Five Dollar Theater.

Betamax and beyond

Five Dollar Theater.

Postby burlivesleftnut on Thu Sep 08, 2005 4:10 pm

I bought four movies for 20 bucks at Hollywood Video yesterday. Ghost in the Shell: Innocence, Coronado, Incident at Loch Ness and Stander. Since I like buying those used DVDs, I figure others do to. Let's use this space for DVDs we paid less that five dollars for. Be adventurous. It's only 5 bucks!

Anyway, I only had a chance to watch the sequel to Ghost in the Shell. Innocence follows case involving some pretty grisly homicides committed by Gynoids. Batou, the Major's partner in the first Ghost in the Shell is the lead detective with, um, that other guy being his partner. Turns out the Gynoids are sex-bots and that their psychotic behavior is a means to commit suicide which could only mean... DUN DUN!... they. have. souls.

The story is not as cryptic as the first one, which is easily one of my favorite movies. Batou follows the case to its natural horrifying conclusion and the viewer is treated to some really mind bendy stuff along the way. And while the first one, in a pre-matrixy world, was a little to cryptic in plot, this one is more cryptic in dialog. Holy crap the movie is filled with heavy dialogue that basically amounts to being meaningless. Regardless of how pretentious it gets, the story is actually interesting.

I avoided this one because it received such lukewarm reviews, and boy do I regret it. This is one of the most stunningly beautiful movies I have ever seen. The film was obviously crafted by someone in love with all forms of animation and it shows in every lovingly crafted frame using both traditional drawn styling and some fucking mind blowing CGI work.

There is a truly beautiful centerpiece to the film where Batou and his partner journey to the northern territories to investigate a hacker named Kim. The start of this scene is comparable to the Major's scene in the original film where she wanders around Tokyo with an eery Japanese choir screaming in the background. Well this scene features the same freaky and beautiful soundtrack, but the visual tour de force we are treated to is so sublime I found myself transfixed. This leads to a real mind fuck of a scene that is worth the price of the DVD alone. From start to finish, the bits in the Northern Territories are some of the most amazing I have seen in any film, animated or not.

The climax of the movie is action packed and throughtful without the metaphysics of the first one, and a late addition character actually made me a little misty.

Over all the film was solid as a fucking rock.

I watched this on my laptop and it seemed a bit grainy, but that could be just my laptop. The movie is in Japanese with English subs and the voice work all around is outstanding. The sound is also top notch.
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Postby Adam Balm on Thu Sep 08, 2005 4:14 pm

Yeah GITS2 is pure brilliance. That was my favorite movie of the year. It does get pretentious, but so was the last one, and so was Akira. So I expected it.
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Postby burlivesleftnut on Thu Sep 08, 2005 4:20 pm

I actually didn't think the original was that pretentious. Heavy, yes. But not forcibly so.

By the way, one of the things I didn't mention about the sequel was how horrifying some of the movie was. The integration between man and machine has been taken to disturbing levels in this film.
Last edited by burlivesleftnut on Thu Sep 08, 2005 4:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Adam Balm on Thu Sep 08, 2005 4:24 pm

Wait, you mean GITS 1 or 2?
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Postby burlivesleftnut on Thu Sep 08, 2005 4:25 pm

The Second one.
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Postby Adam Balm on Thu Sep 08, 2005 4:34 pm

Yeah, I guess it was more pretentious in a Architect-Neo-in-Reloaded way, now that I think about it.
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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Sat Sep 10, 2005 11:45 pm

I looooved G.i.t.S II!

$5.00?!?!? You scum.

I bought it when it first came out, but the idiots at Dreamworks (or whatever company they had actually produce the DVD) had subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired only. So I had to mail the DVD back (someplace in Texas) to fix the error.
Personally, I'm an atheist in the voting booth and a theist in the movie theatre. I separate the morality of religion with the spirituality and solace of it. There is something boring about atheism.
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Postby burlivesleftnut on Sun Sep 11, 2005 9:04 am

I think they may be what I got. It had all kinds of things like, "(car radio buzzes)"... but I give not a shit.

Did yours have any granularity issues?
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Postby DennisMM on Sun Sep 11, 2005 2:06 pm

This doesn't quite qualify, but I yesterday I bought a two-disc edition of "Standing in the Shadows of Motown" for $5.50 US.

