The Set-Up-watch this too: Robert Ryan is a washed up (at 35 ) boxer, and his coach hasn't told him that's he's bet against him, and that he's supposed to go down in the third, or the gangsters in the crowd aren't going to be too happy. Short and tight, with a great lead performance, and loads of good ideas like giving more insight into the lead character by having him react to all the other boxers' stories in the locker room before he fights, and following his depressed wife around town, as she doesn't even show up to his assumed defeat.
All That Heaven Allows-a goddamned gorgeous looking Douglas Sirk dealie with Jane Wyman trying to get over her widowness by shacking up with hunky gardener Rock Hudson. It's like a better version of Far from Heaven, but it's still too cute (there's a deer at one point) and convenient (weirdest near-death scene ever?) at times, and I don't really buy that Hudson would be into plain Jane, but it's really pretty, at least! Imitation of Life is better.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde-this is the '30s one with Fredric March, and it's really good, with his unhinged Oscar-winning peformance, an innovation transformation sequence that's so good they show it like three times, a fun pre-code dame character that wants The Sex, and a wild ending. Highly recommended.
Fanny and Alexander-more like "Alexander," as Fanny is one of the least developed characters I've ever seen. Anyway, I watched the movie version of this (and will never watch the originally intended miniseries version, as it's tediously long as it is), and it's mostly about a rich family where the father dies and the mother marries a priestly jerk who tortures Alexander in various ways. The only parts of this I really liked were the spiritual bits, as they're the only bits that are interesting in a Bergman way, but they're too few and far between. People love it, though, so what do I know?
Rambo 2+3-putting these together, as they're similarly silly Rambo on a mission in a foreign land racking up insane body counts that would make John Wick proud actioners, saving either POWs or his trusty best friend. I can see that part 2 is massively influential on the action genre, but I can't imagine wanting to watch these more than once each. I'm impressed by how jacked he got, though.
Blown Away-underwhelming blow-em-up with Jeff Bridges (who doesn't get much to do) as secretly a former Mad Irishman turned bomb squad hero, who's being pursued by his former best friend, an awful-accented Tommy Lee Jones, who wants to ruin his happy home, and people like Lloyd Bridges and Forest Whitaker are involved too, but it's all a bunch of whatever, and there's a scene where a drunk TLJ sings along with The Joshua Tree that's as bad as it sounds.
Deja Vu-Denzel and Tony Scott team up again, but this time it's a weird blend of sci fi, action and romance, as Denzel is sent back in time by Adam Goldberg to prevent Jesus Caviezel from blowing up 500 people on a boat. Not entirely plausible, which seemed to be the norm when these two got together, but marginally fun in its absurdity. It says on wiki that the writers were pissed Scott mangled their script and there was thus a bunch of plotholes, but there's no way this thing ever made sense, so shut up, writers.
Copycat-Sigourney is an expert on serial killers and gets so spooked by her near-death experience at the hands of a wacky Harry Connick Jr. that she can't even leave her apartment anymore, but then a copycat (hence the title) serial killer starts doing serial killer things, and ambitious cop Holly Hunter brings her back into action. It's pretty smart in places, and the research was clearly done, but not exactly a thrillhouse of the caliber of the upper echelon of '90s murderer movies.
Six Degrees of Separation-movie version of a play (and boy, does it feel like one), based on a somehow true story, with young Will Smith pretending to be the son of Poitier and endearing himself to rich Manhattanites Stockard Channing (who's great here) and Donald Sutherland (who isn't) before being thrown out after being caught having gay sex in their son's bedroom, and then there's a bunch of spiraling plotlines (see the title) involving people they know. It's very good for the first hour or so, but there's not really an ending, and everything involving the children of the rich people is confusingly phony.
The One-in a world of alternate realities where some form of everyone exists in each, you can become powerful enough to become The One if you manage to kill all of your other selves, so the thus-aspiring Jet Li goes about the killing business, but then he comes up against his also-becoming-stronger due to all the deaths LA cop version of himself, and they eventually duke it out. This is pretty terrible, but if you like the idea of Jet Li beating people up while Drowning Pool, Disturbed and Papa Roach songs play, then this one's for you.
Hitman (aka Contract Killer)-this is Jet Li's last Hong Kong movie, but the version on AP is the Americanized version with terrible dubbing and even more terrible rap music added, so I probably shouldn't even be rating it, but whatever, it's fine, and is about an old dude who gets killed by the King of Killers, and then there's a bounty on that killer, but nobody knows who it is, and in the middle is a jokey, kinda fat con man guy who gets mistaken for the King and who teams up with novice Li who kicks lots of people's asses along the way.
War-more Li, this time warring with Jason Statham (who's also in The One and is one of those people who's less attractive with the more hair he has), as Li is Rogue, who murdered Statham's partner and is a pretty much unkillable yakuza soldier, and there's a war with the triads, and a whole bunch of people get shot to death, and it's going along nicely enough until there's a ridiculous twist ending that's crazier than anything M. Night's pulled. I mean, it's not as bad as the one in Identity, but it's the second worst I can think of.
Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem-is it possible to make a bad movie that features a scene where a Predator fights a PredAlien hybrid? The answer is yes.
