Movie Man-a-thon 2015: Magicians, gunfighters and devils galore

As happens every blue moon, the wife went away for the weekend a few weeks ago and left me watching the kids.  So, when the kids were put to bed, I had a chance to engage in one of my patented movie man-a-thons.  I picked a bunch of movies Steph would never want to watch and I gave them a spin.

Let’s see how I made out.  This list is in the order that I watched the movies.

Houdini (2014) – The Lionsgate/History Channel 2-night mini-series all about the life and career of Harry Houdini, one of the greatest magicians of all time.  I love magician movies and I love the lore that’s built up around Harry Houdini.  This is a pretty solid mini-series retelling the life of Houdini.  Brody does a great job inhabiting the character and it covers Houdini’s life, while not exhaustedly, but, entertainingly.  Worth a watch.  We even get a quick scene with Rasputin when Houdini performs for the Russian royal family.  I didn’t know he had met Houdini.    Rasputin is another historical figure besides Houdini, Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and Teddy Roosevelt, that I have a sort of mini-obsession with.

The Watcher (2000) – This was a re-watch for me. I originally watched it when it was first released on DVD back in 2000-2001.  I’ve always loved James Spader and I’ve been loving Keanu Reeves lately in stuff like John Wick and Man of Tai Chi.  So, I thought I’d revisit this serial killer movie that features Spader as a burn out police detective being sent clues of murders by a serial killer played by Reeves.  Honestly, it doesn’t live up to what I think this movie could have been in my head.  If this were re-made now with Spader and Reeves as they are today, I think it could be incredible.  I don’t necessarily remember it being better when I saw it originally back in the early 2000s, but I was still disappointed.

Pale Rider (1985) – I love Clint Eastwood and especially his westerns.  Surprisingly, I’d never seen Pale Rider before.  So, I caught it on AMCHD with my DVR and decided to give it a shot for my man-a-thon.  And it’s AWESOME.  This is a much better version of High Plains Drifter (and don’t get me wrong, I like HPD).  Eastwood is excellent as usual and so are the plethora of bad guys in this one.  Just a really good gritty western with a hint of possible supernatural goings on.  And the daughter, Megan, as played by Sydney Penny, was embarrassingly attractive.  I say embarrassingly because she was 14 at the time the movie filmed.  But she’s STILL smoking hot today.

The Lego Movie – I got this for my kids to watch. But, I hadn’t seen it either so that was a bonus.  I had a feeling it would be awesome, and it was.  The voices, the environments, the humor.  Amazing.  This movie is f**king amazing.  I loved every second of it.  It better get a few Oscars…oh, that’s right, it was mostly snubbed except for the theme song, “Everything is Awesome”.  WTF, Academy?!  YOU ARE FAILING THIS CITY!!!!!

Black Mirror: Complete Series 1 (2011) – I watched this because everyone on the Internets is losing their sh*t over how good the show is.  So I watched series 1 which consists of three one hour episodes.  The crux of the series is sort of how technology has infused itself in our daily lives and while that technology makes things easier it also has a darker side and can also be used to make things worse.  MUCH worse.  It’s a tough few episodes to get through, especially the first and last episodes.  But I mean that in a subject matter way, not that the show isn’t any good.  Because it is good.  But it doesn’t really answer a lot of its own questions nor does it really tie up a lot of loose ends caused by the stories in the episodes.  Leaves you feeling awkward and incomplete.  But I think that’s the point of the show.  I’ll have to think long and hard before I decide to watch series 2.

Horns (2013) – I read this book back in May 2013 for several reasons, but the main one being that I discovered that Daniel Radcliffe was going to be in a movie version. So I grabbed the ebook and gave it a read. It’s a very dark and atmospheric book about a guy that wakes up with horns on his head that cause everyone around him to tell him their most horrible secrets.  And he decides to use this new ability to figure out who brutally raped and killed his girlfriend because everyone assumes he did it, including his parents.  I was looking forward to Radcliffe tackling the subject matter.  And the movie perfectly captures the tone of the book.  I had the same feelings while watching the movie that I did reading the book.  A few things were changed, but most of the stuff is intact.  Radcliffe is great, as expected.  It’s an uncomfortable movie to watch, but it’s dark and gritty and while not a joy to sit through, if you like these types of gritty, sad, atmospheric movies, you’ll dig it.  I can say the same about the book written by Stephen King’s son, Joe Hill.  Reminds me of early, creepy Stephen King.

One Response to “Movie Man-a-thon 2015: Magicians, gunfighters and devils galore”

  1. I squirmed through Black Mirror over the Christmas holiday. I won’t say I enjoyed it, but I’m glad I watched it. It’s one of those things that you won’t ever forget seeing and makes you rethink the way technology is headed, because I can see just about all of those scenarios coming true. Check out the Christmas special on Youtube — that one is horribly good.

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