Sunday, May 31, 2009

Long time since I blogged. Not that things haven't been happening to me it's just I never seem to get round to writing any of it down. Today all five of us went to the Highland Folk Museum. Which I hadn't been to before. It's a wide open site dotted with reconstructed buildings from the area. The kids loved it. Inside one of the houses, a reconstruction of a crofter's house of some 300 years ago - heather thatched roof, no windows, dirt floor, Holly started playing with a beam of sunlight that was coming through the chimney hole in the centre of the roof. And I had a camera in my hand. It's not the greatest photo in the world but for once in my life I actually took a photo that captured the moment without getting in the moment's way.

DSCN2518


Tomorrow: the relentless slog that is every movie I have watched this month while not doing this blog.

Monday, May 18, 2009

water-cooler

And then sometimes you just see pictures in the newspaper that make you go 'ewwww!'

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I'm thinking of changing the name of my blog to 'Where Did I Get These Middle-Class Children From?'

Tonight, at tea, Daisy finally stopped prodding, and complaining about, the green goo on the side of her plate long enough to taste it.

"Mmmmmm I like Mushy Peas! At first I thought it was guacamole - but I like it!"

Eurovision

Who I voted for:



and:



How could I not vote for Dita Von Tees strutting her stuff in rubber and three semi-naked Roman centurions in silver Spandex.

As usual the British song was dreadful and someone I didn't vote for won.

(How both these songs came to be number 17 in the running order is something that has me baffled.)

Thursday, May 07, 2009

It had to happen.

We took Eben to hospital yesterday.  It was nothing important but when he was born a routine check wasn't done - or if it was done the results weren't written down - so yesterday we had to drive all the way across the country to spend five minutes in a dark room with a consultant Radiographer to learn our son has an 'Unremarkable' bladder.

We took the opportunity of being (almost) alone to do some grown-up shopping. My parents had the girls for the day.  So free from the constant attention grabbing of my daughters, I'm standing in Waterstone's holding Eben with one hand, and flipping through some comic books graphic novels with the other when another customer, pushing a baby in a pram, spots my darling boy.  She goes all goey and we engage in the ritual exchanges that all new parents do so well:

Her:
Isn'thelovelyHowoldishe?

Me:
Fourandahalfweeks. 

Her:
Ohhe'ssolittle!

Me:
Don'tlethismotherhearyousaythat.Hewaseightpoundsten.

Then...

Her:
He's lovely. Are you his grandfather?

Me:
(Pause. Blink. Pause)  No... I'm his father...

Her:
Mummblemummbleoops! (Exit right)

Suddenly I don't want to buy a graphic novel comic book any more.  I want to go home*.







*Nice cup of cocoa, pipe, and slippers.






Tuesday, May 05, 2009

My favourite Joke at the Moment

A man goes to the zoo but it's only got one animal.  A dog.  It's a shitzu.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Sad little photo from pal Daveybot which gave me an excuse to test the Flickr / Blogger thing I just set up.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Duck! It's Crap Movie Time Again

April
  1. The Empire Strikes Back
    - with the kids. And I didn't fall asleep! Not that I had a chance answering questions like: "Star Wars is all about Doctor Who, isn't it, Daddy?"
  2. Wavelength
    - forgotten but worthwhile low budget SF film which eschews elaborate special effects and cliché to deliver a nicely acted, well thought out little movie somewhat in the Starman, E.T. line.
  3. Atom Age Vampire
    - badly dubbed and edited American 1960 Italian soap operatic pre-mashup mashup of a mad scientist Jekyll and Hyde killing women to extract something from them to make his beloved beautiful again (after she is horribly disfigured during a badly staged car crash.) I've no idea what the original was like but great chunks of this version made no sense whatsoever. At one point our only slightly (but soon to be totally) deranged benevolent scientist is about to perform a vital operation when the lights go out. He descends to the cellar and abuses his dumb devoted, but slightly pissed, henchIgor for letting the generator die. Exit henchIgor whimpering as our scientist (in operating gown) flips a couple of switches. The lights go on in the operating theatre. The patient anaesthetised on the table, osiliscope flickering away, big atomic thing in the corner flashing all its lights. His other assistant, beautiful devoted female scientist (aka victim number one) turns off the hurricane lamp. Back in the cellar the Doc heads for the stairs when he notices water dribbling from the wall. He stops. Looks at it. Picks up a sledgehammer lying nearby and, for no discerable reason whatsoever, spends the next seven shots whacking a bloody big hole in a brick wall and then crawling through it. Cut to nightclub hoochie coochie dancer with feathers on her bum...







