Thursday, January 3, 2019

Thursday Movie Picks: Place in the Title


It's the first Thursday of 2019, let me get the obligatory statement out of the way early. This year is going by so fast! Trust me, 11 short months from now, you'll see that I'm right. Anyhoo, it being the day that it is means it's time for Thursday Movie Picks. Let me start by giving a special shout-out to the progenitor of our weekly internet soiree, Wanderer at Wandering Through the Shelves. She's cranking this thing up for year number 6. She's brought together a core group that contributes most weeks. From my vantage point, we've been really supportive of each other. We've even been kind to those who join in every now and again to see what us cool kids are doing. To Wanderer, my fellow contributors, and those who only read our posts, I'd like to say...


Now, on to this week's topic. We're talking movies with the place in the title. Hmmm...vague. I like it. Last year, I played it way too safe. I'm going back to digging deep. I think I found some places you haven't been.


The Crater Lake Monster
(1977)
Yes, Crater Lake is a place...at least in this movie. In any event, a meteor lands there, and before you know it, we have a giant creature roaming around the lake that's a cross between a dinosaur and the Loch Ness Monster. Bad claymation, bad writing, bad acting, bad everything ensues. Umm...thumbs up? (Full review)


Tokyo Gore Police
(2008)
Let's fast-forward an unspecified number of years and Tokyo has gone the way of Detroit in Robocop with a privatized police force. Our hero is one of their cops who specializes in hunting engineers. By engineers, I don't mean the kind you're thinking about. These engineers are murderous psychos who are really tough to kill. The problem is if you cut off one of their body parts, it grows back as some sort of weapon. Literally. Severed arms grow back as chainsaws. And not just arms. We're talking every body part - arms, legs,...naughty bits. Not joking. And blood sprays everywhere. Always. (Full Review)


The FP
(2011)
Lots of neighborhoods go by nicknames. In this case, that 'hood is Frazier Park. The local riff-raff call it the FP. When we're introduced to it, we're in some weird, dystopian future where gangs settle their beefs over games of Dance Dance Revolution Beat Beat Revelation! I'm not making this up. Yeah, it's another member of the so-bad-it's-awesome hall of fame. Special thanks to one of my blogging heroes, m.brown at Two Dollar Cinema for making me aware of this one. (Full review)



22 comments:

  1. Tokyo Gore Police sounds awesome. I wanna see it. I like these picks. These sound like fun films.

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  2. OMG those films sound really interesting, I can't believe I don't know any of them!
    My picks: https://thepunktheory.wordpress.com/2019/01/03/thursday-movie-picks-place-in-title/

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  3. Oh wow - these movies sound hella fun! I'm distracted by your first gif though because the sketch it's from makes me laugh so much!

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  4. I haven't seen any of these but count me sold on Tokyo Gore Police, that sounds amazing!

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  5. I have not seen any of these but I would go for Crater lake as that is right up there with bad movies like Piranha or Grizzly or..better yet, Tentacles

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    1. If Piranha is a step down from Jaws, Crater Lake is a step down from Piranha.

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  6. I've seen Crater Lake Monster!!! I'm as surprised as you! It was part of that glut of low budget garbage some of which Birgit referenced above. Terrible movie. There is really a Crater Lake in Oregon, it's actually America's deepest.

    As far as the other two, I might watch FP if I stumbled across it but that's a might with major reservations however I can say with complete confidence that the other is not for me!

    When I started nosing around for picks for this week I was surprised how many, at least a dozen, I found that included Shanghai in the title so my choice seemed clear.

    Shanghai Express (1932)- In Peking, China, during a civil war, British Capt. Donald Harvey (Clive Brook) meets his old flame Magdalen (Marlene Dietrich) and learns with dismay that she has become a prostitute known as Shanghai Lily. Both are traveling to Shanghai via train, and while they grow reacquainted, they remain unaware that they are traveling with spy and rebel army leader Henry Chang (Warner Oland). On Chang's orders, his forces attack the train, terrorize the passengers and hold Donald hostage. Full of atmospheric cinematography and amazing costumes with both Dietrich and Anna May Wong extraordinary.

    The Shanghai Gesture (1941)-Weird hothouse drama about gambling house/brothel boss Mother Gin Sling (Ona Munson)-originally Mother Goddamn in the stage play this was based on-who out of spite degrades her British ex-lover's (Walter Huston) daughter (Gene Tierney). Last completed American film of famously difficult and exorbitant director Erich Von Stroheim.

    The Shanghai Story (1954)-When a police raid in search of a Communist spy strands all westerners within a hotel in post-WW2 Shanghai disillusioned American Dr. Dan Maynard (Edmond O'Brien) initially clashes the Tangier-born Rita King (Ruth Roman). But they are drawn together as Rita attempts to use her connection to new police chief, Colonel Zorek (Marvin Miller) to outwit their interrogators and armed guards to help their group flee to safety. Standard adventure is boosted by the strength of the performances of its two lead performers.

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    1. I'm shocked and impressed that you've seen The Crater Lake Monster! I hadn't come across anyone who has. I was beginning to think the cast, crew, and myself were the only people who bothered watching it.

      The FP is really silly, but fun. I'm not sure where you'd have to be walking to stumble across it, though.

      Love that you went with an all Shanghai theme-within-the theme. Sadly, I haven't seen any of them.

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    2. Shanghai Express is by far the most stylized of the three and the one made with the most care (and attention to its leading lady). It was one of the follow up teamings of Dietrich and von Sternberg after The Blue Angel brought them to prominence. It's got a decent enough story but its focus is making an idol of its star. If you like Dietrich, or aren't too familiar with her and are curious, it's a great example of star building. As was her next film Blonde Venus where you get to see her do a cabaret number in a gorilla suit and it has Cary Grant too!

      Shanghai Story is a B movie but with a good cast (I LOVE Ruth Roman!) and an involving story but it's lower budget is obvious.

      Shanghai Gesture is sort of a mess but a fascinating mess in parts and Gene Tierney is ravishing in it.

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    3. I'm familiar with Dietrich's name and status, but I haven't seen any of her work, yet.

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    4. Her films from this period are all interesting very focused vehicles for her, the two I mentioned and the Blue Angel are the best place to start on this early portion of her career, along with Morocco, but she hit a slump in the late 30's which was reversed by her playing saloon girl Frenchy in the Jimmy Stewart western comedy Destry Rides Again, which is another essential.

      Her films of the 40's and 50's are a decent but variable lot however she finished big with three of her best films-Witness for the Prosecution (SEE THIS-not only is she great in it the film has Charles Laughton at his best a great supporting cast and it's directed by Billy Wilder), Touch of Evil and Judgement at Nuremberg.

      She was unique and individual with her own specific mystique, the same goes for Garbo, and while Hollywood tried HARD to replicate both of them-the films of the 30's and 40's are strewn with foreign born actresses-Olympe Bradna, Illona Massey, Anna Sten and on and on-who failed to make the grade (much like they did with Marilyn Monroe in the 50's) only the two of them endured.

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    5. Witness for the Prosecution and the other two you mentioned from that era have been on my radar for quite some time. I need to get my hands on those sooner rather than later.

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  7. That second photo haha. Like Edward Scissorhands' more sinister relative

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  8. Crater Lake...haha...initially I had wanted to go for all fictional places for my picks.

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    1. I wish there were a Crater Lake trilogy I could've done.

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