Friday, September 10, 2010

You would have thought I would have been bored stupid by this by now but my on off stop start up down obsession with Lidl's packaging continues unabated:

The Great German Fruit Photograph Shortage part 34.7.

There is apparently only one picture of white grapes available to Lidl's design team. They've cunningly tried to disguise this fact by using it mirrored and slightly reduced in size on the mixed juice carton but here at JunkMonkey mansions we pride ourselves on spotting such things. (If we didn't pride ourselves on such things we would have to admit we we were sad obsessives with nothing else to do over the breakfast table but stare at cereal and juice cartons and try to join the dots.)

And talking of obsessive compulsive

It's Movie Time!
  1. Hustler Squad (1976) - a tacky, low-budget Philippino version of The Dirty Dozen - with tits! WW2. Four women with nothing to loose are recruited and trained to infiltrate a secret island brothel deep in the heart of Japanese occupied Somewhere Vague in the Pacific. Their mission: to kill four high ranking Japanese officers who will be there for a bit of R&R. What a boring movie. Next time I'll check my facts before I part with my hard earned 50p at a car boot sale. I got confused and thought I was buying Hell Squad - in which a group of Las Vegas showgirls undergo commando training and organize a rescue operation when a diplomat's son is kidnapped by terrorists. An easy mistake.

  2. Clash of the Titans (1981) - years since I've seen this and it has grown better than I remember it. Some wonderfully restrained dreamlike stuff aided by some great music.

  3. Fortress (1992) - More proof, if proof be needed, that seeing the words 'futuristic prison' should have you reaching for the eject button before you've even finished reading the blurb on the back of the box. Jesus wept! I'm sure there is a SF prison movie to be made but this is not it.

    The highlight of the movie for me was the moment when our genius hacker expendable character escapee sits in the control chair of the master computer. He's realised, before any of the other muscle-necked piles of sweaty testosterone that have escaped with him, that the computer is really running the whole show. He types frantically. After three attempts he has cracked the password. (This is despite the fact that the very supersmart AI with the sultry woman's voice knows that the escaped prisoners are in the control room. "Hmmm," thinks the AI. "One of my 'Neutron Cannons' just accidentally exploded into blue goo the only person authorised to sit in that chair; the room is full of escaped prisoners; but what the hey, they got the password right after three attempts - I'll let them overide everything..." ).

    Once he has gained access to the supercomputers' central core (DOS prompt and all) our hacker genius types something along the lines of "Load killer virus"... What? What killer virus? Nothing about any killer virus has ever been mentioned before now. Not a sausage. Not until the moment he starts typing anyway - making me think a) all computers in the future come with killer viruses ready installed and b) the scriptwriters were making it up as they went along. Anyway, the killer virus loads ('loads'?). The genius types 'execute' (making me think that the core of this thing is more likely to be a ZX Spectrum than anything else) when, suddenly, a bunch of zombie clone killer droids burst in and machine gun him from the chair. A dozen bullets rip through his torso. He falls forward. Our hero (it's Christopher Lambert - sorry) leaps up and blasts the zombie clone killer droids to bloo gue with his endlessly un-emptiable machine gun. Safe again for the moment they help the hacker up. Coughing blood he reaches to the keyboard - and hits the [Enter] key. The system crashes. In the hands of a grown up director this could have been an almost good joke, here it was just another piece of ineptness.

    And just how big is Christopher Lambert's forehead? it's huge! It's fascinatingly huge and very distracting. It's hard to take a Tefal Scientist seriously as an action hero.

    OMGA! * They made a sequel!?

  4. Dream Demon (1988 ) - This film is the result of an incredibly expensive version of the old I'm Sorry I haven't a Clue game 'One Song to the Tune of Another'. It's as if Humphrey Littleton had got a day job as chairman of British Screen: "Okay team, I want you to shoot Nightmare on Elm Street to the tune of Eraserhead but made in the style of an expensive TV commercial.".

    Bride to be Diana (played by the least of the Redgraves, Jemma) has a bad dream, wakes up and tells someone about it. Then she has another bad dream and wakes up and tells someone about it. She has yet another bad dream and wakes up... after about an hour of this I started to get just a wee bitty bored but then something happened! Jenny had another bad dream and woke up... and then she woke up again! Oooh! I was that surprised, I nearly woke up.

    If IMDB is to believed (and who am I to doubt it), the actress playing one of the leads as a young girl was four years older than the actress playing her as a grown up. Strange, but possibly true....

    Best line: "No." (As delivered by Timothy Spall while eating a Chinese takeaway. I know I'm not giving much away about the context but trust me; it was almost mildly amusing.)

  5. Red Sonja (1985) - Conan with tits (and possibly smaller than Schwarzenegger's). Dull sword and sorcery nonsense with some terrific costume design. I'll say one thing for Italian SF and Fantasy movies, the costumes are always great. Over the top, impractical, and possibly dangerous to wear - but they look great. Apart from the costume and set design, and Ennio Morricone's usual wonderful work on the soundtrack, there's not a lot else that's worth a second look.

