Over at Alex on Film I’ve finished watching the original trilogy of Jason Statham Transporter movies — The Transporter (2002), Transporter 2 (2005), and Transporter 3 (2008) — as well as the reboot The Transporter Refueled (2015). About what you’d expect from a franchise that apparently began life as a series of BMW car commercials. But maybe not quite as good as that. Generic stuff all around, though I didn’t think the reboot was as bad as reviewers made it out to be. Or, to put it another way, I didn’t find it to be as big a let-down.
Over at Alex on Film I’ve been watching some movies about invisible people. Meaning movies that have their nominal origin in The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells (though Wells himself wasn’t the first to come up with the idea, which is as old as antiquity).
As I say several times over the course of my notes, the Invisible Man (or Woman) is a plastic figure, capable of being hero or villain, victim or superhero. The movies may be thrillers, action vehicles, or slapstick comedies. There is no one generic Invisible Man, or Invisible Man movie. Here are just some of them:
The Invisible Man (1933)
The Invisible Man Returns (1940)
The Invisible Woman (1940)
Invisible Agent (1942)
The Invisible Man’s Revenge (1944)
The Amazing Transparent Man (1960)
The Unseen (2016)
The Invisible Man (2020)
Over at Alex on Film I’ve finished up working though the Halloween franchise (I had an earlier post after doing the original and the Rob Zombie flicks here). The only ones I skipped were Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1994) and Halloween: Resurrection (2002). Maybe I’ll get around to writing notes on them someday.
It’s a weird series. There’s no through narrative, even of the most strained, supernatural kind like in the Friday the 13th franchise. In fact, there’s not much to the whole Halloween mythos aside from the (literally) tortured relationship between Michael and Laurie. And the movies, with the exception of the first, are not every good. Aside from exploiting the brand it’s hard to see how or why they’ve hung around for nearly half a century.
Halloween II (1981)
Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later (1998)
Halloween II (2009)
Over at Alex on Film I’ve been watching the Airport tetralogy: Airport (1970), Airport 1975 (1974), Airport ’77 (1977), and The Concorde . . . Airport ’79 (1979). I was surprised at how much I enjoyed them. Yes they’re trash, but it’s trash that has aged well, and each film has its own silly identity. I actually went to see The Concorde on its initial release, so many years ago now. Of course, after this it was on to Airplane! and other send-ups, since there was no place left to go. And Airplane! is still very funny today too. But don’t sleep on the originals.
Over at Alex on Film I’ve been watching some (but far from all) of the Ju-on or Grudge films, both from the Japanese and American franchises. Along the way I muse a bit about the whole J-horror phenomenon. Is it over now? Did it ever amount to much? What was its significance?
Here’s the line-up:
Over at Alex on Film I’ve been watching the Species movies. In which Natasha Henstridge plays a murderous and broody alien who isn’t comfortable wearing clothes. Unfortunately, the movies aren’t quite as much fun as that sounds.
Over at Alex on Film I’ve been watching the movies — three in total, not counting Castle of the Living Dead that he only got called on to finish — of Michael Reeves. The three movies are She Beast (1966), The Sorcerers (1967) and Witchfinder General (1968). Aside from dying young, Reeves’ reputation rests mainly on Witchfinder General, which is a really good period piece. The Sorcerers is more a curiosity and She Beast barely that.
So, over at Alex on Film I’ve been watching Godzilla movies (and a few of their close kin) for the past few weeks. Not the whole canon, which consists of 36 movies to date. Guinness World Records lists it as the longest-running continuous film franchise.
I grew up with the early Toho Godzilla movies. They were fun, and I think they still have a certain charm. I wasn’t aware of the original Gojira (1954) much later, and it really is a slightly different animal. More recently CGI has taken over, with mixed results. I can’t say I was blown away (or flattened) by anything though.
Here’s the list:
Godzilla Raids Again (1955)
Godzilla, King of the Monsters! (1956)
King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)
Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964)
Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster (1964)
Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965)
The X from Outer Space (1967)
All Monsters Attack (1969)
Bambi Meets Godzilla (1969)
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974)
Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975)
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II (1993)
Godzilla 2000 (1999)
Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (2000)
Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001)
Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002)
Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003)
Godzilla: Final Wars (2004)
Shin Godzilla (2016)
Kong: Skull Island (2017)
Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)
Over at Alex on Film I’ve been watching the so-called Blood Trilogy of the director Herschell Gordon Lewis: Blood Feast (1963), Two Thousand Maniacs! (1964), and Color Me Blood Red (1965). I say “so-called” because that’s not a name Lewis himself used. They were only dubbed a trilogy later by a new distributor. In fact they have little in common but blood.
Lewis if often credited — and even more often credits himself — with having “invented” gore. Whatever the case may be, most of his movies are very bad: cheap exploitation work that only just clear a low bar of competence. That said, Two Thousand Maniacs! deserves its reputation as a cult classic. It’s a genuinely disturbing movie, and it got the ball rolling (downhill?) on a lot of later trends in horror, like the murderous rednecks and the showrooms of theatrically staged killings. Maybe we didn’t need to go here, but we did and Lewis in many ways drew us the map.