Idiocracy (2006)

Idiocracy (2006)
AKA Planet Stupid

Starring Luke Wilson, Maya Rudolph, Dax Shepard, Terry Crews, Anthony Campos, David Herman, Sara Rue, Kevin McAfee, Robert Musgrave, Michael McCafferty, Justin Long, Andrew Wilson, Kevin Klee

Directed by Mike Judge

Expectations: Moderate. I knew close to nothing going in except it was about stupid Americans and Mike Judge made it. What else do you need to know?


So there’s this movie about ridiculous, satirical, future extremes of American consumerism? And I haven’t seen it yet? What? Somehow this slipped under my radar but that has now been rectified. This kind of thing could go so wrong though. It could end up being so ridiculous that it misses the point. It could be great for the first twenty minutes and then devolve into fart jokes. Thankfully, it mostly steers clear of convention and I found myself thoroughly entertained.

An Army librarian (Luke Wilson) is chosen to test a new human freezing procedure. Along for the ride is a prostitute played by Maya Rudolph from SNL. Anyway, the cryo tubes get lost and the test subjects aren’t awakened at the prescribed time. Instead they wake up in the year 2505, where, after 500 years of the stupid people having babies, the American public has degenerated into infantile, entertainment-consuming idiots. Shows such as Ow, My Balls! on the Violence Network top the charts. People can’t even speak correct English anymore.

Continue reading Idiocracy (2006) →

Pickup on South Street (1953)

Starring Richard Widmark, Jean Peters, Thelma Ritter, Richard Kiley, Murvyn Vye, Willis Bouchey, Milburn Stone

Directed by Samuel Fuller

Expectations: High. Sam Fuller. He’s good.


Sam Fuller knew how to shoot a movie. He’s under the radar for a lot of people, which is a shame because his camerawork is undeniably fantastic. In one of the DVD extras Fuller states, “The power of the camera…is exactly like bold-face type. You cannot compete with it.” Sam Fuller is the perfect example of a director that focuses on showing and not telling.

The film opens with Jean Peters on a subway. Quick cuts establish that she is being watched by two men. There is no dialogue. A third man enters the scenario. He is a pickpocket (Richard Widmark). He lifts the wallet from Jean Peters’ purse and exits the subway car. The two men push their way to the door, only to have it close in their faces.

One of the men says, “What happened?”
“I’m not sure yet,” his partner replies.

The viewer isn’t quite sure either. A fantastic opening with very quick editing (to good effect) for the early 1950s. You can watch it on YouTube if you want to get a sense of it for yourself by clicking here.

Continue reading Pickup on South Street (1953) →

Movie Q & A Thing

Well, I generally don’t like these sorts of things, but what the hell. Kevin over at The Pork Chop Express linked me in this, so I will do my best.

1.  What was your first movie-going experience?

The earliest movie I can remember seeing was 1985’s Follow That Bird, the Big Bird movie. I loved it. I doubt it holds up.

2.  How many DVDs do you own?

Eh, over 100 but I’ve been trying to slim it down lately. I used to want an archive of all these movies I love, but I realize now that a core set of watchable favorites is more ideal.

3.  What is your guilty pleasure movie?

I don’t really feel guilty about the stuff I like. Not that I don’t like some trash, just that I have aged into not caring so much what others think about my tastes. That being said, I like Weekend at Bernie’s way too much. So awful, but so so good.

4.  You’ve compiled a list of your top 100 movies.  Which films didn’t make the cut?

Weekend at Bernie’s. No really, I don’t make it a habit of making lists, especially one of 100 films. I’d have to have a huge, months long Battle Royale tournament to decide something like that. Just off the top of my head I’ll say Lawrence of Arabia. When I see it on the big screen at some point, I’ll probably change my mind though. I feel like I haven’t really seen it until then.

5.  Which movie(s) do you compulsively watch over and over again?

The Big Lebowski, Ghostbusters, Back to the Future. I could probably watch Inglourious Basterds a lot and not get tired of it as well.

6.  Classic(s) you’re ashamed to admit you haven’t seen yet?

Um, this is a hard one as I’ve seen most of the big ones. I’ve never seen Giant. I like James Dean and it looks good, but something about it just makes me not care. One of these days.

7.  What movie posters are hanging in your room?

At the moment none. Rolled up in my storage are:

Vertigo
A Clockwork Orange
Enter the Dragon
Dawn of the Dead (signed by Tom Savini and Ken Foree)
L.A. Confidential
and probably a couple I’m forgetting.

I’ll tag JP @ J.P.’s I’m Outta Here Movie Thoughts in this because I know he hasn’t done it yet.

Uncle Jasper reviews: Santo and Blue Demon vs. The Monsters (1969)

Santo and Blue Demon vs. The Monsters [Santo y Blue Demon contra los Monstruos] (1969)
AKA Santo and Blue Demon Against the Monsters

Starring Santo, Blue Demon, Jorge Rado, Carlos Ancira, Hedy Blue, Rafael Munoz, Manuel Leal, Vicente Lara, Gerardo Zepeda, Fernando Rosales, David Alvizu, Elsa Maria Tako, Yolanda Ponce

Directed By Gilberto Martinez Solares


From the moment you hear the slithering organ music and watch Santo, Blue Demon, and the rogues’ gallery of hilariously bad awesome looking monsters climb a hillside and momentarily pose for their starring credit, you feel like you might have a winner. Moments later, when an evil hunchbacked dwarf wearing a bowler comes sneaking out of a graveyard with his army of green, face-painted zombies, you know you are locked into some serious shit.

