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The truth about teens.
Last Movies Watched
Kamikaze Girls (2004)
Karaoke Update 2016
Sang "Soramimi Cake" by Oranges & Lemons at A-KON 27 karaoke on June 4th. Yes, the opening theme from "Azamanga Daioh." (2002- )
Messed up a little, but it was mostly successful.
Next Crazy Project
At Project A-KON 2017, I'm going to sing "Penny Lane" at karaoke. In Japanese. Since I don't speak Japanese, it qualifies as a crazy project.
Not available on DVD (dagnabit!). Worth checking out, even if you have to watch it in parts on YouTube.
Valerie a týden divu (1970)
My Netflix Adventure Turns Out Well
Often I get things I've wanted to see for some time, but for one reason or another never did. Or something I've seen before, but it was a long time ago, and I'd like to see again. Especially if there are DVD extras I HAVEN'T seen.
Sometimes, though, I like to get something I've never heard of, something which the blurb makes sound interesting, something which seems like it *might* be the sort of thing I might like, but which is a bit of a risk. Sometimes this results in my mailbox sagging from the dead weight of a real clunker, and I find myself wishing I hadn't been so adventurous.
But sometimes I wind up seeing something like _Valerie and Her Week of Wonders_, and I'm glad that I *was* adventurous. This easily makes up for the last clunker, no, for the last TWO clunkers I got in red envelopes.
Is Valerie dreaming? For somebody being burned at the stake, this barely-teen seems rather unconcerned. Is her father a dead bishop, a vampire, or the Weasel? Or is the vampire a bishop? Or is the bishop the Weasel? Is Eagle her boyfriend? Her brother? Is her mother not really dead, or is it that her cousin? How did she know that her cousin is actually...
Can Valerie evade lusty priests, incest which maybe isn't, and beware the Weasel? Can the girl ever get a good night's sleep? Or is she getting exactly that, now?
Leidenschaftliche Blümchen (1978)
Not a great movie, but fun.
The movie is one of those soft-core European things, and nobody would remember it today if it weren't for the fact that Nastassja Kinski is the star. The film was originally released in West Germany as Leidenschaftliche Blümchen, and has been shown under such titles as Passion Flower Hotel, Pretty School Girls, and Boarding School, which is how it is listed at IMDb and is the title it had when I saw it on late-night Cinemax (or was it Showtime? HBO?) back in the late 80s. Also has Fabiana Udenio who played "Alotta Fagina" in the first Austin Powers movie.
In this movie, a group of students at an exclusive girls' boarding school become prostitutes. Well, sort of. They all want to lose their virginity, and when the new girl (Kinski) shows up and she isn't a virgin, she becomes the ringleader. She doesn't bother to tell them that her vast sexual experience consists of one, count it one time.
There is a boys' school on the other side of the lake. Instead of doing the logical thing, i.e. contacting the boys to let them know that there is a near-by bevy of virgins in desperate need of deflowering, they decide they have to present themselves to the boys as being very experienced indeed, all of them. And who is more sexually experienced than a prostitute? So prostitutes they become, designating the boathouse as their brothel and buying lingerie and lanterns and costumes and such. The only reason they charge any money is because they'd be rather unconvincing prostitutes if they didn't.
It all sounds very naughty, and the fact that the opening shot is of a barely-legal teenage tit doesn't make it seem any less so. But the movie is more sweet and funny than sleazy, and one can't help but chuckle at how difficult it is for anybody to get laid when everybody is so very, very willing. It is available on DVD in a package deal called "Hollywood Hotties," paired with Kill Cruise and Choices, two other movies nobody would remember if not for their soon-to-be-famous stars (Elizabeth Hurley and Demi Moore, respectively). Fabiana Udenio was about fourteen when Boarding School was made, but she stays covered up enough just enough.
One thing I find interesting is that the girls become prostitutes not because they want the *money,* but because they want the *status.* Not as much nudity as I remember; I guess I was easier to impress at nineteen.
Princess of Mars (2009)
Compare apples to apples.
OK, gonna tell you what I think of it. May contain spoilers.
First off, it always bugs me when people compare movies of utterly different types. You don't go and compare Porky's to Citizen Kane or It's a Wonderful Life. No no no no no no NO! You compare Porky's to Fast Times at Ridgemont High or Losing It or at most to Sixteen Candles.
So in that spirit, I'm NOT going to compare The Asylum's Princess of Mars to Star Wars or The Lord of the Rings. No, I'm going to compare it to the Amicus At the Earth's Core or a couple of the more recent Tarzans. Also, I'm going to tell you WHY I think it is better or worse, and in what ways. So here we go.
