What I’ve been watching

Mirrors 2 – I liked the original better. This one is pretty standard fare – vengeful spirit haunts mirrors and kills people until the mystery is solved. Some rather gruesome death scenes in this one – I thought I was properly desensitized by now but I still found them a bit squicky.

Monsters – Wow, where did this come from and why didn’t I know about it? A pretty good character-driven story in an SF setting. It’s not an action-adventure at all – it’s just about two people trying to get from point A to point B while there’s a slowly developing alien-induced crisis going on. There’s little explanation and no resolution to the alien situation – they’re just part of the setting. I liked this one a lot.

Predators – A worthy sequel to the original, complete with some back-references. If you liked the first one, chances are you’ll like this one too.

The Beast of Hollow Mountain – Cowboys versus monsters isn’t an unheard-of genere, but cowboys versus dinosaurs is a bit more rare. An unusual property of this monster movie is that you don’t see the monster until very near the end, nor does it even make its presence known until about halfway through. It’s a character drama until then, and I was starting to wonder if I was really watching a monster movie – if not for the foreshadowing narration at the beginning, I would have been wondering if the “monster” of the title wasn’t referring to the human villain of the story.

Inception – I liked it a lot. A well-crafted story about a bunch of people who plan something impossible and then take it one step further, while fighting their own failings. Worth a look. I did spot one inconsistency (around the definition of the “kick” and the business with the elevator) and one disappointing loose end (the totem), but those weren’t bad enough to dent a thumbs-up rating.

APEX – This was actually better than I expected. A couple of decent performances and characterizations, and some nicely made props. That’s about all that distinguishes it though.

She-Demons – Let’s see. Escaped Nazi war criminals invent geothermal power and victimize a tribe of Amazons on an uncharted island near the U.S. in order to undo one woman’s volcanic beauty treatment, and are undone by a handful of yacht wreck survivors and the latest in a regular series of American bombing practice runs. Yeah, that about covers it.

Space Amoeba – Gotta love the old Toho SF/monster movies. It’s like every primitive-filled island near Japan has its resident monsters and scheming alien invaders. There’s always a token scientist character along to leap from completely insufficient evidence to totally unjustified conclusions about highly unscientific facts just in time to let everyone know what they’re up against so they can come up with a plan. Another thing I like about these movies is that they have a bit more imagination about the nature of aliens – they don’t have to be humanoid. Kinda surprising given the prevalence of rubber-suit monsters often found in the same flicks. Japanese SF and monster movies prove that a creature doesn’t have to look like a human with makeup on in order to get audience identification.

Piranha (2010 edition) – Maybe I’m getting soft in my old age, but this was actually a bit too gory for me. Or maybe it’s the combination of gore with sex that does this – if not for the monster movie aspect, a good chunk of this one could be mistaken for an updated 80s frat movie, only with even more nudity. All that aside, I’d say this is as worthy as the original version.

Barn of the Naked Dead – You would think with a title like this it would have some nudity and some zombies in it, or possibly even nude zombies, or else be a clever title for something philosophical, right?  Well, technically it does have the first two – perhaps a full fifteen seconds of partial nudity and as much as three minutes total screen time for the one token zombie-like creature.  The rest of it is about a disturbed young man with mommy and daddy issues treating kidnapped women like animals in a circus.  Not my sort of thing, despite what you might think.

The Power – Excellent, excellent movie! Good acting, believable characters, good cinematography and above all a story that keeps you guessing until the end.  I had actually seen this before but had forgotten the ending, and it did indeed surprise me again.  After seeing as many movies as we all have, it’s easy to think you’ve seen all the standard plot twists and think you have a movie pigeonholed by halfway through, and I thought I knew what the twist would be.  I was wrong, and happy to be so – it’s nice to get unjaded every now and then.

Fight Club – This movie did not interest me at all when it came out, but so many people have indicated it’s a must-see that I finally did. Not what I expected at all, and quite entertaining. Much truth is told. I’d definitely recommend this one.


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