Sunday night was the secret movie night up at the Capitol Theatre. This is rapidly turning into one of my favorite events, especially since they did it twice this year.
The idea is this – they announce the upcoming schedule for the midnight and cult movies, then you stick around for a free film, always a cinematic atrocity from the programmers personal collection.
I entered the theatre, and discovered that insted of trailers or slides (like you usally see if you arrive at a movie early) they had the Christmas episode of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse running. I was never a big fan of the show as a kid. I’m still not, but I appreciate the lunacy a great deal more and man, how weird is it to see Lawrence Fishborne and William Marshell together in this thing? It’s stuff like this that makes these events feel more like a get together, like you’re hanging out at a friends place watching ridiculous stuff on TV – only in this case, it’s a movie screen insted of a TV.
The lights went up and two lucky people won prizes; a copy of a beautiful art book – “Alternative Movie Posters” vol 2. The artist had been exhibiting at Genghis Con on the east side of Cleveland that day (I keep meaning to get out to that one, it’s run by the guys at Comics are Go, my preferred comic shop) and he slipped the Capitol Theatre a copy to give away that night. Seriously, this is a great prize. I’ve been seeing the ads for this book at every con I’ve gone to this year and it comes out in just a day or so. This winner got it early, and for free.
The second prize was a season pass to the Late shift series. A pretty amazing win and honestly, if you’re coming to the secret movie, you’re definitely up for these films.
And now, on with the show.
How do I describe what followed? The film is called “Final Score”. It stars Chris Mitchum– yes, the son of Robert Mitchum. I spent most of the film trying to figure out exactly where it was supposed to be set at. In the beginning during the talk of software development and turing “here” into the new silicone valley I thought maybe they were trying to sugesst it was in the US, even though it was obviously a forign film. Nope, later on the main character’s son asks “Why do we live here insted of America?” Okay, fine. But where exactly is here???
The final battle takes place in a very japanese looking building, and I ocassionaly see horse and carts in the street – not amish ones but old fashioned ones – and this film takes place in the 80’s. That’s another clue. Seriously, it was kind of hard to tell. The cast is mixed, with a lot of American skin tones confusing me further. I eventually had to go to IMDB to discover it was Indonesian. Let’s see what else IMDB has to say about it.
Richard Brown, a decorated Vietnam War veteran now living in Indonesia, discovers that gunmen invaded his home, murdered his son, Bobby, (preparing to celebrate his 8th birthday), and gang-raped and murdered his wife, Florinda. Vowing revenge, he begins to track down the culprits, learning in the process that they’re in the employ of a business rival named Hawk. At one point he’s captured, beaten, and tortured but then he’s rescued by Julia, Hawk’s personal secretary, who also seeks revenge on her employer for causing the death of her sister. Brown eventually finds and confronts Hawk at Hawk’s fortress-like compound.
This is not an entirely bad description, but it lacks the flavor of the movie. Mitchum is wholly without charisma. In every close up he looks like he’s having a stroke and he’s mastered this look of not quite knowing where he is at the moment…
Its obvious that the entire movie was shot without sound. The dubbing and foley however, get so exaggerated that it frequently crosses over into the cartoonish, and if there’s one thing this movie doesn’t need, it’s MORE cartoonish features.
Explosions abound. I wish I had kept count because they are everywhere. It’s almost as if a pyrotechnic guy met another guy who knew how to make squibs and decided “Hey! Let’s make a movie!”. There’s too much of a budget on display here for that to be the case, and more’s the shame. I have to wonder if anyone was actually keeping tabs on this film. On paper it’s dynamite. Helicopter fighting a dirt bike with a Gatling gun on it…(you know that bike that’s in every commercial for the original Machete? This movie did that first.) a car chase that ends with the bad guys car slammed into by a train, revenge, gunfights, and a ninja shows up at one point.
This really is amazingly bad, and I’m honestly curious enough to pick up some of director Arizal‘s other work, just to see what else he’s done. It’s a movie to see with friends, not alone. It’s up on Youtube right now, though I imagine it could get pulled at any moment if someone actually wants to enforce copyright in this turkey. The rape scene ensures it won’t be in my collection, but I’m still happy to have experienced this film in all of it’s cheesy glory.
By the way, if you’re interested in the Late Shift lineup, check out the list below.
Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse and 12 hours of Terror
12 Hours of Terror was a blast this weekend, just as always.Got a late afternoon nap, got my coffee and my superman blanket and headed out to the Capitol theater in Cleveland with The monster mash blaring full blast out of my car speakers. Parking was nuts. Got in late and the place was packed. And I mean PACKED. I got the last seat in the last row and as the first film of the night went on, I saw people sitting on the floor. I figured I’d be stuck in the back until people start to bail – only a handful of folks last the entire night. First film up was night of the living dead…had a commentary running on Amy’s iPod. I mean no disrespect, it’s just, I’ve seen this now like FIVE times in the theater in the last three years. I’m a little burned out.
Still it’s amazing what a high quality print on a huge screen with a receptive audience can do for the movie. It still passes the watch test and remain a fascinating character piece. the fact that I’ve met most of the cast doesn’t hurt any either.
Turns out I wasn’t stuck in the back the rest of the night either, one of my friends found me and brought me down to the middle of the theater with a few of her buddies she had brought along. On to the next film of the evening. Man, I didn’t realize how long it’s been since I saw creepshow! I didn’t know Ed Harris or Tom Atkins was in it….
Tom Atkins without his mustache is the real monster here.
We’ll talk about the surprise screening in the middle a little later. I was actually looking forward to seeing the Descent on the big screen, but that mid-marathon fatigue hit and I managed to doze a little during the very beginning. Let’s face it, the first fifteen minutes are a lifetime movie….
The descent really loses a lot of its ability to scare on repeat viewings. This was my third time seeing it, though the audience was reacting very strongly. I suspect a lot of them had never seen it before. One nice thing about the big screen look, you can see a lot more detail on the crawlers.
While I was standing in line for coffee . They had the Vincent price episode of the muppets playing during the intermission. That was a new twist – indie movies and short features during the breaks between films. I like it but I also missed the old movie trailers they’ve done in years past.
Pumpkinhead surprisingly doesn’t get any better or worse on the big screen. No noticeable improvement in quality, this is a film made for direct to video. I’d also question the wisdom of playing Madman next to last in the marathon. Madman is NOT a good film. There’s no story, it’s just a set up for random kills and the single most awkward love scene in all of 80’s and 70’s cinema. Sleepyness was in full force here, and I suspect a better film would have kept my attention better. By the way, would you believe they are actually doing a reunion for this movie at The Chiller Theatre convention this year?
I’m not even sure if Cinema Wasteland would bother with that one….
American Werewolf in London was as good as it always has been. One thing that always strikes me about it though, I didn’t see this untill I was an adult, but I was very familiar with the creatures in the dream sequence from having “Fright Flicks” trading cards as a kid. It’s always weird to me to see those masks on screen and it always bothers me how they aren’t articulated at all…I always imagined they would be. Sadly I had to leave a little; the films were running behind and I had to be on the other side of Cleveland at 9:30. But that’s alright, the Capitol has actually screened this in the past (one of the reasons I was surprised to see it in the mix here)
Anyhow, lets get to the secret film;
It turns out that the surprise movie at 12 Hours of Terror this year was an advance screening of Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse! The full review is up on the Kreepy Kastle!
Blade Runner this weekend
Heading out to the Capitol theater in Cleveland this Saturday night for the midnight screening of Blade Runner. I’ve never seen this on the big screen, and while it’s not my preferred version of the film, this is definitely something to be experienced in the theater.
‘Blade Runner: The Final Cut’ is part of the Melt Bar and Grilled Cleveland Cinemas Late Shift Series! Admission is just $5. One lucky audience member will win a snake! Come on out and join me this weekend and it could be you!
I’ll be heading out around 9pm to Carol and John’s comic shop for the annual Christmas party. If you want to pop in earlier that day though, starting right at 10am the following sales take place:
50% off ALL Back Issues
20% off ALL Graphic Novels
20% off ALL Action Figures, T-Shirts and Statues
10% off EVERYTHING else in the shop
but more importantly, All day long you will be able to participate in our art show / food drive for the Cleveland Food Bank (In conjunction with Pop The Comic Culture Club)
Bring in a can of food and get a ticket. (or) Donate a dollar and get a ticket. (They also do six tickets for $5) Tickets can be used in two ways. To buy comics out of the dollar bins or to be placed into a basket raffle to win custom covers by local artists including me. I’ve done up two covers and I would like nothing better than for one of my readers to walk away with one of them!
After the party, my daughter and I will be hopping over to White Castle at 3255 W. 117th St for our final trip there. They are closing down all the ones in Cleveland and while it’s not a particular favortie, i’ll still kind of missit (I always went when I had coupons).
Finally, we’ll be heading out to the Capitol Theatre for the midnight showing of Batman Returns, a great Christmas movie in it’s own right!