Overall Faithfulness: about the same as At the Earth's Core, better than some of the Tarzan movies we've all seen. It's been so long since I saw the Amicus versions of The Land That Time Forgot or The People That Time Forgot (and I've not seen the Asylum version of Land) that I can't speak for them. The GF and I hope to see Amicus Land before the end of February.
Antonio Saboto, Jr.: OK I guess. He looks the part as much as does Taylor Kitsch, and more than some of the guys that've played Tarzan over the years. Well, except for the tattoos, but since they "modernized" it and made John Carter a GI serving in Afghanistan, I guess the tats fit the character.
Tracy Lords: Here I find that I must try to put aside my personal dislike for Lords, and I'm not sure that I'm succeeding. Consider that your ration of salt as you read the rest of this. About a decade and a half ago, I suggested Heather Hunter for the role of Dejah Thoris. I was at least half joking, of course: nobody's going to cast a porn star, or even a former porn star, in that role. Well, I stand corrected, and oh HOW I wish that Hunter had been tapped for the role instead. While she's only one year younger, the years have been kinder to her, and she's just better looking and doesn't have Lords' scandalous baggage. Lords is very severe-looking at all times in this film, and she looks like she'd rather be doing something else. I don't know why they couldn't have left out a couple of giant spiders and bought Lords some hair dye. I don't expect red skin, not on this budget, but really: a blonde Dejah Thoris? All of that said, whoever wrote the character had read the book, and even such things as "my princess" are skimmed over, instead of just left out. It is a bother that people in the film keep calling her the "princess of Mars," even though she does mention Helium. I suspect though that Lords' best work remains illegal.
Matt Lasky: I've really got mixed feelings about this one. He was a better Tars Tarkas than I was expecting. Not that he was that good, but considering what he had to work with, he did OK. Which leads me to...
The Tharks: Two arms, not that tall. It would've taken more budget to make them taller and four-armed, using a costume worn by two men. Enough more that the movie wouldn't've been made, or if made, would not have been profitable. So OK, the Tharks are two-armed in this movie. The masks weren't some generic alien or monster, but were green, inhumanly shaped, and had tusks. So they were deliberately made as Thark masks. They were certainly better than the Mahar costumes in At the Earth's Core, and maybe as good as the Sleestak costumes in the original The Land of the Lost. Not as good as the costumes in Planet of the Apes (1968 or 2001), but again, at this budget I don't expect that.
Chacko Vadaketh: I do not like what they did with the character of Sab Than. I guess they felt that JC needed another Earthman to challenge him. No no no. The way you challenge John Carter is to send a BUNCH of guys against him.
Action: There is one, count it ONE sword fight in the whole movie. One sword fight in a Barsoom movie? We do get some super-jumping, from both John Carter and from Sab Than (in the Names of my Ancestors, why?!). There are gun fights against an airship and against spiders, big ones.
Setting: OK I guess. It looked otherworldly, and I even noted two moons in the sky ONCE, though maybe I blinked the other time. The Tharks hung out in rocky badlands instead of ruined cities, but again: budget. How much do ruined cities go for these days? The atmosphere factory was OK. We never see Helium. Or Zodanga.
I have to say that, if I knew nothing of this movie and happened to run across it, and it had been called something else and the names were all different, I would still have known exactly what it was based on. Overall, I'd say it's about as good (and about as bad) as At the Earth's Core.
And by the way, isn't it about time somebody did a big-budget remake of THAT?
Young Lady Chatterley (1977)
Not the first soft-core I saw, but one of the best.
I have enjoyed a few of the European soft-core movies, like _Boarding School_ with Natasha Kinski. They manage to be sexy without the whole "we have to make sex dirty, vulgar, and immature" thing that all too many American soft-core movies have. _Porky's_, anybody? Well, this movie is American, and it manages to have that same vibe I've enjoyed from our friends across the Pond. The story actually exists, and while it isn't one of those multi-faceted stretch-the-brain plot lines, it is a plot line. The sex is more playful than vulgar, and sometimes it's even sweet. Yeah, I said sweet.
I gave it eight stars instead of seven, because another reviewer took a star away for the bathtub scene between Cynthia and Jeanette. I happen to LIKE that scene, so I put a star back for it. I love the way Jeanette sees right through Cynthia's attempt to be a snob and resolves the problem through pleasure. That Jeanette just radiates sexual heat.
Kyûteî Hanî Flash (1997)
The original show, in 1973, set the stage for all the action-oriented magic girls to follow. If there hadn't been a _Cutey Honey_, there probably would never have been a _Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon_.
