Mrs. Seeber~editor in chief

Mrs. Seeber~ EDITOR in Chief...a blog for my cleaver husband to rant about our favorite pasttime~ movie watching

Friday, November 16, 2012

20 Million miles to earth- 1957

Yes, we still have some Halloween movies on the DVR.  No, I won’t do any Christmas movies till after Thanksgiving.  The leading roles are all people that you might recognize from watching enough 50’s SciFi but no real stars appear here.  A Columbia pictures release which truly stars Ray Harryhausen (he does have a cameo role in it).  This movie was filmed partly in Rome because Ray wanted a vacation there but he must have worked hard getting this one together. 
Harryhausen was a master of animating creatures having been inspired by King Kong and worked with the man that made him.  I have seen him bring many things to life but the Ymir (the name of the creature) was really a great monster.  So really there were two stars here the monster maker and his creation.  The battle with the elephant is a classic (yes, I found myself pulling for Dumbo), having Just watched the new King Kong you can see elements of that battle in the Kong/T-rex fights.
The story was OK, none of the characters stood out to me and again the chick did not have good hair!  I did enjoy watching it but it was mostly because of Harry’s pains taking work.  This is popcorn in the dark movie just for fun.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Mary Poppins 1964

This one is for Miss Maddie.  She wanted The Sound of Music (which Miss Maddie I do not hate and yes have seen- I still have the syrupy sweetness stuck to my teeth) but I know what your favorite is….

How can a mere mortal like I have any chance of doing justice to an icon of the film world like this!
It won 5 academy awards and was up for a slew of others, it had a grouping of outstanding talents and Walt (Disney) was still alive to keep the standards up.   I am not the biggest fan of musicals (the occasional White Christmas, Wizard of Oz, Dirty Dozen and the like works for me- huh-oh yes it was;  I am sure that Trini Lopez got off a tune in that one-) but this is fun.  That spit spot of a witch charms her way into the hearts of the dysfunctional Banks family (and subsequently abandons them and surely shreds the hearts of those poor little Banks urchins) bringing order to all with a smile and a twitch of her nose- opps sorry that was another witch- there was that umbrella thing happening.

The music is some of the most famous in film history.  The players fit so well in their respective roles.  What can you say about Julie…. And Dick, well he stands out to me.  I have seen the stage production of this and until I did I didn’t give Dick the credit he deserves (no disrespect for the guy in the play- he was good but…).  I know, I know his accent was horrible (everyone picks at him for that) but his energy was fantastic.  I tend to enjoy some of the “secondary” players as well or better.  I have always loved Ed Wynn (Uncle Albert); Rita Shaw (The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, TV’s version of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, etc.) Elsa Lanchester (The Bride of Frankenstein) and Reginald Owen (Scrooge) were all fun to see too.
I didn’t care much for the jumping into the chalk painting part (a bit trippy dude) and that wild Chimney Sweep number kinda scares me, but unless you live in a Man Cave (do these expressions of blind testosterone actually exist?)you should be able to enjoy a dose of this once in a while and for some of you much more regularly!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Last Man on Earth 1964

Vincent, Vincent, Vincent what were you thinking?  Saw another one last nigh that I had never seen before- The Last Man on Earth. An over-dubbed Italian flick that has all the things that should have made it killer but the only thing that died was this movie.  Is it the worst movie I have ever seen- no way, is it the worst Vincent Price movie (in my opinion) I have ever seen- bingo bango bongo.

It was written by a master of horror/sci-fi stories, Richard Matheson.  More famous for The Shrinking Man, Hell House, Stir of Echoes, Twilight Zone episodes and for the most recognizable version of this story, I am legend.  There are actually 3 (or more if you count rip-off versions like- the 1968 Night of the living dead) versions of this all with big name actors; this one, Omega Man (1971) with Charlton Heston and I am Legend with Will Smith.  All of them except the Smith version (which isn't perfect either) pretty much dropped the ball (and then tripped on it).
The story, which is now classic, a plague wipes out nearly everyone, lonely survivor, human chasing zombies and add in a nice vampire twist.  To give you an idea how much Matheson liked it he pulled out on it but to get credit (and therefore money) he let them credit him as Logan Swanson.  Smart move Ricky!

I was never a fan of watching people’s mouths move and it not matching what they were saying, the setting was dumb (if zombies were banging on your house every night, calling you by NAME and saying they wanted to kill you, wouldn't you move or at least board up the dang windows), the acting was weak (even Vince, looked like he was going through the motions), the zombies were embarrassing and the pace slow (much like the zombies).  I read that someone thought that this was Price’s best movie- oh my- was it the only one they ever saw him in?  He was better in the Michael Jackson video- Thriller!  The House of Wax kicked this movies butt.  I was a little excited when I saw this was coming up I have since come to my senses.
A critic once said that this movie was able to “conjure up some genuine chills”  pa-leeeeeeeeeeeeeease….he must have been sitting in front of an outstanding air conditioner at the NorthPole!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Arrow on the CW channel~