If you catch me at any of these stops, tap me on the shoulder and say hi! I hope to see as many of my Cleveland area readers there as I can!
And don’t forget to join us on Monday for the last new Violent Blue of the year!
This weekend I caught a sneak preview of Exists, a new found footage Bigfoot movie, as part of the Capitol Theater’s 12 hours of Terror marathon.
“New found footage Bigfoot movie” kind of says it all doesn’t it?
The movie is directed by Eduardo Sánchez, and if that name seems familiar it should. This is the guy who did The Blair Witch Project – the film which really made found footage a thing. He understands tension and atmosphere. I’m an apologist for Blair Witch, a film that kept me squirming throughout the running time until hitting me with a disturbing image that stayed with me for months at the end.
It seems however, that he may be a one trick pony. Exists is cut very much from the same cloth as Blair Witch, with one harrowing rescue scene in particular that feels like it was cut straight out of that film and dropped into this movie with only the names changed to protect the innocent….
There are some significant differences here from Sanchez’s previous attempts though. The conceit of the go pro cameras and advancements in consumer electronics really make things a bit more plausible. It also caters to a specific type of personality, the kind of guy who HAS to film everything going on…and we get that kind of personality in droves.
Really, the personalities are a big part of the problem. I don’t like any of these people. I find it hard to be sympathetic to them and their plight, and I’m not alone. I could hear rumblings in the audience about “I hope she get’s it first!”. This is normal in a slasher. You pretty much get presented archetypes and then proceed to knock them down like dominoes. A found footage movie is different. It’s supposed to be a slower burn, driven by character development. I don’t really feel that here. Almost all the characters are unlikeable, and when we get the reveal of the bigfoot’s motivation for attacking them, you don’t get the mixed feelings of sympathy and anger the story needs.
Another big difference is the reveal of the monster, and this I really like. The bigfoot is really well realized, and surprisingly scary. To this day I still hear people say their biggest complaint about Blair Witch is that we never get a reveal of the monster, never any clue as to what is really going on. Never fear, Exists gives us plenty of the monster and uses the shaky came to it’s best effect in concealing it and distorting it to make it scarier. The deaths are violent and frequently at least partially on screen. It works in a way that mysterious off screen deaths would not have played here.
All in all, it’s not a bad film. It’s actually a good take on the bigfoot film – if you like those kind of movies (alas, I don’t). It’s far better than most SyFy originals or any of the dreck the Asylum keeps pumping out – though that’s a ridiculously low bar to clear.
Exists will be getting a limited theatrical run in a couple of weeks (One of those fifty screen one weekend kind of things so they can say it was theatrical in the marketing). It probably won’t be hitting Cleveland, but it will be available on VOD and streaming at the same time, and really, that’s where it belongs. I’d be a little disappointing if I plunked down my $9.00 for this at the multiplex, but if it shows up on netflix and you’re into this genre, it’s defiantly worth checking out. In the meantime, while you’re waiting, don’t forget to check out new Violent Blue strips up today!
A Christmas Story
You know, the Christmas Story is really more my wife’s thing, but that’s okay. She helps put it in perspective for me. Sometimes you need someone else to help you realize why something is cool.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the film and here in Cleveland we love it because parts of it were shot here. I’ve been to the house before, in particular to meet Ian Patrella (Randy, the little brother) but this year the people who run the house and museum decided o throw a small convention. It was scattered around town unfortunately and that made it a little hard to find at times. I hit the cast meet and greet over at the renaissance hotel in Public square and got my poster all marked up. I’d sent it to Peter Billinglsly (Ralphie, the main character) several years ago and he’d signed it through the mail. Ian had already autographed it as well. But there were still some fun cast members there including the evil elf from the Santa visit, the bullies and Ralphie’s friend Flick (who got his tongue stuck to the flagpole). I was especially excited to meet Zack Ward, the bully Farkus because he also has a small part in “Freddy vs. Jason”. He was charming, funny and extremely friendly.
Last weekend, they were screening the film in Cleveland. There were showings at both the Capitol and at the Cedar Lee. The Capitol is always my preferred venue because it’s closer and parking is free. It’s also a nice theatre. It’s not the palace, but it tries. The Cedar Lee is a bit of a dive (that’s not a bad thing by the way. You expect theatre that show Rocky Horror, or art and foreign films to be a little grimey!)
Usually I hit these theatres alone. Amy isn’t into a lot of the kinds of movies that they show at these places…but this time I packed her up and we headed out for a morning screening of A Christmas Story! $5.00 tickets and about a half full house. The snow was keeping some people away I think. It’s also possibly that it just wasn’t promoted enough. I’m not sure.