The Quick and the Dead-one of the most watchable bad movies, right up there with Pet Sematary and Dick Tracy. This is a hilariously camp western from Sam Raimi starring Sharon Stone (who delivers half her lines in the same monotone voice), Gene Hackman (who has no redeeming qualities and does things like killing his son to prove a point, Russell Crowe (as a former child-killer turned preacher!) and Leo as, wait for it, "The Kid." It's got so many zoom-ins and overly dramatic musical cues that you can't help but love it and has fun turns by people like Lance Henriksen, Roberts Blossom (ala Old Man Marley), Kevin Conway and Keith David. It also has this great gimmick of giving you just enough info on each character to make you care when they die five minutes later. It's amazing.
Best of the Best-late '80s karate fare with team USA (coached by James Earl Jones) facing the Koreans in the championship. The American contigent doesn't seem like they'd be very good at karate (besides the Asian guy) and features Eric Roberts, with an absolutely glorious mullet, and Christopher Penn (who seems to be miscast in tons of movies). This is watchable, but underwhelming, script-wise for sure, and features an ending you certainly won't see coming, nor will you believe it could happen when it does.
Gothika-Halle Berry works as a psychiatrist at an insane asylum, but then wakes up as a patient in one after having apparently killed her husband. It turns into a whodunnit, as we find out theres's a torture-killer in town, and prepare to be disappointed when that reveal happens. This is a really bad movie that's only interesting if you wanna see Robert Downey Jr. try to act above the script.
Salt-this one's even more implausible than Deja Vu, and it doesn't involve time travel, as Angelina is secretly a Russian spy who's been training her whole life to assassinate presidents, and you better believe she's the greatest killing machine on earth, who can do superhuman stunts without getting hurt at all, and yes the world might be destroyed if she can't turn back good and stop nuclear bombs from being dropped at the end there.
Death Sentence-not a Death Wish ripoff, as it's actually based on the sequel novel, but it's basically the same thing: Kevin Bacon's son gets murdered, and then he helps the killer stay out of jail so that he can start killing him and his cronies, but this time things go bad for him in the middle of the movie (in awkwardly dramatic slow motion), before he goes on an epic spree to finish them off, complete with a Taxi Driver mohawk for some reason. John Goodman is in this as a psycho too.
Cujo-the thinnest of plots, as as a woman (who cheats on her husband) gets trapped in a car with her ashmatic young son, and they have to avoid getting eaten by the rabid titular character, who does get in some gnarly kills. I can't imagine this being better than it is, but that doesn't mean it's very good.
Silver Bullet-possibly underrated SK werewolf fare, with even gnarlier kills (that one kid sure got torn apart!), with Corey Haim as our wheelchair-bound hero, who, with the help of inebriated uncle Gary Busey (who was good at acting at one point), must stop the wolf the only way he knows how. The best part of this movie is the horrific dream sequence, which rules.
The Fog-the Carpenter original this time, and it's unsurprisingly a lot better than the turd remake, with a good cast filled with dependables like JL Curtis, Barbeau, Atkins and Holbrook, though I was surprised by the lack of gore, as the kills are hella clean. The story's not very scary, but they sure do all they can to try and fool you into thinking it is; witness the eerie "everything is shaking" bit in the beginning and the rad, creepy old fisherman scaring children with his spooky story. It's fine.
Popcorn-most memorable for its great tagline, "Buy a bag, go home in a box!" this horror's set in a theater ala Demons, but this time there's a backstory involving a fire and a scarred murderer who keeps wearing people's skin and being a bit of a jerk. The most interesting parts are the movies shown at the theater, as they spoof '50s B movies in really fun ways. This was filmed in Jamaica and features a live reggae band at one point, so there's that.
Birds of Prey-Harley Quinn gets drunk a lot, because she's sad The Joker dumped her, but she gets to take her mind off her depression by getting together with a few strong women to protect a thieving young girl from Ewan MacGregor and his goons. It looks cool and has lots of neat set pieces, but is ultimately terrible, and I wanted every character in the movie to die.
I also watched all six Thin Men movies, ALL of which are good, but there's a slight dropoff after the first three, which are honestly all on the same level. I don't really understand how Nick so easily goes from being drunk to sober enough to figure everything out, but other than that this is like the most consistently watchable series ever, and you won't even mind that the mysteries are impossible to follow, or that every movie ends the same way with everyone being rounded up before the bad guy confesses (???) to the crime in question in front of everyone. I guess they just get too flustered! Asta has to be the best dog in movie history; there's a bit in the second one where we discover he has a family, and he has to stop another dog from macking on his wife. I swear in one of the movies he does a standing flip for no reason too. The child (played by Dean Stockwell in the last one!) doesn't really add anything, though. Part 2 has a neat early James Stewart role, and I think Part 4 has Donna Reed, but it's mostly all Nick and Nora being the best couple in the world. All those movies are better than Libeled Lady, which I rewatched, and which doesn't measure up at all, in no small part due to Jean Harlow's consistently annoying delivery and my general inability to rate Spencer Tracy.
And, finally, I watched a slew of Amityville movies, very few of which have anything to do with the Amityville house. Three of them focus on haunted things that came from the house, a lamp, a mirror and a dollhouse respectively. Those three are the best ones, but aren't exactly good, and kinda seem like episodes of Tales from the Crypt or something. The Amityville Curse is actually set in the house, but the plot revolves around a confessional in the basement that used to belong to a priest who was murdered in it, and so the house is haunted again (?) It stinks. The Amityville Terror is one of those Paranormal Activity ripoffs where everything is being filmed to investigate the shenanigans, and is one of the worst movies I've ever seen. The ones after that are so low-budget and full of non-actors that I'm not sure they should even count, but all told this has to be the worst horror series ever. None of the movies are good at all, and there's like 25 of them!