Navy Film Review #1: Alice In The Navy (1961, dir. Alekos Sakellarios)


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Recently, Michelle of Michelle, Books and Movies Addict nominated me for one of those blogging awards. I’ve blogged off and on since 2008 so I’ve done blogging awards, blogging associations, blogathons, etc. That’s why I really like writing here cause I don’t have to deal with any of that. I can just write. However, I told Michelle that I would review 10 Navy related movies. I thought that would be fun given that she was once in the Navy. So of course that means I start with this 1961 Greek comedy. How was I so lucky to come across this as the first movie?

It’s about a girl who falls in love with a sailor, follows him aboard ship, and needs to be hidden as a male sailor from her father who captains the ship. I know this doesn’t sound very realistic, but Michelle has assured me this once happened on a ship she was aboard (sarcasm). The difference was by the time she was in the Navy sailors had stopped breaking into random and pointless musical numbers. Speaking of musical numbers, this is one of those foreign musicals that doesn’t bother to subtitle the singing. They dub the dialogue, but I have no idea what they are singing. Can you imagine watching Singin’ In The Rain (1952) without knowing what they are singing about? Anyways, the movie opens up on a beach ball in the water.

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Then we see a ship come along and pick it up. This ticks off a girl in another boat. This is Alice or Aliki (Aliki Vougiouklaki) depending on which version you are watching.

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As you can see, she’s not happy about having her ball taken by the other ship. She jumps in the water and swims to the other ship. The guy there decides to play a pirate since she’s already called him one. But really, was it necessary to nearly bonk the guy on the head with the boom mic?

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The boom mic has been dropping in a lot of the movies I’ve watched lately. However, to be fair, none of them have beaten The Explosive Generation (1961) in that department.

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And that boom mic moves from the upper right to the center of the classroom, then droops down even further. But back to Alice In The Navy because it’s time for Alice to sing while riding a donkey.

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I have no idea why, but then again I didn’t know why there needed to be music in the Bollywood remake of Switch (1991) called Mr. Ya Miss (2005), but there is. And more importantly, why have I seen it? It was bad.

Well, a large portion of this movie can be summed up like this.

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Actress Aliki Vougiouklaki parades around in cute outfits.

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Alice and sailor boy keep looking for each other and occasionally do find each other.

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And the movie pads itself out with shots that don’t need to exist.

Wanna take a guess when the movie finally has Alice aboard the ship dressed as a sailor?

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It happens 60 minutes into this 90 minute movie. Not since I watched Programmed To Kill has a movie taken that long to finally get to the point. And once it does, it doesn’t matter because the remainder is music, trying to hide her by pretending one of the male sailors can do a natural female voice (which his superior buys he can do), and the boys trying to get her a dress to leave the boat wearing.

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This is all highly inaccurate. I can buy that male Greek sailors break out into song in Greek and speak dubbed English, but I can’t accept that any of them have done voice training to speak with female voices just for kicks.

Of course the father finally catches on and they get punished. By punished, I mean they get married.

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This movie was bad. It just seems to drag on forever before getting to the it’s main plot point where it does a little music and a little unfunny comedy before just ending. It felt like just an excuse to say: Hey! We got hot blonde girls here in Greece too! Take that France and that Bardot woman of yours.

There’s no reason to sit through this. I’m sure there must be better movies with Aliki Vougiouklaki in them. Apparently, she was quite popular in Greece.

Why I Think ERASERHEAD Sucks!


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Call me low-brow. Call me plebian. Call me a low-brow plebian. Hell, call me Ishmael if you want, I don’t care! I just don’t like ERASERHEAD. I’ve watched the film at least a half dozen times, thinking maybe I’m missing something. Nope. ERASERHEAD to me is a tedious piece of work with nothing to offer. Don’t misunderstand, I like most all of David Lynch’s work. I know this is his first feature, but the man is capable of giving us so much better. There’s TWIN PEAKS, BLUE VELVET, THE ELEPHANT MAN, MULHOLLAND DRIVE, DUNE….okay, maybe not DUNE. It’s not Lynch’s surrealistic style that bugs me so much as there’s nothing going on here.