    Internal memo from the producer: .

    Hey Luigi, How's the shoot going? We still don't know how to end the cellar scene so just fill the screen full of tits will you. Ciao.



    High readings on the bewilderometer for this one. Get your free, legal CrappyQuality copy HERE!
  4. X the unknown Movie
    -
    I watched a movie. I remember watching it. I just have no memory whatsoever of what it was... EDIT: I found it. It wasn't a real movie, it was made for TV so doesn't count. It was crap though.
  5. Wall E
    - better than I was expecting and some of the visuals were stunning.
  6. The 27th Day
    - back to the 1950s SF crap, Yipee! In this one an alien gives seven total strangers, everyday folks from around the world, a weapon of mass destruction. The aliens want to take over the world and have a moral compunction about destroying sentient life - but none about giving the sentient life a means of conveniently wiping itself out. So a promising start (marred only by the typical parading of ignorance of the basics of physics and astronomy so common in movies. Apparently if you move at the speed of light, time stops - everywhere). The abductees are returned to the Earth with the power of its destruction in their hands. Nice set up for a bit of late 50s H-bomb cold war paranoia and moral debate. And there is a bit, and it's not bad; a bit talky and worthy - but it goes totally off the rails right at the end when our wizzoo scientist pulls a plot twist out of his arse and reveals that "all forms of energy fire, electricity, nuclear fission" have a good use as well as an evil use! With an unexplained interpretation of some, hitherto unmentioned, mathematical formuli containing "some symbols I have never seen before" he unleashes the weapons - but in a good way.

    The cast swiftly gather round a radio - budgetary shortcomings dictate that a lot of all-out heck and mayhem is delivered via news announcers, rather than being seen on screen -


    "Ladies and gentlemen here it is, The bulletin we have been waiting for. Scientists believe we have been bombarded with invisible rays from outer space. Reports pouring in from all over the globe confirm sudden and unexplainable deaths. All the cases have shown the same symptoms. All heard a high pitched almost supersonic noise, accompanied by acute agony and severe shock - followed by death. I know it's unbelievable! Fantastic! But the rays appear to have killed every person throughout the world known to have been a confirmed enemy of human freedom. Yes! The entire world is united in a spiritual unity unparalleled in its history. There are those who say it can't last but let us pray it does...".
    To which our scientist breathes a heartfelt "Thank God..." (which is the sort of thing you would say after wiping out millions of people after subjecting them to unspeakable agony. Shift the blame. God made me do it.)

    The film plays out with a brief coda in which the aliens are invited to come and use all the 'empty' parts of the planet (ie the bits where white people don't live) and the audience ejects popcorn that got lodged up its collective noses during the radio announcers speech. Presumably the aliens' superior technology will be of use burying all the dead evil people lying about too. The end. Probably the only film ever to climax with stock footage of the UN assembly in full session.
  7. The Phantom Planet (MST3K)
    - the best dire 1950s Astronaut miniaturised by local atmospheric conditions on a dirigible asteroid movie I have ever watched - twice.
  8. Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!
    - I'm a sucker for movies with lots of punctuation in their titles, Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! has three exclamation marks! I mean how fucking cool is that!? and has the added benefit of being stuffed with large breasted women to distract you from the deficiencies of the 'plot' - which is: three large breasted Go-Go dancers kill a hot rodder and kidnap his bikini clad girlfriend. Driving across the desert they arrive at the ranch of a demented old wheelchair-bound, woman-hater and his two sons, one a well muscled simpleton, the other a sensitive soul. After some searching for the old man's hidden loot and some half hearted 'sex' and rape scenes the end of the movie is a Jacobean tragedy with everyone ending up dead - stabbed, or run down by speeding sports cars - apart from the girl friend and the sensitive soul. I've had the poster for this movie on my wall for years. It was good to finally see it - well, maybe not 'good' in the usual sense of the word... Here it is on Google video. The quality of the MP4 version on the 'Download video - iPod/PSP' link is pretty good, much better than the pixilated version on the main screen. The pre-credit sequence is wonderful. Pure cinema.