My wife asked me to review this new series so here I go.
Arrow is another comic (DC) come to life- a mixture of Batman, the Green Lantern and the old Kung Fu series of the 70’S.  It is of course all modernized with drunks and drugs and the ultra-rich yuppie spawn.
A waste of skin rich guy is lost on a mysterious deserted island and finds a reason to live and wants to right the wrongs of his past and his nar-do-well father. Set in an overly corrupt city (Gothum-esk) whose rich elite are just begging to be corrected for their naughty ways and ARROW is just the man for the job.
Through the occasional flash backs we learn of his time on the island and how he was trained and turned in to the deadly little Arrow that he is. The villains are all asking for it and through his amazing physical feats (and magical powered plant tissue from the island) he cannot be stopped.  I am sure more than a modicum of his (STEPHEN AMELL) appeal comes from his hunkylisiousness or as one of my students said-he’s freakin hot.
As much as I want to riddle this show full of more holes then a good Swiss cheese sandwich I have to admit I don’t hate it. The bad guys get it in the end, the mysterious island sub plot and a show where Kelly Hu is the bad girl can't be all bad! HuHuHu.  Watch with your favorite comic book hero jammys  on and don’t expect too much intellectual material.  Take it for what it is- probably not the worst show on the interesting CW network.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The day the earth stood still (1951)

  The day the earth stood still (1951)
This film has been referred to as “the second coming of Christ”.  A man named Carpenter, all powerful,comes to help man, is killed and resurrected but I don’t get that deep in philosophy.  What I see is a very early masterpiece of cold war science fiction.  This is before my time but I grew up with it.  The acting, setting, effects (especially for that time) and music are great.  No, this is not the Keanu Reeves version; this is Michael Rennie at his finest.  Supported by Patricia Neal (not the best hair I’ve seen) as the chic, Hugh Malowe (veteran of other SciFi classics) and even Aunt Bee (Francis Bavier) make a stop over from Mayberry.  The reporters on the TV and radio are the actual news people of the day and Lock Martin (Gort) a 7’ tall usher from Grumann’s Chinese Theater is one of the best robots of all time.

I have no doubt that some of my love for this movie is nostalgia and colored a bit but the moral after 60 years is STILL valid and it is still fun at the same time.  The plot flows well and blends with the reality of the day.  I love Sam Jaffe (Pro. Branhart) as the Einstein look-a-like as well as the rampant paranoia that I can see actually happening then or now.  All this was done without a single persons head exploding or entrails tossed about like confetti at a New Year’s Eve party.
I really don’t know how this would translate into today’s generation used to movies of mindless viscous, violence, no plot, massive number of CG effects and very little acting but I suspect that those out there that still use a couple of their brain cells will get it and enjoy it, maybe not as much  as I, but still have fun.
All I have to say is KLAATU BARADA NIKTO


Friday, October 12, 2012

The Uninvited~ 1944 Ray Maland

 unlike the previous movie, which was a trick, this one was a treat...

    I have never seen this one before, and that's saying something. Even as a 9yr old I remember being abused by the family, because I kept saying I'd seen that one. 

The movie is a romp through the ghost filled world of Cornwall, where the rugged sea scape is part of the story line. As much fun as it is to heap abusive jibes onto, shall we say, the weaker films of this genre occasionally a film of quality will need my attention. Ray Maland has an outstanding cast that do justice to the roles. The doctor in this one appears in the 1950's version of Journey to the Center of the Earth. The housekeeper is pure old Irish. Neither of the lead women had good hair in this either. The story is fun, a splash of comedy here and there,which was unexpected, rounds out your stay in this haunted house. I would pay to stay in that house for a weekend, whereas the locals found it a forbidding abode. Only the cat and dog of the newcomers are wise to the invisible inhabitants of the manor.  The plot flows well, including all the expected characters from the overprotective grandfather, to the crazed woman running the insane asylum. The only weakness is forgiven, that being again the effects capable in 1944. The exception being when the woman stands at the edge of the cliff overhanging the wild ocean, and ... that's for you to experience. 

I am now instituting a new rating system, I give this 3 1/2 cobwebs out of 4. 


Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake~

With the Halloween season coming up on us the DVR will be running nonstop, generating a collection  of eclectic horror and science fiction films from the past. We recently delved into the interesting film of the four skulls of Jonathan Drake… This movie is for you if; you‘ve had three beers or if you are in desperate need of sleep. The finest part of this movie is the music, reminiscent of the old horror movies when I was 10.

As far as the actors are concerned the female lead though well-dressed was in dire need of better hair. Amazingly she never ran and fell down as is so often the case in these flicks. The male lead whoever he was should have retained his former occupation.  He was incredibly flat, and emoted nearly zero energy. As  is required in a film of this quality the in house doctor was not nearly believable although he did pronounce carare correctly.  The fiend of the movie was all but fiendish, he was monotone and basically incapable of frightening a small child…unless of course he took off his shirt whereupon you would have noticed his supposed European white head attached to  the darkened body of an amazon warrior. The only problem with the premise is the dye job, which looked like a very bad chemical tan. If the film was in color I have no doubt he would have glowed orange. The ghoul, his side kick, even with his mouth knitted shut moved about as if having exaggerated proctological issues.
  The spooky house venue was quite nice. I thoroughly would have enjoyed spending the weekend there, and of course the slow moving retainer had the outstanding name Rogers. The plot was slow, the imagined floating skulls were not quite to the level of avatar. This film would be highly recommended by me, for a large group who have just obtained a fresh supply of  a hearty meade. Don’t forget the popcorn, you will need to do something with your mouth in between the yawns.