As for the plot…there isn’t one. Alright, I hear you out there saying it’s an “art film”, it’s the director’s commentary on the alienation of the outsider in society, blah blah blah. But the theme of the societal outcast doesn’t…

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Film Review: Mom’s Outta Sight (1998, dir. Fred Olen Ray)


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For those of you keeping track, this is now the third movie with invisibility that I’ve reviewed for this site. Invisible Centerfolds was a late night cable movie. Invisible Sister was a Disney Channel Original Movie that for some reason included a scene of a girls pep squad giving each other massages (yes, I know that actually happens, but it shouldn’t have been in the movie). And now we have Mom’s Outta Sight directed by Peter Stewart. Yeah, you can even put a fake bio for that fake name on the DVD Fred Olen Ray…

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but we know it’s you. What is with this guy and making parents invisible? He also directed Invisible Mom (1996), Invisible Mom II (1999), and Invisible Dad (1998). In recent years he must have decided that it was enough with invisible parents so now pets must be invisible with Abner, the Invisible Dog (2013). Now he seems to have latched onto the Christmas movie craze. Given his roughly decade long commitment to making every movie possible with “Bikni” in the title, I guess Invisible Santa In A Teenie Weenie Bikini is just around the corner for Fred Olen Ray.

Mom’s Outta Sight is what happens when a king of the cash-in genre decides to cash in on the 90s family entertainment craze. That’s the same kind of thing that brought us those two stupid Skateboard Kid movies. Too bad I can’t write reviews that short anymore. So, here we go.

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The movie opens up and who cares what happens there. The movie revolves around this machine called the Triton. What does it do? Apparently, whatever is convenient for the movie. Seriously, one minute it’s transporting things from one place to another. Then it can rearrange someone’s molecules to turn them into another person, animal, or anything else. Suddenly, it can also turn someone invisible. This is a very handy device for screenwriters.

The guy on the left is a scientist that is being payed off to help some bad guys get the Triton. The girl in the middle is working with him and will be transformed into the guy (Hannes Jaenicke) on the right to help steal the plans for the Triton. So wait, Invisible Sister turned out to be a body swap comedy in disguise and this one is largely a gender body swap comedy. At least with this one, when she becomes him and acts like a female stereotype, she was already a female stereotype before the switch occurred.

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There are some kids and other people, but who cares. The only other person of consequence is Mom (Mary Elizabeth McGlynn).

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The bad guys plan is to turn that one lady into the Dad so that they can steal the Triton, blame it on the Dad, and get the plans at the same time. In other words, it’s this movie’s excuse for why the girl scientist needs to become a man instead of simply replacing the mom since she needs to become invisible and all. Well, she spends a bunch of time making an ass of herself as the Dad before people really catch on. Thank god Mom has that degree in fiber optics! No seriously. There’s a scene early in this movie where the Dad bitches about the fact that she’s chosen to spend her time raising the kids instead of also putting her degree she worked for to use. Also, they drop in that she was once a biker. Anyways, Mom knows what to do!

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That’s right! Make sure to screw it up so that she ends up invisible. Now Mom is on a mission! A mission that takes her past this.

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This actor gives the worst fake sneeze I have ever heard in a movie. While I’m talking about sound in this movie, throughout this thing it plays some of the most stock family friendly movie music I’ve heard in a while. I thought I was watching A Talking Cat!?! (2013). And if you haven’t suffered through that movie yet. Here’s the best of A Talking Cat!?!

Oh, and there’s a second one called A Talking Pony!?! David DeCoteau’s feminine side called Mary Crawford apparently likes making really bad animal movies. But getting back to this bad movie. Things come to a head pretty quick. All you need to know is that this giant rat…

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still looks better than CGI Splinter in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014). And it all ends like we expect. Well, yes, the movie does reference The Invisible Man with Claude Rains, Mom’s biker friends show up, and the bad guys are caught, but I mean this.

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That’s right! Mom turns the family into human cats.

Ugh, this was bad. Really bad. Stay away from this one. Now I’m going to have to review those other Fred Olen Ray movies with invisibility in them, aren’t I? Life sucks!

