Remember when I mentioned winning an eBay auction while stuck in traffic on the way to Charleston, SC? Well, here it is … Duran Duran’s Into the Area Board Game (released in 1985 by Milton Bradley). As you can tell by the graphics, this was released to coincide with the Arena live album and the Arena (An Absurd Notion) concert video. One of the super cool things about the game is that it’s graphics were designed by Assorted iMaGes (who had been doing all the designs for Duran Duran releases at that point).
I didn’t even realize there was a Duran Duran board game until I ran across a mention of it about a year ago. Since then I have been trying to find a reasonably priced copy. And, thanks to eBay, I scored a copy for just a little over $40 shipped. YES! Now I just need to find some friends to play it with.
I also won an auction for a VHS of the Duran Duran video album. It contains the first 11 Duran Duran videos and was released in 1983 on Beta video, CED videodisc, LaserDisc, VHD disc, and VHS. I rented this A LOT from one of the local video stores (of which I can’t remember the name) back in the day. It’s a bit of a bummer that this hasn’t made its way on to DVD. The Greatest DVD release from 2004 has all these videos but it’s not quite the same as all the videos are viewed one at a time with breaks between them. The Duran Duran release has the 11 videos cleverly edited together for a continuous viewing experience.
The 40th anniversary of the Star Wars this week is a bittersweet thing for me. Sweet because of growing up with the original Star Wars movies. Bitter because George Lucas is an fucking egomaniac that severely damaged his own creation. I won’t get started on a full on anti-Lucas rant as that could last for days. Suffice it to say that I have a love/hate relationship with Lucas’ creation. I wish it were all love. Here’s to hoping that Disney will pull off a DVD/Blu-ray release of the theatrical versions of the original trilogy. And here’s to hoping that we won’t have to wait until the 50th anniversary for it as my LaserDiscs need to be put to bed.
Today was the big day with the movie version of the musical “Les Misérables” hitting theaters … and, in my humble opinion, it’s a pretty miserable experience.
I place the blame firmly at the feet of the director, Tom Hooper. Material like “Les Misérables” doesn’t need hand held camerawork. It’s distracting. Also distracting is that for 80% of the movie the camera is shoved right in the actor’s faces (see above example). Whole songs are filmed like this with the camera rarely cutting away and constantly bobbing, weaving and swinging as the actors move and perform. The only time this technique really works is for “I Dreamed a Dream” … which isn’t quite as show stopping as I thought it was going to be (because all the reviews have already beat it into the ground about how show stopping it is). Canted angles also litter the film for some reason and I would be hard pressed to tell you why. It really serves no purpose. Hooper also films the big group numbers very badly with “Master of the House” being the most notable mess (along with “Lovely Ladies” and “ABC Café/Red and Black”). When our young lovers finally meet, he won’t even give us the satisfaction of showing them in the same frame, opting instead to cut back and forth between them in close up. Apparently, Hooper doesn’t believe in wide shots.
Acting-wise, the film is merely okay. Hugh Jackman works fine for part of Valjean but is occasionally shrill and sometimes off pitch. I couldn’t wait for him to stop singing “Bring Him Home.” Russell Crow is totally out of place as Javert. His acting is fine … but his singing is the real killer. I didn’t particularly care for Sasha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Cater as the Thénardiers. Maybe I would have like them better if they hadn’t been played for such obvious, in-your-face, stupid comic relief. I think the characters are actually supposed to be pretty vile, not pretty funny. Anne Hathaway comes off best of the bunch … but I suspect I was less impressed than I should have been with her because of built up expectations from pre-opening press.
I am sure my opinion will be in the minority. I suspect a lot of people of going to love it just for the mere fact that “Les Misérables” is finally on film … and that’s a shame. There’s a good movie in there somewhere and the right director could have made it shine. Instead we get treated to an “in your face” film experience which comes off as very overdone.
The ending of October means that another MonsterFest in the wilds of North Florida has come and gone. Dr. Phibes and Co. hosted an excellent few days away … as always. We seem to be getting lazier and lazier about getting out of their house … but that’s fine by me. Beer + Horror Movies + Good Friends = Happy Chas.
Here’s what we watched …
“The Silent Scream” (Hammer House of Horror)
“Island of Lost Souls”
“Cabin in the Woods”
“Final Destination 5”
“Trick ‘R Treat”
“The Fog” (1980)
“The Mask of Fu Manchu”
“Murders in the Zoo”
“The Walking Dead” Season Three, Episode Three
“Le Strega” (Thriller)
“King Nine Will Not Return” (The Twilight Zone)
“The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires”
“The Old Dark House” (1932)
“The Zanti Misfits” (The Outer Limits)
“What’s the Matter with Helen”
“The Children of the Full Moon” (Hammer House of Horror)
I gotta say I was totally taken with “Grizzly.” It’s a total “Jaws” rip off but had enough cheese factor going on to make it tons of fun. And I am totally jealous of Dr. Phibes copy of the “Universal Cult Horror Collection” that we watched “Murders in the Zoo” out of. It’s OOP and costs a pretty penny now. Bummer!
Recently, I watched a couple of Douglas Sirk‘s movies that starred Rock Hudson. Man-oh-man was he handsome! I am particularly fond of “All That Heaven Allows,” a great melodrama about a romance between two people from different social classes.
And now for some more eye candy … Rock Hudson with a beard!
When the boyfriend got his fancy 3-D television, I was gave him some shit about the silliness of the whole thing. He had to buy the 3-D television, the 3-D Blu-ray player and the 3-D glasses. That’s a lot of money to shell out. But after viewing some 3-D Blu-rays, I gotta say it’s pretty cool.
After months and months of trying to find the two out-of-print Criterion titles I wanted the most … I found them! And in the space of about a month too. I am now the proud owner of their editions of “Ran” (new and still sealed) on DVD and “The Man Who Fell to Earth” on Blu-ray. I paid more for “Ran” than I really wanted to. But, I was surprised to find “The Man Who Fell to Earth” on half.com for under $50. It has been selling for upwards of $100+ for a used copies on eBay and even more for new copies on Amazon.
One of my daily routines had become checking various sites for cheap copies of these Criterion editions. With them now in my greedy, consumerist hands … I gotta say that life has felt a little like it’s lost some of it purpose. Now what can I hunt down and buy? Heh.