk The Line - for Best Soundtrack. It goes without saying that Johnny Cash songs, even if they're sung by some other 'erbert, are going to be better than a regular ole' movie score.
King Kong (2005) - for Best Visual Effects. The trailer alone was worth twenty nerd-orgasms. A Peter Jackson-directed giant monster movie is a fanboy's wet dream. Can't wait for this one.
Mrs. Henderson Presents - for Best Actress (Judi Dench) and Best Supporting Actor (Bob Hoskins). In what sounds like a pretty cool film about a nude dancing theater in WWII-era London, these two are a pair who definatley deserve to win something rather than the usual young upstarts who typically walk off with Oscars.
Munich - for Best Something. Hard to say what, yet, but this new Speilberg one looks helluva good, real dark and doom-'n'-gloomy departure from his usual fluff-minded kiddie fare.

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