A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Hellboy – Director’s Cut

March 1, 2010

Hellboy – Director’s Cut

Let me start out this project by saying that my wife and I own a lot of movies.  A LOT of movies.  I’ve worked in video retail for about fifteen years now.  With TLA Video in Pennsylvania, then with Suncoast Video and currently with Blockbuster.  Since 1997 I’ve been collecting DVDs.  My very first one was Woodstock (the film of the concert)  and at two or three DVDs a week the collection has expanded.  At this point it’s a compulsion.  I buy movies that I want to watch, someday, when I have the time.  But lately there seems to be so little time.  We have stacks of movies by the bed, in the corners, behind the chairs.  Some still in their plastic wrap.  Waiting patiently for that distant day when finally they can be enjoyed.

And now: that day has come!  Or at least it will.  We have resolved to watch every.. single.. movie in our vast collection.

What an appropriate way to begin this project.  In point of fact the top movie on the stack we approached was Hellboy 2, but in keeping with the rules we went to the first movie instead.  And again, in accordance to the rules we had to go with the director’s cut (part of a lovely 3-disk special edition.)  We started to watch it on my little laptop screen, figuring that we’ve watched the movie enough times that we could have it play somewhat in the background. But before we had even made it to the opening credits I had to take it out and put it up on the living room television.  It’s just too good a film to have playing in the background.  It deserves center stage.

In many ways Hellboy is a movie that very well represents our collection.  It’s a movie based on a comic book.  I decided a long while back to buy any and all movies based on comic books.  Some are good.  Some are… not.  But all have a passion behind them.  Like any movie I guess.  It’s also a movie directed by a great artist in Guillermo Del Toro.  His passion permeates every frame.  From the rich saturated color palette to the creepy clockwork Nazi it just reeks of Del Toro’s unique vision.

In Mike Mignola he found a great collaborator.  Mike’s creations are larger than life.  Hacked in rich shadows from his twisted pop-culture fueled psyche.  And Guillermo has brought them to rich vivid life.  Which is something impressive to do in a rollicking action adventure film.

I love the imagery of this film.  The Cthuloid tentacles and the mythos of Hellboy’s origins and destiny.  I love the riproaring adventure of it all.  The end-of-everything-we-know stakes.  The dry sense of humor.  But most of all I treasure the very human love story at the movie’s heart.

What a cast too!  I think this was the second movie I saw Jeffrey Tambor in (after Muppets From Space) and he steals every scene he’s in.  Which is a major feet when you’re sharing the screen with a ruggedly handsome and suave Ron Perlman with some of the best makeup in cinema history to contend with.  Selma Blair is wonderfully haggard as Liz, and Rupert Evans is so earnest.  (I remember being shocked by his accent when I watched the actor commentary track.)  John Hurt provides much needed gravitas and heart.  And how could I forget the graceful otherness of Del Toro regular Doug Jones combined with the dulcet tones of David Hyde Pierce?

In short (too late!) this is a spectacular movie with many a quotable moment.  I highly recommend it to one and all.

March 2, 2010 Posted by | daily reviews | , , , | Leave a comment

Movie 1: Hellboy – Director’s Cut

Hellboy — March 1st, 2010 Yes, posted late. Not setting a good precedent here, am I?

Early on in Hellboy I spotted the Wilhelm scream. If I can possibly remember, I should really keep count of how many times I notice it.

I’ve read some of the graphic novel that Hellboy is based on, but not nearly enough to consider myself well-versed in it, so this isn’t going to address the movie as an adaptation of a comic book. I’ll save that for the inevitable travesties I know are lurking on my shelves. And let’s get something straight: I was an English major in college. I did film analysis and text analysis and played thoughtful academic for four years. I’m over 30 now and I’ve been done with academic analysis for a while. This is for fun.

And Hellboy is a heck of a lot of fun. A hell of a lot of fun, if you want to be cute about it. As a first movie for this project, it’s a good one. We both enjoy it and it’s actiony and fast paced. We’ve seen it enough times to be familiar with it while not being bored by it. Andy recognized one scene at least that he says is a director’s cut scene (Liz doped up on Thorazine after setting the asylum on fire) but I think I’ve only ever seen it on DVD, so it didn’t seem out of place to me.

This movie makes me wish I had the time to devote to learning more about the stuff a lot of the plot in the movie is based on, but being a jack-of-all-trades as I must be means learning a little about a lot, not the other way around. I end up feeling like I’m missing bits and pieces and important little in jokes by not knowing more about Sammael and reliquaries and the like. Then again, people I’ve talked to about the second movie had things to say about how the Celtic mythology was mangled, so. Maybe I’m not missing a dang thing, you know? It’s more research than I’m willing to do for what is essentially a popcorn flick with a fun ensemble cast.