I also picked up the 10th anniversary, two-disc edition of "Sling Blade," which is just what I've been waiting for since the original disc was remarkably bare bones. The one thing missing from the new set is the original short, "Some Folks Call it a Sling Blade." This astounds me. Maybe there was a rights problem.
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Postby burlivesleftnut on Sun Sep 11, 2005 2:21 pm

DennisMM wrote:This doesn't quite qualify, but I yesterday I bought a two-disc edition of "Standing in the Shadows of Motown" for $5.50 US.

I also picked up the 10th anniversary, two-disc edition of "Sling Blade," which is just what I've been waiting for since the original disc was remarkably bare bones. The one thing missing from the new set is the original short, "Some Folks Call it a Sling Blade." This astounds me. Maybe there was a rights problem.


Well since the Motown bit comes close enough to qualifying, why not share a review?
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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Sun Sep 11, 2005 3:46 pm

burlivesleftnut wrote:I think they may be what I got. It had all kinds of things like, "(car radio buzzes)"... but I give not a shit.

Did yours have any granularity issues?


Yeah, for $5 buck I might not have cared 'bout the "(car radio buzzes)" either but, no fuck that, it drove me crazy! If it eventually drives you batty as well (though that doesn't seem to be the case)...

http://recp.rm05.net/servlet/SignUpForm?f=2318

No granularity issues to report though.
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Postby TonyWilson on Sun Sep 11, 2005 3:53 pm

I got "The Saddest Music In The World" for 4.99 at HMV. What a bargain!! I loved that film but would probably never have bought it full price or bothered to rent. Anyone else like it?
Elitism is positing that your taste is equivalent to quality, you hate "Hamlet" does it make it "bad"? If you think so, you're one elite motherfucker.
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Postby burlivesleftnut on Sun Sep 11, 2005 3:55 pm

It's Five Dollar Theater. Not Five Pound Theatre. Five Pounds is like a week's wages for Americans now.
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Postby TonyWilson on Sun Sep 11, 2005 3:59 pm

Ok Burl you are right. But if I'm going to buy ANYTHING for 5 dollars I better head off to the "everythings a pound store" and hope they have a sale on.
Elitism is positing that your taste is equivalent to quality, you hate "Hamlet" does it make it "bad"? If you think so, you're one elite motherfucker.
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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Sun Sep 11, 2005 4:04 pm

TonyWilson wrote:I got "The Saddest Music In The World" for 4.99 at HMV. What a bargain!! I loved that film but would probably never have bought it full price or bothered to rent. Anyone else like it?


Tried to. But getting bake-oed and watching that film at 4:00am after work was a bad idea. Made it maybe a half hour in and promptly fell asleep. Maybe I'll try it again sometime (but not that late at night).
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Postby burlivesleftnut on Tue Nov 01, 2005 12:59 pm

I recently was startled to find a new copy of Swamp Thing (1982) on Amazon.com for $5.00. It was through one of their secondary vendors, but considering the movie was a favorite of mine from childhood, I jumped at the chance and bought it.

The movie concerns an FBI agent played with gusto by the busto Adrienne Barbeau. Cable has been assigned to cover security for a swampy laboratory run by Dr. Alec Holland. Holland and his sister have been studying a way to genetically modify plants so that they can survive in the harshest conditions. It isn't long before the despicable Anton Arcane comes calling with plans to steal the formulas secrets for his own twisted purpose. During this raid, Holland accidentally gets exposed to his own formula and eventually bellyflops into the murky swamp. As Cable races to protect Hollands formula, she finds he has a new leafy friend and guardian to protect her along the way.

I used to love reading the DC Swamp Thing as a kid. The stories were always dark, forboding and seemingly set in a part of the south I had known farely well. Weirdly enough, I don't remember much about the comic book version. The only image that sticks in my head is of Swamp Thing hung on a meat hook in some icy refrigerated warehouse. I don't remember having any expectations about the movie version at the time, but I remember because I read about it in Fangoria that it was probably going to be scary.

