The Poseidon Adventure

We watched the Poseidon Adventure last week. The original one with Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine, and Leslie Nielsen, not the new Richard Dreyfuss / Kurt Russell one. I might get around to watching that one, but I doubt I can convince the Elf.

The movie is classic over-the-top unsubtle disaster melodrama. Yes, it’s the one where the cruise ship flips over. I won’t summarize the plot because that’s about all you need to know.

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Art criticism needs the basics

I’m neither a fan of westerns nor Charles Bronson. So how is it that Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time In the West is quite possibly the best thing I’ve ever seen? It is incredible. The opening sequence alone is worth the price of admission. If you have not seen it, carve out bout three hours and watch it. Ask yourself how a three-hour movie can be so austere in its story-telling.

Ask yourself, because I certainly can’t tell you. And that’s a problem.

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Image Credits: Film Still / Once Upon a Time in the West

Slipstream

A late-80′s post-apocalyptic thinker from the director of Tron, starring Mark “Going to Toshi Station” Hamill and Bill “Game Over, Man” Paxton. British actor Bob Peck treats this like a real movie (damn, that guy can act). Robbie Coltrane and Ben Kingsley also have small parts. But the real star is the bizarre dragonfly-shaped Edgley Optica.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9A4V9XZweI

The movie was more interesting than it had any right to be, but it still leaves a slightly woody Pinocchio aftertaste.

Image Credits: Nigel Ish / Wikimedia

Trapped by Television

It’s no Transformers: Rise of the Fallen, but this fun little movie from 1936 has a lot going for it: great accents, dodgy dames, and even a tough named “Rocky.” It’s Trapped by Television, the story of a starving-but-brilliant inventor and shady business deals, with just a hint of murder.

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Image Credits: Columbia Pictures / Still from "Trapped by Television"

The Comedy of Terrors

Our New Years Movie was The Comedy of Terrors, an American International ensemble picture staring Vincent Price, Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre, and Basil Rathbone. Price and Lorre play a couple of under-employed undertakers desperately behind on the rent.

It’s a dark comedy by the phenomenal screenwriter Richard Matheson, which means it’s still quite funny. Peter Lorre is known for playing slimy henchmen, but here he’s a put-upon and very sympathetic sidekick. And it gives him a good opportunity to demonstrate his comedic timing.

Sword and the Sorcerer

Sword and the Sorcerer is a 1982 fantasy film directed by Albert Pyun (Alien from L.A.). It stars that guy from Murphy Brown (Joe Regalbuto), that guy from Night Court (Richard Moll), and that weird-looking bald guy in all the Burt Reynolds movies (Robert Tessier). It also features the silliest sword I’ve ever seen, and I’ve played a lot of Final Fantasy games.

The silly sword has three parallel blades that are launched from the hilt like prop blades being pulled across a guideline, and there’s not nearly enough of it in the movie. There’s even less of the sorcerer, who has more in common with a level one mage: he’s constantly revived and killed without accomplishing anything of consequence in between.

Sword and the Sorcerer is better than Eye of the Serpent, but I’m hard pressed to come up with any other worse fantasy examples. I would happily listen to other people’s D&D campaign stories as an alternative.