There’s a reason I like going to the theatre to see films…even ones I’ve already seen. It’s a wonderful collective experience and you always see things on the big screen that you miss at home. Like this for instance. Randy falls asleep amid a mass of presents….one of which IS A FRANKENSTEIN MASK! Who gets a Frankenstein mask for Christmas??? You know… besides me….
We hope it’ll show somewhere next year so we can take the kids, and perhaps make this a part of our Christmas traditions just like tomorrow when we watch it play for 24 hours on TV!
And a quick reminder, we’ll be taking this week off for Christmas, not only here at Argo City, but also over at Violent Blue. There’ll be some “lost” strips up for the vacation week, and regular comics and blogging will resume after the new year!
Join me this weekend for Cleveland Movie marathons!
Okay….so let me explain what’s going on this weekend.
Friday starting at 7:00 the Aut-O-Rama drive-in theatre will be presenting a horror marathon : Night of the Living Dead, Nightmare On elm Street, Friday the Thirteenth and The Shining (Yay! I was so bummed that the shining screening was cancelled a few weeks ago). The Drive-In has two screens, so on the opposite screen there will also be family friendly films like Hotel Transylvania, Gremlins, Casper and BeetleJuice. The cost for the four film marathon is thier standard admission of $9.00.
Saturday night going into Sunday morning is 12 Hours of Terror at the Capitol Theatre on west 65th street in Cleveland. The all night marathon includes the Original Evil Dead, Killer Klowns from Outer Space, From Beyond, Creature From the Black Lagoon (in 3d!), Christine, Street Trash and a surprise feature. Seven movies for $30 at the door (or $25.00 in advance).
After Breakfast at Church, I’ll be heading out to the Lorain Palace for thier double feature of the Friday the Thirteenth remake and Poltergeist. Cost for the double feature on the biggest indoor screen in Lorain County is $5.00.
A film weekend of Cinema Wasteland proportion (for about the same as a weekend pass). I know we’ve all seen most of these films on TV over the years, but there’s something special about seeing something like this on the big screen at a theater. There’s an experience to it….and these aren’t the sterile, neon lit, faceless multiplexes that are scattered through out the country. These are beautiful old theaters. Places with character. The Palace is one of my favorite places on earth, and I’m so grateful that we still have a drive in like the Aut-O-Rama around here- close to my home (twenty minuets) and already upgraded to digital.
Had a lot of movie trips in the last couple of days. I think that going to t he drive in in the middle of a hot summer is the perfect way to watch Escape from New York. I doubt I’ll ever get another opportunity, but it was great to see it on the big screen in this manner. I don’t think it really improved the movie any – some films do way better on the big screen than on TV – but it just felt right.
Mad Max on the other hand….I’ve never understood Mad Max. I don’t get the appeal. Perhaps it’s just because I’m not a car person, but it seems like a standard car/motorcycle gang film, and I don’t get how this became a franchise or why it’s so beloved (unless that happened after Mel Gibson broke through and people started looking through his past filmography for something to develop). The last ten minuets are the best part of the film…the rest is a bit of a slog. It was nice to see the Australian dialogue track restored. I know this has ben around for probably ten years, but it’s not the version I have at home and it’s hard to justify buying another copy of a film I don’t like just because it’s a classic.
And then there’s the Conjuring.
Cinema Wasteland was nice enough to provide me with advance passes for this movie. Amy had seen commercials for it in TV and the commercials freaked her out, and was surprisingly delighted when I told her I got tickets for the film.
We headed out the the Capitol and got there about 45 minuets early. We needn’t have bothered, the place was full, but not packed. There were still seats available when the film rolled. It was rude crowd though, people constantly talking (TALKING, not whispering) through a good deal of the film.
It’s a fun movie, mashing up a haunted house story, a ghost story, a witch story and an exorcism story all into one. That said, it’s still not incredibly original. It’s very by-the-numbers, hitting all the points you expect from any of those kind of films very nicely. The jump scares are there, so are the noises and the doors opening and closing by themselves, the hidden rooms – if I were to sit here and chart all the things this movie has in common with the Amityville Horror we could be here all day.
The performances are all convincing and everything kept us involved. There’s a subplot concerning a possessed doll that is sadly underused, almost tacked on. The film opens with it, then we get one real callback to it and that’s it. It almost feels like something they added in just to put it on the poster, or perhaps that first ten minuets was the original pitch reel that then had to be included in the final cut – much like the reverse bear trap in Saw. I don’t know. I think I’d like to see more of the doll story ,or have it gone altogether. The way it was, it just doesn’t fit right.