    The unmistakable smell of female.


  9. Return of the Jedi



    My favourite shot in the Entire Star Wars saga.

  10. Mission Mars
    - Lo budget SF which uses vast amounts of NASA footage in a variety of interesting ways - none of which make a lot of sense. I spent most of the running time watching the lead, Darren McGavin, listening. I like watching people listening in movies. Sometimes when I see a part of a movie on the television and, for whatever reason, the sound is down, I always look out for listening acting. It's easier to do when the sound is down because, duh! obvious!, you don't get distracted by the dialogue. (Another way of not getting distracted by dialogue is when it has become so meaningless that you no longer care or understand what the characters are saying - or why. Happens a lot in the kind of movie I watch. Happened in this one.) Darren McGavin is another of those know the face but not the name actors. 60+ years in the business. He's a great listener. He listened the hell out of this movie.
  11. Rocket Attack USA
    - (MST3K) cold war propaganda at its cheapest. The director went on to make such masterpieces as: Fanny Hill Meets Dr. Erotico. Which could end up as contender in my top 100 bad movie titles. The top place at the moment are taken by Rock 'N Roll Wrestling Women vs. the Aztec Ape, followed by Blood of Ghastly Horror (aka Psycho a Go-Go) which I shall be 'enjoying' tomorrow night.
  12. Blood of Ghastly Horror
    - Oh My God! (as the young people say these days.) I am in a state of shock. An infuckingcredible movie. As far as I can work out, the history behind this patchwork hallucination is that in 1965, director Al Adamson produced and directed a very low budget, jewellery heist gone wrong movie called Psycho A Go-Go which seems to have had a terrific central performance and a plot device stolen from Night of the Hunter, and may have been intended as a comedy. It didn't sell because there were no names in it. Years later the director shot what appeared to be two sets of additional scenes, the first with John Carradine as a misguided scientist who, years before, had implanted a electronic device into a brain dead Nam vet with the inevitable consequence that he became a homicidal hoodlum - Carradine's 'confession' of this act cues great chunks of the 1965 film in flashback. (With me so far?) The homicidal hoodlum returns to the lab (new footage with the same actor) and kills his 'creator' in a laboratory featuring that staple of cheap set design, vast swathes of blackout curtain.

    The set was so small the operating table
    had to be propped up against a wall.

    The movie now seems to have been called The Man with the Synthetic Brain. When this version flopped, a second set of scenes was shot. In this, a framing device is added with detectives investigating a series of on-screen alley murders committed by a Zombie. Shortly after receiving, through the post, a colleague's head in a box - a shock lessoned slightly by it being heavily flagged up way in advance during the opening credits - they get to deliver these great crap lines:

    Chief Framing Device Detective:(READING FILE)

    Well I'll be a son of a bitch...


    Second Framing Device Detective:

    What is it Lieutenant?


    Chief Framing Device Detective:

    Everyone involved with the Corey case,

    with one exception - is dead!


    Second Framing Device Detective:

    What?... Do we know who it is?