Lisa’s Editorial Corner: On Gunnar Hansen, Jack the Ripper, Stephen King, and the SBS


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Hi there!  Well, as of my birthday yesterday, I am now officially an adult.  What does that mean for this site?  Well, for the most part, it means that I’m going to be even more aggressive about giving my opinion.  After all, I’m an adult now.  Whatever I say matters, no matter how weird or random it may be!  In fact, I’m such an adult that I’m not even going to worry about proofreading these posts anymore.  Adults don’t have to worry abut makin typos.

So, what is Lisa’s editorial corner?  Well, it’s a new weekly feature where I talk about whatever caught my eye during the previous week.  Basically, it’s a way for me to embrace my inner know-it-all.  Fear not, I’m going to keep it entertainment-related.  You don’t have to worry about me using this feature to try to convince you to vote for Gary Johnson in 2016.  (At least not yet…)

For instance, I might use this feature to talk about Gunnar Hansen…

On Gunnar Hansen and Andrew Bryniarski

On November 7th, Gunnar Hansen passed away from pancreatic cancer.  He was 68 years old.  When I first heard the news, I was out with my friends in the SBS (and I’ll explain what that stands for at a more appropriate time) and we were celebrating my upcoming birthday.  I spent the day after that with my family and then it was Monday and it actually was my birthday and … well, long story short: I’ve only now gotten a chance to write about his passing on this site.  And I feel really guilty about that because Gunnar Hansen was an iconic figure in film history.

Who was Gunnar Hansen?  Well, you probably already know.  He was Leatherface in the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  Beyond that, he was also a teacher, a writer, an acclaimed poet, and reportedly one of the nicest guys that you could ever hope to meet.  I never met Gunnar but every story that I’ve ever heard about him — whether it was from someone who met him at a convention or someone who knew him outside of the world of horror fandom — has been a positive one.  As well, I’ve read many interviews with Hansen about the making of Texas Chainsaw and he always came across as being a very intelligent and well-spoken individual.

And it’s often overlooked just how good a performance that Hansen gives in Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  Hansen may have been cast because of his large frame and he may have had to perform underneath a mask but he still turned Leatherface into a genuine character.  It’s often overlooked that, out of the entire cannibal family, Leatherface is the only one who has any real responsibilities.  He’s just trying to prepare everyone’s dinner and he keeps getting interrupted!  No wonder he eventually ends up sitting down and slumping in frustration.

Now, upon until a few hours ago, I had absolutely no idea who Andrew Bryniarski was.  Do you know who he is?  Here’s a picture of him, with Gunnar Hansen:

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Gunnar is on the right.

Why are Andrew and Gunnar posing together?  Because Andrew played Leatherface in 2003 remake of Texas Chainsaw and in 2006’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning.

And here is what Andrew said on Facebook after several people tagged him in posts about Gunnar’s death:

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Seriously, Mr. Bryniarski?  Now, before you think that he “misspoke” or any of that, he went on to double down on his comments.  When someone pointed out that, if not for Gunnar, Bryniarski would have never played Leatherface, Bryniarski wrote back, “I played the role twice without him.”  Bryniraski then told another FB user to “suck Gunnar’s dead nutz.”

Seriously — what the Hell!?

For what it’s worth, Bryniarski has an official response to everyone who is upset with him.  You can check it out here.  As far as I can tell, it appears that he feels that, while promoting Texas Chainsaw 3D, Gunnar criticized the way that he played Leatherface.

There’s probably more to it than that but … well, it really doesn’t matter.  If you’re going to speak ill of the dead, you better have a hell of a better reason that professional jealousy. End of story.  Bryniarski’s comments and the outrage that greeted them only serve to remind us that Gunnar Hansen was a class act.

Gunnar Hansen, R.I.P.

On Jack The Ripper

Over 4 years ago, when I reviewed Murder By Decree, I wrote about my fascination with the unsolved case of Jack the Ripper.  Well, after all this time, I’m still fascinated.  So, needless to say, when I read that an Australian professor named Richard Patterson was convinced that he had figured out the identity of Jack the Ripper, I was intrigued.