Let me say a few words about the cast, while I’m thinking about it. The cast is pretty fucking awesome. I love Ron Perlman, who does a great job in a big red muscle suit. I admit I enjoy Selma Blair’s deadpan resignation as Liz. David Hyde Pierce as Abe’s voice is so fucking awesome that the lack of him makes me grimace a little at Hellboy 2. I’ve got to hand it to Rupert Evans for making me believe in his American accent enough that I didn’t realize the British guy on the commentary was him. But the dude I love most? Jeffrey Tambor. Granted, I can’t help but think of Singer in Muppets from Space when I see him in this movie, but that’s all for the best. He plays a great straight man to pretty much everyone else in the movie, Hellboy especially. He has some great moments and he delivers well as the pain in the ass bumbling bureaucrat while still not being entirely hateful. I wanted him to learn his lesson but I didn’t want him to get hurt. That makes for a fun character and a fun movie.

I could say lots more about the whole theme of self-discovery and accepting one’s quirks and talents and faults and the nature combined with nurture making us who we are motif. But yeah, that’s academic. And I’m not doing this for a grade. Screw that. I just want to have fun watching movies.

Watching this tonight, I had a lot of fun. There were lines I’d forgotten and scenes that made me grin. And tomorrow we’ll watch Hellboy 2. Wish us luck.

March 2, 2010 Posted by | daily reviews | , , , | 4 Comments

A Movie a Day For as Long as it Takes

My husband and I own a lot of movies. And when I say a lot, I don’t mean we own as many as the library I work for, but we come damn close. My husband works for a video store. I’ve worked for video stores. We buy a lot of movies and we watch a lot of movies. But we own a lot more than we watch on a regular basis. We’ve got things still in shrink wrap because we saw them in the theater, loved them, bought them, then haven’t had the urge to watch them since. But we know we will. We always do eventually. Or one of us does. And that’s what got me thinking. We own a number of things I’ve never seen or never seen all the way through. Sometimes that’s a conscious choice (Elektra) and sometimes I just haven’t gotten around to it (Henry V, I’m ashamed to say). And I’d like to remedy that.

So this is my project. For however long it takes, I’m going to make an effort to watch something we own every day. Given that we have more movies than shelf space for them, that’s going to take a while. And that’s just movies. We decided to exclude television series from this little endeavor because if we didn’t then we’d have the entire run of The Prisoner, all of the Diana Rigg episodes of The Avengers, Battlestar Galactica, a bucketload of anime, Dilbert, and oh, oh the MST3K. We’ll do that some other decade. The movies should keep us busy enough. But even then, we’ve got to have some rules.

The Rules:
1. Minimum 1 movie watched per day, preferably while both Andy and Amanda are present (exceptions will be made in the case of double shifts and/or illness).
2. Movies will be played in their entirety. Scenes which make A or A uncomfortable (comedy of embarrassment!) can be ignored, but not fast-forwarded.
3. Movies will be chosen somewhat at random from the vast numbers of DVDs around the apartment. In the event that the next movie on a stack is a sequel to an as-of-yet unwatched movie, the first movie in the sequence will be found and watched instead. In the case of series (LotR, Star Trek, etc.) series will be watched in order.
4. In the event of multiple versions (directors’ cuts, etc.) the longer of the versions will be watched and acknowlegement made of what is different.
5. Guests to our apartment during the viewing of a movie for the project may submit a review, but A and A MUST post SOMETHING about all movies viewed.
6. Movies seen on TV do not count, even if we own said movies. Movies must be watched on DVD. If we see something on TV and want to watch it, we should damn well find it and put it in without commercials.
7. As this project is largely to explore the aforementioned vast numbers of DVDs we own, we will not repeat reviews, even if we repeat viewings. Each day’s review will be of a new and heretofore unreviewed movie.
8. Television shows are not included in the project even though we own a buttload of those too. Made-for-TV movies or movies based on television shows are.
9. As MST3K is a TV series, and TV series are not included in our project, MST3K-riffed movies are not part of the project except if we own them in their un-MSTed format.
10. Feature length documentaries on their own discs (i.e. Trekkies as opposed to the documentary footage on LotR) will be reviewed as films.
11. Pausing is allowed for essential breaks such as kitchen disasters, cat puke, family phone calls, etc. but in general the movie should be watched in a single sitting.
12. New movies can be bought and included in the project at any time. Yes. This means I will be forcing my husband to watch Center Stage with me.
13. Reviews posted by A and A really should be at least a full sentence, but in the case of absolute dreck, “IT STINKS!” will be accepted.
14. DVDs not purposefully obtained by either Andy or Amanda are not part of the project by default. Inclusion of gifts will be decided on a case-by-case basis.

And those are the basics. I’m hoping to rediscover some old favorites, watch some stuff I’ve always meant to but never got around to, and justify the piles of DVDs sitting around the apartment. And if that means sitting through some clinkers that we bought while my husband was attempting to purchase every comic book adaptation he could, regardless of quality? So be it. And that being said, our first movie of the project was Hellboy. Really, it was Hellboy 2, which was on top of the nearest stack, but in accordance with rule #3, we went and found the first movie to watch first and we’ll save 2 for tomorrow night.

March 2, 2010 Posted by | we want information | , | Leave a comment