    The Chief Framing Device detective stops tipping his chair back out of the frame long enough to fill in his underling on the Corey case and we flashback to the first set of added footage involving John Carridine as the mad scientist (thus neatly making Carradine's flashback that cinematic rarity, a flashback within a flashback). Further (post flashback) investigations lead the detectives to the lair of another mad scientist who turns out to be the father of the poor sap with the brain implant. Vengeful mad daddy has a nice line in vengeful zombie creation of his own (using more 'natural' voodooistic methods). The Director's wife stops by the studio long enough to get strapped to a table and have the second half of the heist movie flashbacked at her by daddy before he injects her with zombie juice. There is a short scene of constipated rampage (one mad scientist, two zombies, and three policemen, confined to a six foot square location - I think the cameraman stood on a chair) and just about everyone ends up dead. The End.

    Here's the wonderfully OTT trailer:


  13. Horror of the Blood Monsters*
    - I'm going to hand over to a poster over on the IMDb for a bit here, I'm still in shock
    Ya gotta love Al Adamson. Only he would (1) take footage from a 20-year-old movie about gorillas in diving helmets ("Robot Monster"), (2) combine it with clips from a 30-year-old movie about elephants with hair mats glued to their sides ("One Million B.C."), (3) throw in parts from a God-knows-how-old Filipino movie about midget cannibals, half man/half lobster monsters and beer-bellied Chinese cavemen with snakes growing out of their shoulders (all of the aforementioned footage being in black and white), (4) spend $11.43 shooting new "connecting" footage (in color, no less) with an apparently--to be charitable--confused John Carradine and a bunch of actors who have trouble remembering their lines (among them a vapid blonde who is so incompetent that all her dialogue is dubbed in by someone else and who doesn't even have the decency to make up for it by getting naked), (5) put it out under at least 10 different titles and (6) try to pass each one off as a new movie. Go, Al!

    This is one brilliant movie. It so far beyond bad it comes out the other side again. I am so proud of myself for retaining control of my bladder when we saw the first shot of the spaceship landing.



    ..



    And here it is preparing to take off.







    A plastic kit model airliner and two pastry cutters! - it's genius!

    There is also a brilliant piece of use of stock footage from (I think) The Time Travellers in which the control centre on Earth is represented by an Over the Shoulders wide shot taken from the older movie intercut with two actors (costumed to look like the original actors whose backs we see) against the obligatory, No-Budget blackout curtain. Only after a few moments it becomes painfully obvious the Over the Shoulder shot is not stock footage at all. It's a stock one twenty-fourth of a foot. Its a freeze frame!

    Somewhere, during the bewildering intercutting between the tinted Fillipino cavemen endlessly fighting giant bats, lobstermen, and vampires, (sometimes in flashback!), the tinted intrepid explorers almost encountering the tinted stock footage from a couple of dinosaur movies while searching the new planet (ie Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park), and, finally, the colour footage of John Carradine back at the spaceship, talking to the rest of the crew by radio because they couldn't afford to take him on location... we suddenly get a sex scene!



    Two people, with electrodes strapped to their heads, snogging on a bed while around them lights flash in upturned test tubes and groovy Future Art stands on plinthettes. I was waiting for the voice over:

    Yes! Fucking in the Future will be fun! Modern science has many marvels in store for the married couples of tomorrow. The General Electric Orgasmomometer for instance guarantees satisfaction every time! Even for the most frigid of women! - even on those 'difficult' days!

    It turns out this scene does have something to do with the movie (or at least as much as any of the others do) when it turns out the man is our old friend from the control room, whose idea of foreplay is to irradiate his bed partner with the 'Dangerous chromatic radiation' our intrepid crew are encountering out in space in order to paste a hasty explanation for all the bizarre tinting of the rest of the movie.


    Did I mention the first five minutes of this thing were a vampire movie, with people getting attacked in the same alley used by the zombie in Blood of Ghastly Horror?

    I have another Al Adamson lined up for tomorrow night, but I might watch this one again.

    *AKA Blood Creatures from the Prehistoric Planet, Creatures of the Prehistoric Planet, Creatures of the Red Planet, Space Mission to the Lost Planet , Vampire Men of the Lost Planet. etc.
  14. Brain of Blood
    - Sadly, an almost coherent Al Adamson movie - still not good, but not a bewildering mess like the last two.

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