Still, if you like haunted house movies (and I’ve been on a real haunting kick lately myself) then this is a good pick. Maybe not in the theatre though. It’s good, but not $9.00 good. Wait to rent it or catch it on Netflix. I’ll be interested in seeing how it does over the weekend, and researching just how much of this was actually the “true story” it was billed as.
Die Hard this weekend! The perfect Christmas gift!
Seriously, what better way to get yourself into the Christmas spirit than watching Bruce Willis take on a bunch of terrorists barefooted with the help of the dad from the Urlke show?
My friend Mike was talking about coming up from Toledo to see it and I might even get my wife to come out. We’ll see you at the Capitol Saturday night at midnight!
12 Hours of Terror
And what a movie night we have ahead of us! The Capitol Theatre presents its 3rd Annual 12 Hours of Terror all-night horror movie marathon. Titles include: The original TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (1974) FRIGHT NIGHT (1985), SLITHER (2006), SHAUN OF THE DEAD (2004), TERROR TRAIN (1980), JAWS 3-D (1983) plus a surprise secret screening! No one under 18 admitted. Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 day of show.
Look guys, movies like these were made to be seen on a big screen. 12 hours is always a good time and not a bad deal, even at thirty dollars. I guarantee you won’t be disappointing.
And if you are, read some Violent Blue. That always cheers me right up.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s was absolutely marvelous….just like i knew it would be. honestly, it’s the perfect movie. you can’t update it- it just wouldn’t work in the 21st century. you can’t recast it…it couldnt be more perfectly cast already. there’s just nothing you could do to make this movie better. it’s a perfect film. It was so nice to see it on the big screen. when the lights came up, al the women in the audience were in tears. The picture was so clear that i could read th brand stamped on the individual cigarettes. Audrey Hepburn was at her loveliest. Just a perfect movie.
Something interesting I noted. There’s a lot of Holly Golightly in Chloe from my Violent Blue. I never realized it before. The free spirit, the whole thing with th best friend upstairs that you go meet on the fire escape….I never realized it. Always interesting to notice that you are watching one of your influences unfold right before your eyes. very cool
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Once in a while, you’ll see us do a top five list over at Violent Blue. They tend to be real ones I’ve thought about over the years – things like books, movies and so on and so forth. Unlike many of my other top five lists, my top five all time favorite movies have pretty much remained the same for a decade. They include “The Maltese Falcon” with Humphry Bogart, “The Fisher King”, “Lilo and Stitch”, “High Fidelity” and…..”Breakfast at Tiffany’s”
I’m not sure what captivates me so much about the movie. I do love Audry Hepburn’s character, she always puts out such an adorable preformance in whatever role it is. It’s genuinely funny and romantic and dramatic, all without really getting hung up on the romantic comedy formula that most modern ones so vigioursly follow. My friend Mike once told me “of course you like it! It’s all about crazy people!” I’m not so sure that’s true. outside of the party scene, they seem like very ordinary people, but ones trapped in situations they just don’t want to be in, but don’t see any way out of.I think that’s really relatable.
Whatever the attraction, it’s playing at the Capitol in Cleveland this Sunday at 10:00. How cool is it to be going out to see one of my favorite movie on the big screen? The only other one I can say I’ve done this with is “Lilo and Stitch”. If you’ve got five dollars burning a hole in your pocket like I do, and you feel like skipping Sunday morning services, feel free to join me up at the Capitol this weekend!
SO Flash is showing this Saturday at the Capitol Theatre and I’m still a little undecided as to wether or not I want to go.
Can someone explain this to me? I realize this film has a huge cult following, but I don’t get it. I like the old serials, I dig the comic strips. I get that they have a sort of ridiculous “Retro-Future” look to them….of course it wasn’t silly looking at the time. I think we forget that.
My friend Johnny Em says the charm is in the outragousness of the film. It’s the same thing that draws him to Jack Kirby’s Fourth World But for me, it just feels like the material is being made fun of. Much like last years Green Hornet film did. Taken seriously, with respect for its roots (something the Sci-Fi channel version of Flash copmpletely abandoned – I just saw the pilot on DVD at a Dollar store) this material can stand on it’s own, it dosen’t needto be tarted up in camp. That kind of thinking killed the Batman movies for a time, it’s no wonder we haven’t gotten a good version of Flash again….well other than Star Wars.
I’ll probably head out if my friends want to go see it. Maybe it’ll be better on the big screen in a pretty theatre, kind of like how My Bloody Valentine was improved by 3D glasses.
I won’t hold my breath.