Then I found out that Patterson thought that poet Francis Thompson was the murderer and I promptly yawned.

Poor Francis Thompson.

Poor Francis Thompson.

Seriously, most evidence (as opposed to the speculation of people who have seen From Hell) indicates that Saucy Jack was probably some psycho who lived on the margins of society.  He got away with his murders because he committed them in 1888, a time when just taking fingerprints was considered to be advanced forensic science.  He was never caught, he died in obscurity, and no one knows his name.

However, that’s no fun!  Why spend so much time researching Jack the Ripper if the final solution is just going to be some creep that nobody’s ever heard of!?  That’s why it seems the almost every Victorian of any sort of renown has, at some point, been accused of being the Ripper.  Oscar Wilde, Lewis Carroll, Francis Thompson, and the painter Walter Sickert — all of them have been accused and, amazingly, all of them have had their creative work cited as evidence of their guilt.

You have to wonder if, 100 years from now, amateur criminologists will insist that Stephen King was responsible for every unsolved murder in New England…

Speaking of Walter Sickert…

Here’s one of the infamous painting that’s always cited by people who are convinced that he was Jack The Ripper:

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By the way, this is my new Facebook cover photo:

That’s Natalie Wood rehearsing for West Side Story!

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Why not listen to a little music before you leave?

Hey — did you know that I have a daily music blog?  Check it out: Lisa Marie’s Song of the Day!  This is the song that I shared on my birthday because a lot of people have told me that it might as well be about me:

You know what you should do now?

Since it’s the day after my birthday and all, why not go read the first review that I ever wrote for this site?  Check out my thoughts on a strange little film called Welcome Home, Brother Charles.

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Wait a minute!  What does SBS stand for?

Sexy Bitch Squad, of course!  (SBS FOREVER!)

Have a great week!

Lisa’s Oscar Predictions for November!


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Have you heard the news?  Apparently, Steve Jobs is shaping up to the be one of the biggest box office bombs of all time!  Over this past weekend, it went from playing in 2,000 theaters to playing in 424.

Myself, I have to wonder why anyone thought Steve Jobs was going to be a huge financial success in the first place.  Isn’t this the third Steve Jobs biopic to be released in as many years?  None of them have made in money.  It may be time for people of a certain age and certain economic class to admit that not everyone is as fascinated by Steve Jobs as they are.  I haven’t seen Steve Jobs yet so I better get out to a theater this week or else I’ll have to see it in a dollar theater and I always seem to have a bad experience at those places.  In the mean time, be sure to check out Leonard’s review!

Anyway, with Steve Jobs crashing and burning, I’m dropping it from my list of Oscar predictions.  Sorry, Steve Jobs.  Sorry, Danny Boyle and Kate Winslet.  Don’t worry, Michael Fassbender — you’re still on my list.

Anyway, here are my Oscar predictions for November.  Be sure to also check out my predictions for January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, and October!

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Best Picture

Bridge of Spies

Brooklyn

Carol

The Danish Girl

Joy

Love & Mercy

The Martian

The Revenant 

Room

Spotlight

Best Director

Lenny Abrahamson for Room

Todd Haynes for Carol

Alejandro G. Inarritu for The Revenant

Thomas McCarthy for Spotlight

Ridley Scott for The Martian

Best Actor

Matt Damon in The Martin

Johnny Depp in Black Mass

Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant

Michael Fassbender in Steve Jobs

Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl

Best Actress

Cate Blanchett in Carol

Brie Larson in Room

Jennifer Lawrence in Joy

Carey Mulligan in Suffragette

Saiorse Ronan in Brooklyn

Best Supporting Actor

Paul Dano in Love & Mercy

Robert De Niro in Joy

Benicio Del Toro in Sicario

Idris Elba in Beasts of No Nation

Mark Rylance in Bridge of Spies

Best Supporting Actress

Joan Allen in Room

Elizabeth Banks in Love & Mercy

Jane Fonda in Youth

Rooney Mara in Carol

Alicia Vikander in The Danish Girl

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