Twin Peaks 7
A show I'd heard so much about from many of you and finally watched it. Final verdict is that it's good but not great. I dunno. It's not the overhyping that got in the way; more of the shows inability to keep my attention in the second season's new storyline. Billy and Jason already know how I feel about the last episode, but before that, I had a feeling the shows management just got all screwey. Just so many good questions given no answers. Why'd they forget about the owls after season one? If Earl's "mind is like a diamond" how'd he get outsmarted so easily? On and on. I know about the rating troubles the show had and I almost wish I didn't watch the second season, but the characters are the real focus and they're all pretty interesting or entertaining. I loved Albert's emotive monologue with Harry and how it was covered with his douche-ness so well. I love a gov't agent that likes pie and has a sense of humor about his job (more on that in the show below). I love the song "Just You", the opening theme and the guitar variation of said theme. I love how the camera always pans up from Audrey's legs even though she has cankles and her face is her selling point. I loved Nadine, who had the BEST mental disorder ever (seriously--you could get hit on the head and turn into Lee Perry and it would only be half this awesome). I loved that the show sets up good cliffhangers. I loved that the show made me care about its characters, but hated how it disposed of them so easily toward the end (do Sarah and Ronette even appear more than once in S2?). All in all, thanks for the rec, guys.
Kindred: The Embraced 6
This is the early 90s TV adaptation of the roleplaying game Vampire: The Masquerade. I'd always shied away from it as I heard about the inconsistencies between book and script and how it was canceled before anything significant happened. What I found supported my worries but at the same time there was a great show waiting to grow here. Canceled after just 8 episodes (and even less aired), I can understand why. Mostly, they fucked up hard on the pilot. I've thought a lot about this and discussed it with a fellow gamer and really feel this is why the show died so early. We aren't given enough information (and I understand why—they were scared the mythos was too large a turn off) early on about the clans, and more specifically the Masquerade itself. There's no tension for the viewer when it's broken, and the repercussions often seem unwarranted to the uninitiated (which, for a Pilot, must assume everyone is). The entire thing should've been narrated by the Prince and the pilot should've gone farther back in history (maybe even to Caine?), maybe in a Fellowship of the Ring-type opening, so that foundations for characters can be built (and for this show, sadly, they weren't). The Masquerade itself isn't delved into deep enough (and is GLARINGLY broken several times to send info the the audience—a minor flaw, in retrospect) and some of the most bland clans of the table top game (*cough*Brujah*cough*) become even more snore-inducing on screen. The whole vampires-can-day-walk bullshit didn't actually bother me; I understand they had limited funds and just as few excuses to change the mythos, but it doesn't hurt the overall story. Our cookie cutter cop protagonist (C. Thomas Howell) could've been left out all together. I understand the human element is needed but therein lies the core of the show, and the only reason I feel bittersweet about this show: Mark Frankel. The only good actor the show had; the only force to reckon with (and it needed to be Julian) from a character perspective. The rumor Frankel's violent death is what lead the show to it's own demise is false, but had it been brought back it wouldn't have lasted long. Time will tell how much White Wolf will lend out its name to other forms of entertainment, and when they do it'll surely be the utterly shitty New World of Darkness and I'll pop these DVDs back in and wonder what could've been.
The Hidden Fortress 8
Why did I wait so long? Probably the last of Kurosawa's samurai flicks I hadn't seen. Great swashbuckling and of course those two iconic characters Lucas appropriated behind Mifune's usual great acting. Get on it.
Little Norse Prince Valiant 4
Earliest Takahata I've seen and definitely the worst. The story is convoluted, the FX are lame even for animated standards of the 60s and the dubbing is barely on par with Sanrio. Skip this.
Umberto D. 8
I didn't understand what I was watching until the last scene. Then I wanted to cry. Now I want to rewatch this and every other DeSica film.
MST's: Devil Doll, Devil Fish, Soultaker, Ring of Terror, Wild World of Batwoman, The Phantom Planet, Secret Agent Super Dragon, Santa Claus (Mex), Racket Girls
Rifftrax: Cloverfield, Casino Royale, Predator, Jurassic Park (rewatch), Harry Potter 5, The Last Airbender, Clash of the Titans, xXx, Batman & Robin, Transformers, Roadhouse (on deck)