Welcome to the wonderful world of lucha libre. A world where badass, big motherfuckers in masks and three-piece suits canvas the byways of Mexico in convertibles with sexy young Latinas by their side. A world where everybody and anything is a potential adversary, be it dwarves, aliens, Nazis, sea monsters, vampires, women, and even vampire women. In this particular outing Santo finds himself up against the diabolical Dr. Hadler, who hates Santo and Blue Demon for reasons the filmmakers didn’t deem too important to mention. The Doctor, along with his dwarf henchman Waldo, kidnap Blue Demon, who was caught investigating the suspicious looking castle, and in an obvious attempt to give the audience a chance to see Santo fight his friend, clone an evil version of him. With Evil Blue Demon now at his command, the doctor proceeds to recruit a who’s who of legendary monsters to fight alongside him…

Continue reading Uncle Jasper reviews: Santo and Blue Demon vs. The Monsters (1969) →

Zatoichi the Fugitive (1963)

J.P. and I are back with a double shot review of the fourth Zatoichi film, Zatoichi the Fugitive. When you’re done here, make sure you head over to his site to read his thoughts on the film (link at the bottom of my review).


Zatoichi the Fugitive [座頭市兇状旅] (1963)
AKA Zatoichi 4

Starring Shintaro Katsu, Miwa Takada, Masayo Banri, Toru Abe, Junichiro Narita, Katsuhiko Kobayashi

Directed by Tokuzo Tanaka

Expectations: Moderate.


I love samurai films. I’ve heard great things about the Zatoichi series over the years, but I have yet to really dive head first into the world of the blind masseur. About five years ago, I saw the first film in the series and I was underwhelmed. Zatoichi had been built up to me as this amazing series of films, but I found the first film to be slow and just okay. I liked it enough to remain interested in the series, but I had shelved it in my mind for future times. Sometime between then and now, I saw the 2003 Takeshi Kitano remake. I used to really like his films, but again I was underwhelmed with his remake. I don’t remember a lot about it, but I do remember hating the very obvious computer generated blood effects in the film. Get a bag of blood and splatter it around. C’mon.

So going into Zatoichi the Fugitive I was hoping that it would reignite my interest in the series and show me what everyone was going on about. The first thing I noticed was that this film was in color. I had expected black & white like the first, so this was a welcome surprise. I love black & white cinematography more than most, don’t get me wrong, but after seeing this film, color is the correct choice for Zatoichi. The one downfall of using color though, is that for the fights I come in expecting blood-letting and Zatoichi the Fugitive is very sparse in that department.

Continue reading Zatoichi the Fugitive (1963) →

Mini-Review: Turtles Can Fly (2004)

Turtles Can Fly [Lakposhtha parvaz mikonand] (2004)

Starring Soran Ebrahim, Avaz Latif, Hiresh Feysal Rahman

Directed by Bahman Ghobadi


This is a good film, more for its power to stay with you, instead of its level of entertainment. It’s the eve of America’s invasion of Iraq and Kurdish refugees struggle with their television antennas to hear some small bits of news. Three wandering children; a girl, a possibly clairvoyant teenage boy with no arms and a blind toddler come to the camp in search of refuge. The film really isn’t about the plot though. Director Bahman Ghobadi seeks to paint a picture of what these villagers feel and endure on the brink of war.

It moves at a slow pace, but this is a haunting film, filled with amazing, wide-angle cinematography of the Iraqi landscape. All of the children (who aren’t trained actors) are outstanding and show a level of depth not generally present in child actors. The film ends on a perfect, understated note, skillfully illustrating disillusionment and the fragility of life. It is a tragedy and an emotionally heavy film.

Recommended if you’re in right mood.

Uncle Jasper reviews: [REC] (2007)

Starring Manuela Velasco, Javier Botet, Manuel Bronchud, Martha Carbonell, Claudia Font, Vicente Gil

Directed by Jaume Balagueró & Paco Plaza


On all accounts I should not have liked this movie. I am not a fan of the whole shaky camcorder pseudo-documentary horror genre. I am an old-school Romero zombie fan who still can’t justify a world where fast “infected zombies” have a place. I guess that makes REC all the more amazing.  I was a doubter, but Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza proved me wrong and demonstrated that if done right, shaky-cam filmmaking not only has a place, but can really up the ante in terms of genuine horror.

Something has to be said of the pacing and the way REC uses it to great effect. The movie starts off slow, and borderline mundane. A pretty, young news reporter, Angela and her cameraman Pablo are filming a “Cops” type TV series with a group of fire fighters. Realizing that her assignment is less exciting than it appears, she desperately tries to drum up some kind of interest and goes into great detail reporting on exciting aspects of the fire fighter’s lives such as empty briefing rooms, what they eat for dinner, and how big their suits are. Even when the fire fighters get what seems like a routine call and shit starts to go south, the film gets very interesting, yet the pacing still leaves plenty of time to react and wrap your head around the situation.

Continue reading Uncle Jasper reviews: [REC] (2007) →

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