Amazingly, despite some clunky action beats, the movie holds up very well. In fact, you could almost edit out every major fight, except the last one and end up with a relatively effective southern gothic monster flick. A couple of things really stand out in that regard. First, Holland (as played by Ray Wise) is pretty convincing in his scientific pursuit. Sure, it's all comic book science, but the ideas are fascinating. Early in the film Holland doses an orchid with his special formula and within minutes the plant has grown in size and stature. Later in the film, after Holland's tragic transformation into Swamp Thing, he revisits his burnt out husk of a lab to find that the orchid not only survived a fire, but is actually become even larger and more beautiful. I was surprised that the film was filled with so many thoughtful moments. I guess I could credit this to Wes Craven, who has the ability to be an insightful and intelligent film maker, even if for the most part, he never lives up to his potential.

Acting wise, the movie is a mixed bag. Barbeau has such an earthy sharpness too her that you forget about her ridiculous hair. She plays Cable with a toughness that seemed to be a rareity in 1982. If the odds had been more evenly stacked, I imagine Cable not ever needing Swamp Things assistance at all. Louis Jordan is all at once over the top, but delightfully appropriate as Arcane. I love characters who exhibit such casual villainy. I especially love the characters decision to celebrate acquiring Holland's formula by throwing a wicked decandent dinner party with Barbeau tied to a chair next to him while revellers carry on all around them. The scene is creepy... and gets creepier when Arcan decides to test the formula on an unsuspecting lacky. Speaking of lackies... they are all uniformly lame actors. I wouldn't be surprised if you watched this in a double feature with Day of the Dead to see the army men were the same dudes.

The biggest mistake in filming Swamp Thing was to include so many action sequences that really make little sense. Swamp Thing is kind of treated like a swamped up versoion of Superman. He stops cars, throws men through the air and at one point even commandeers a boat (wtf). The boat scene in particular seemed to last ten thousand hellish years. The final moments of the film, where Swamp Thing fights a souped up version of Arcane is pretty fucking crappy, but at least provides a minimum level of suspense.

I will admit because of my love for the movie as a kid, I am probably seeing it as better than it really is, but I did have a good time with the film, and unlike some Five Dollars films, I wouldn't be ashamed to show this one to my friends. And, this will certainly be a film I will enjoy watching every couple of years.

The transfer to DVD is extremely well done. The movie was beautifully shot by Robbie Greenberg. The blocking is not all that interesting, but the photography never lets you down. The swamps are all richly detailed and full of color and life. I watched this on a shit system, so I can't comment on the sound other: I did hear it. So I guess they got something right. No extras.
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Postby DinoDeLaurentiis on Tue Nov 01, 2005 2:39 pm

burlivesleftnut wrote:If the odds had been more evenly stacked, I imagine Cable not ever needing Swamp Things assistance at all.


More evenly stacked?? Holy crappa, I dinna think you could a get a more evenly stacked than a Barbeau inna the early 80s!!
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Postby burlivesleftnut on Tue Nov 01, 2005 2:50 pm

HAHA
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Postby DinoDeLaurentiis on Tue Nov 01, 2005 2:57 pm

Iffa you wanna to check outta some of a the cheap movies, then a you can a buy a the Hammer Horror Collection for about a the $20, eh? It's got 8 films inna the set... that's a like a what... $2.50 a film? You get a the Evil of a the Frankenstein (#3 inna the series), Brides of a the Dracula (#2 inna the series), Curse of a the Werewolf, the Phantom of a the Opera as a the 4 biggies, anna then a you get a some lesser-known but entertaining movies like a the Paranoiac, Night Creatures, Kiss of a the Vampire, anna Nightmare.

Alla good stuff... they donna make a the movies like a that anymore, eh?
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Postby burlivesleftnut on Tue Nov 01, 2005 3:02 pm

DinoDeLaurentiis wrote:Iffa you wanna to check outta some of a the cheap movies, then a you can a buy a the Hammer Horror Collection for about a the $20, eh? It's got 8 films inna the set... that's a like a what... $2.50 a film? You get a the Evil of a the Frankenstein (#3 inna the series), Brides of a the Dracula (#2 inna the series), Curse of a the Werewolf, the Phantom of a the Opera as a the 4 biggies, anna then a you get a some lesser-known but entertaining movies like a the Paranoiac, Night Creatures, Kiss of a the Vampire, anna Nightmare.

Alla good stuff... they donna make a the movies like a that anymore, eh?


I won't tell you how to put a man in a monkey suit, and you don't tell me how to find my $5.00 movies.

To be honest, I was never that into Hammer Horror. The movies were fine, but they were never my thing.
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