  6. Flash Gordon (1980) - more great looking nonsense from same producer and possibly same costume/production designer as Red Sonja. (I did go to look it up on IMDb but kept getting distracted by discovering things like the fact that Robbie Coltrain was in it. He played "Man at Airfield", a non-speaking part; and that the priest in the Arboria sequence - where the future Chief Scout of Britain, Peter Duncan, is being initiated into the tribe - is played by John Osborne, the author of Look Back in Anger). Classy trash heaven.

  7. Lemora (1972) - An interesting, if ultimately less than satisfying, low budget Lovecraftian Southern Gothic vampire movie. Most of the cast never did much more than this one film - this is the Director's only film - all of which is a pity, because there is some good stuff in here; it's weird and eerie, dream-like and with just that little bit more of the elusive 'something' could have been a classic creepy movie. As it is it's an almost classic creepy movie which runs out of steam and finds it hard to disguise its limited budget at times.

  8. Telstar: The Joe Meek Story (2008 ) - I watch a movie that's based on real life and has no spaceships in! (Well, okay, one but it does also contain men recording the sounds of coins being dropped into a toilet!- as if that makes up for anything.)


    And it's pretty damn close to being brilliant.

  9. Repo Man (1984) - one of these days I'll get a decent copy of Repo Man, my VHS copy is getting a bit worn and tattered, if nothing else to see if there really is a scene I remember seeing once in which two characters talk about the joy of Doritos.

  10. Wonder Man (1945) - Danny Kaye film which was nowhere as funny as I remember but much more colourful. I remember it being in black and white. It isn't.

  11. Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God (2005) - I haven't laughed so much in ages. It was like a parody of every overblown bollocky pseudo-medieval teenwank fantasy cliché in the book (or - as is common in this genre - three books). I especially loved the villain, played by Bruce Payne, who so wonderfully personified evil by dressing in black, assuming a gay smirk, and then doing pure Joey Tribiani style "sniff your own farts" acting. Amazingly awful.

  12. Detective Story (1951) - Kirk Douglas chewing up the scenery as he plays a tough, driven cop dealing with his inner demons and the astounding revelation that his wife had slept with someone before they were married. Nice moments from the supporting parts, a couple of whom were Oscar nominated, but the noise of Douglas' constipated gurnings just drowned them out.

  13. Build My Gallows High (1947) - (aka Out of the Past) Classic Noir directed by the great Jacques Tourneur. One of those movies where the twists and double-crosses just keep coming and coming. In the end the writer had backed our hero into so many corners that the only way to get out of the movie was to have him die. So he did.

  14. Mambo (1954) - Long forgotten Italian/American melodrama which has the odd moment of interest but which appears to have suffered badly at the hands of censors or distributors. The original run time was 110 minutes, the US release comes in at 94; fifteen plus minutes of something has disappeared. Shelley Winters' character looks to be an obvious victim of cuts. She plays the Lesbian leader of a dance troupe. We know she's a Lesbian because she has short hair, wears trousers, and is called 'Toni' - how many more hints do you need? Towards the start of the film, the heroine (Giovanna) and Toni are sitting together in a train. When Giovanna suddenly gets up to leave, Toni reaches out to stop her only to have her hand is angrily brushed aside. It's just a moment, but a very obvious one, and it hints at a much deeper relationship between the two characters than is delivered in the prolonged flashback that immediately follows. Giovanna joins Toni's troup after she is raped by a count and spurns the avaricious manipulative sleeze-bag boyfriend who set her up. Giovanna definitely goes off men in a big way. But instead of enjoying any deeply romantic and / or physical relationship with Giovanna, Shelley's character is reduced to a few shots of gazing adoringly at her from the wings, and a few routine moments of generic hard-driving, hard-driven backstage impresario acting. (Think Warner Baxter in 42nd Street and Anton Walbrook in the Red Shoes.)


    The showdown between the two women, when Toni forces Giovanna to choose between her dancing career (and, by implication, Toni herself), and the low-life ex-rape-setting-up lover who has just walked back into her life, makes very little sense without there having been any deeper relationship between the two women. Especially as Toni, having been rejected, rushes off in a state of distress and dies under the wheels of a speeding car - leaving the whole audience to sit there and wonder, "Where did that come from? Talk about over-reacting!". Giovanna, having seen her girlfriend squished under the wheels of a car goes to live with the sleeze-bag - then marries the count (who, being a haemophiliac dies when sleeze-bag gets into a fist fight with him) before maybe wondering if being a dancer is what she really wanted to be all along and rejoining the dance troupe. Jeeso! Make your mind up, girl!

    Not terrible but not really worth resurrecting as a long forgotten classicut don't take my word for it, go watch it for yourself. It's out of copyright and downloadable here:

  15. Mary Poppins (1964) - another of those films I have avoided for years but, after recently reading the book which I found to be quite odd and charming, and yielding to daughter number one's request for "Musicals with real people made in the last century." (Eight year old girls are weird) we sat down as a family to watch it. It was better than I was expecting and Dick Van Dykes' car crash of a (was it supposed to be Cockney?) accent was scab pickingly fascinating. I could have done with less singing and more story and daughter number one was disappointed that several favourite scenes from the book didn't make it to the screen.

*British internet slang: OMGA - 'Oh My Giddy Aunt!'

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