But there was a _Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon_, and when it ended, something had to fill that time slot. So they got together some of the same people who had made Sailor Moon such a success, and did a brand new Cutey Honey series. This new CH series takes a lot of things from the Sailor Moon mythos, including a mysterious handsome guy with a flower! So: _Cutey Honey_ (1973) sets the stage, leading eventually to _Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon_ - Sailor Moon makes mahou shoujo hugely popular - the new series _Cutey Honey Flash_ emulates Sailor Moon in many ways.
Kyûteî Hanî: The Live (2007)
Another incarnation of the Lovely Warrior: Cutey Honey
First off, a confession: I've only seen a few episodes of this so far. With that out of the way:
Our mechanical angel of justice is a bit more ditsy in this version, or maybe naive would be a better word. Very different than the version in _Shin Cutey Honey_ or _Cutie Honey Flash_ or even the 1973 series.
Mikie Hara, the actress who plays the gorgeous android (the opening credits make it clear that's what she is, so this is hardly a spoiler), is not only super-cute (which any actress taking on this role had better be), but plays the role with a joy that is a delight to watch. Particularly some of the fight scenes, while a bit silly, show how much Honey enjoys her calling.
The exception, of course, are those fight scenes that end the first several episodes, in which we watch her get kicked around for five minutes straight. I understand that the hero has to take a few whacks so we can tell that she is truly overcoming an adversity. I agree that things can't be too easy, or else how do we see that she's a hero instead of a bully? But it gets to be a bit much.
There is a little nudity in this, unfortunately I haven't seen any from Mikie Hara herself. Maybe she shows us the goodies in later eps, but I'm not holding my breath. Still, she is the beautiful transforming android who fights for love and justice, and if you've liked other incarnations of the character, you should check this one out.
The Blue Lagoon (1980)
Beautiful Movie -- Wonderful Story
This movie was one I had to beg Mom to let me watch, but after she saw it, she had no problem with it. I was fourteen years old at the time, and am forty-one now. I recently showed it to my niece (15 yo) and my nephew (17 yo). They both enjoyed it. When I told my niece that some people had complained that "they talk like they're eight years old," she remarked, "Well duh!" I have to agree: well duh. How else were Richard and Emmeline going to talk? They'd been alone together on that island since they were eight years old. To answer a few common questions: Yes, the movie has a lot of nudity. More than I had remembered. It's so natural and not in any way vulgar or tawdry. It's just as it should be. No, they are not brother and sister. Seeing as how Richard refers to Mr. Lestrange as "Father" and Em calls him "Uncle Arthur," I don't see where this sibling idea came from. Yes, they are (probably) cousins. First, second, or kissing cousins we don't know. It's possible they aren't actually related at all. And here's the big spoiler, not just for this movie but for the sequel... NO, they do not die at the end. Lestrange asks "Are they dead?" and is told "No sir, they are asleep." This is the same as the book. However, in _Return to the Blue Lagoon_, they are in fact dead and only the baby survives. This is also the same as the (second) book. The second movie (and book) changes the ending of the first movie (and book). In THIS movie, they are alive at the end.
Beautiful in any language.
OK, a few things. Everybody talks about Playboy and yes, she did pose. So what. Her Playboy pictures are beautiful. SHE'S beautiful, in or out of clothes. Besides, anybody with children of her own has had full-on sex, and we don't ban parents from hosting kids' shows. Yeah, her English could've been better. Then again, some characters marketed to children don't speak at all, or speak in beeps and squawks. You try to learn a language in less than a year and host a TV show. Finally, let's not forget that this woman's show was a hit in multiple countries simultaneously and that she has had a lot of hit songs, Ilarié having charted in six nations and reaching #1 in four. Finally, she is the one person most responsible for bringing universal immunization to the children of Brazil.
Sorry if I come across as defensive, but a lot of the reviews here seem to have no respect for this wonderful human being.
The Boys from Brazil (1978)
So much better than any other movie I've seen involving *****s
Ready for the spoiler?
Clones. This movie has clones in it.
Now I'm sure you're saying "we KNOW that, silly," but you really aren't supposed to, so just in case you are one of the nine people in the world planning to see this who didn't know, you should stop reading now, and try to forget what you've read already.
Since at least the 1970's, whenever the subject of human cloning would come up, someone would always ask, "But, but what if somebody cloned Hitler!?" Well, what if somebody cloned Hitler? In typical Hollywood (or television) style, what would happen is that somebody would put a drop of Hitler's blood, or a lock of his hair, or whatever, into the cloning machine, which would then flash a lot of lights and make noises: whooooo, whoooo, Whooo, WOOT! And Adolf Hitler, full grown, would step out of the machine, complete with mustache, German accent, and all of his memories and twisted personality. He would immediately start to give a speech about conquering ze vorld (but would probably speak English). An episode of Wonder Woman did it exactly that way.
Of course, what would really happen if somebody cloned Hitler is that somebody would find himself having to care for a baby, a baby boy who, as he grew up, would have none of Hitler's experiences. A boy who would probably grow up to be an ordinary guy.
The Boys From Brazil recognizes this, and shows Josef Mengele (Gregory Peck cast utterly against type) trying very hard to duplicate Der Führer's upbringing. No whoo whoo WOOT here. Altogether the best cloning movie I have ever seen.
Shin Kyûteî Hanî (1994)
This is good stuff. Superhero action, buckets full of T&A, good dubbing (really!), humor, Christian allegory, and it hearkens back to the original _Cutey Honey_ series from 1973. Cutey Honey is important. Honey was the first transforming magic girl, and the first crime-fighting magic girl. Cutey Honey made Sailor Moon possible.
About that allegory: yes, I mean it. The original flesh-and-blood Honey died, and her father brought her back as an android: resurrected in a glorified body. As an android, Honey is manufactured, a form of virgin birth. She spends a lot of time with two thieves. By the second ep, she's hanging on a cross. There's more, so check it out.
Oh, and there's no sex in this. Loads of nudity, but no sex.
I only gave it seven stars, though, because it ends without being finished.
Kyûteî Hanî (1973)
Really pushing the envelope
For 1973, to have something this sexy was quite a deal. Not sure this would air unedited in America today. It turned out to be too much for the Japanese, where it was pulled after 25 eps. Still, it had a fanbase that refused to let it go, so Nagai later gave us Shin Cutey Honey, Cutey Honey Flash, the live-action Cutie Honey movie, and something called re: Cutie Honey. More recently still, there is Cutie Honey: The Live, a live-action television series.
And that isn't counting the manga, such as the latest Cutey Honey: Legend of an Angel.
She seems to have more powers and gadgetry in this, the original 1973 series, than in Shin Cutey Honey, but isn't as powerful as in the live-action movie. Still, her main power is that she can change into a chef, a ninja, a jet pilot, a rock star, etc.
While Christian imagery abounds in this series (stained glass, Madonna and child paintings and statues, crosses), I don't see the same level of allegory in this series as in the later Shin, in which Honey is obviously meant as a Christ-figure (she has no sin nature and spends a lot of time with two thieves).
All incarnations of Cutey Honey that I have seen to date are worth checking out.
L5: First City in Space (1996)
This is not an action movie... and that's OK!
Today, most if not all science fiction movies are in fact action movies with science fiction elements. Thus _Men in Black_ is an action movie with aliens, _I, Robot_ is an action movie with robots, and so on. There's really no reason a science fiction movie couldn't be a slapstick comedy in an undersea colony, a tear-jerker romantic tragedy on the moon, or an intellectual puzzler with robots. But no, so many SF movies are action thrillers that many people seem not to realize that they can be anything else.
This brings me to _L5: First City in Space_. This is the story of a city in space (the first, in case the title wasn't enough of a clue) which is running low on water. The story is mostly from the point of view of Keiko, an adorable little girl. The basic storyline has been well described by ian-woollard and mikecombs, who seem to have actually paid attention while watching the movie. I will add only that there are no laser battles, no homicidal maniac robots (or homicidal maniac anything else), and no martial arts. Again: THIS IS NOT AN ACTION MOVIE!
Don't get me wrong, I like sci-fi actioners. I really hope that Jackie Chan gets the chance to do his thing in zero-G before he dies or retires. But this isn't the movie for it. This is the movie for adorable little girls and brave scientists and engineers who undertake risky but not flashy missions for the sake of the city their family lives in. The science is (mostly) good, the story (mostly) plausible, and did I mention that Keiko is adorable?
OK, time for my gripe against this movie, aka the reason I didn't give it a 9 or 10. Here also is this comment's spoiler. After the water is secured, Daddy is alive, and Keiko has grown up to be mayor of L5, they have finally built another city. Yeah. One more. In thirty years. According to the NASA/Ames study the makers of this film used for reference, the time for one city to build another was three years, not thirty. Even if we assume that for some reason (politics, scarce water, whatever) it takes five years, this still means that five years after the First City in Space, there would be the Second City in Space, and over the next five years they would EACH build another, for a total of four. In five more years there would be eight, five years later sixteen, then thirty-two, then sixty-four. That's thirty years. So the final shot shouldn't have been two glorious cities side by side, but somewhere from sixty-four to ONE THOUSAND TWENTY-FOUR glorious cities (the 1024 number is thirty years of growth with a three-year doubling time).
Oh, and they should've been making satellite solar power stations.