Monday, February 25, 2013

Maniacal Movie Poster Monday #109!

Thanks to a house full of guests from last Thursday until this afternoon - the Dreaded Deadline Doom struck me again - here's three posters sans words from me. I swear this is not becoming the format for these posts - I WILL natter on about them starting with MMPM #110. (And I still might invisibly edit #108 and #109 later...)

Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Saturday Night at the Movies 2/23/13!

Who cares what picture we see?

Generally speaking I would say my wife does - and as we've just finished celebrating her birthday we're going with this one...

My brother introduced me to this movie way back in my childhood - and I adored it. I've watched it several times since - and then was delighted to find out my wondrous wife Suze also marks it as a favorite. Now WE'VE watched it several times since - and we howl every time. The story has a drama critic (Grant) with a very eccentric family discovering his aunts' surprising hobby - and fearing their homicidal insanity may have been passed down to him, causing him to doubt his plans to marry adorable neighbor Priscilla Lane. Frantic farcical comedy ensues - and it's hilarious.

The long running Broadway play is transferred to the cinema screen with its dark humor intact - and gives us Cary Grant in the broadest performance of his career. The whole cast is immensely wonderful - and kudos must be given to Raymond Massey as family black sheep Jonathan - though I will always be a little sad that the original stage actor who played Jonathan wasn't given the chance to appear in the movie - as that role originator was none other than Boris Karloff! I mean - the character actually says he killed someone for saying he looked like Boris Karloff - a hilarious line in the movie - but what it must have been like coming out of the real Karloff's mouth onstage!

Weirdly, the movie was completed but held back from release for a significant period - from the IMDB:

The film was shot between October 20 and December 16, 1941. During 1943, the film was shown to the Armed Forces overseas. but went unissued domestically until its Manhattan debut at the Strand Theatre on September 1, 1944, followed by the nationwide release on September 23. Warner Bros. had been contractually required to wait for the Broadway play to finish its run, which finally occurred on June 17, 1944.

I truly love this movie and heartily recommend a viewing to anyone who hasn't seen it - and we could be watching it as soon as tonight if you care to come over this evening!

Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Maynard and Craig's Brilliant Blobfest!

The always amazing Maynard Morrissey from the always awesome Horror Movie Diary rang me up one day a week or so ago, and asked me if I would like to collaborate with him on a singular idea: a double blog triple feature - featuring that most amorphous of movie monsters:

Of course you know I love me some Blob - so the answer was yes - and now here we are coming at you from two different points in what we'll today call The Blobosphere!

Oh, and just to clarify - he didn't really ring me up. Phone calls to and from Austria are expensive!

Here's my take on the original movie:

The Blob  (Tonylin Productions, 1958)   In rural Pennsylvania, two teenagers are out for a romantic chat and maybe some light making out outside town one night. One of them is Steve McQueen, actually 28 at the time and less and less convincing as a teen with every new higher def release; and Aneta Corseault a couple of years before she settled in as Andy Griffith’s main squeeze Helen Crump on The Andy Griffith Show. Moments in, a flaming something flies over their heads and pounds the Earth close by. Steve and Aneta go to find it. While they search, an old guy living in a shack near the impact point goes to investigate. He finds the meteorite imbedded in the ground not far from his joint, with lots of weird boopy and blippy sound effects marking its cooling off. The old guy pokes the rock, and it splits open, revealing a greenish looking globe that looks like it might be a giant Dot – the movie candy.
He pokes the mass with the stick, and it sinks deep. The old guy picks the goo up, and lets it dribble down the stick as he gives it a good looking at. It gets close to his hand, and registering the possible danger of touching it, the man turns the stick over, pointing it back down at the ground. At that point, with the stick pointed south, the whole situation goes south as the mass oozes up the stick and engulfs his hand. The old man is in instant agony, and tries to shake the thing off, but it’s going nowhere. Worse, it also starts to turn red (one of the most subtle and most disturbing moments in movies) as he runs off into the night. Moments later Steve and Aneta nearly hit the old man as he scrambles across the road in front of their car. Seeing the engulfed hand, the “kids” (gotta put the quotes in when one is pushing 30) take the old guy to the town doctor, who’s supposed to be headed out of town for a convention.

The doctor takes charge, and discovers the gelatinous parasite has moved up the man’s arm. While he tries to puzzle out a diagnosis, calling in his nurse for assistance, the old man is quietly and completely consumed. Now the medical professionals are facing The Blob – a living, seemingly intelligent glob of space goo who’s discovered a taste for human flesh. Steve and Aneta return to the doctor’s and Steve sees the Blob swallow the doc’s head (mostly off camera) and high tail it to the police. Due to some earlier racing hijinx with some other teens – plus the doctor's planned trip out of town - the police are not well disposed to Steve and his story is disbelieved to the point that parents are called. When Steve’s dad turns up he appears to be played by a man past retirement age – perhaps the “looks ten years older” thing runs in the family – and the kids are taken home to “get some rest and we’ll talk about it in the morning” since it appears to be 9:00 at least. As the Blob makes his way around town, oozing under cars to eat late working mechanics and exploring the local grocery store, both “teens” promptly escape familial custody and meet back up to try to stop the monster - which is now the size of a Volkswagen Beetle thanks to eating more town folk. With the police no help Steve and Aneta turn to the “teens” they drag raced earlier, but can an Anti Blob Gang with distinctly post collegiate hairlines stop a creature which can ooze through any crack or seam, and which appears to be impervious to any weapon? And how does a local diner and a high school full of fire extinguishers figure in?

I first saw The Blob early in my Saturday night “Creature Feature” viewing – and I thought it was awesome. There was a bona fide movie star in it (McQueen was still alive and kicking and making movies when I first saw The Blob) and the monster was really creepy – because it moved silently (no “big bug” shew-shew-shew-shew-shew sounds here); it could ooze through cracks and up and across walls and ceilings; and it melted you to death with acid as it slid over you and digested you. The effects used to bring the Blob to life were surprisingly good considering the film’s low budget – and the movie comes to a satisfying conclusion – sometimes not an easy proposition when you’ve lined your monster up as invulnerable. My opinion hasn’t changed over the intervening time and several more viewings. Nowadays I more readily recognize the movie’s faults – notably an inexperienced supporting cast (that kid playing Corseault’s little brother is more murderous to watch with every passing year) and possibly a rose colored glasses view of 50’s life where authority is almost always respected and the solution to most problems can be found if we just work together. But it’s still a very cool movie – and the Blob actually rates high on my list of movie monsters. It’s very alien (as opposed to some actor in a skullcap and velour body suit speaking English) and it still creeps me out. A definite recommendation who likes their horror old school now and again.

Some fun facts about The Blob.

Shot in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania; the world premiere was held there; and in recent years there’s been a “Blob Fest” there annually that tours the film’s locations, and provides fans a chance to see the real Blob – the last remaining bucketful of colored silicone kept by a fan of the film in the area.

A screening of the rough cut got Steve McQueen the job on TV’s Wanted: Dead or Alive.

The Blob is at times “played” by a modified weather balloon and at other times by a big glob of colored silicone. The effects really do work well, with the Blob appearing to move under its own power and never obviously pulled by a string or through reversing the film – although both tricks might have been used.

The Blob appears to grow throughout the movie, starting as about the size of a grapefruit in the meteor and growing large enough to engulf a building near the end. The effects of the growth were achieved by putting the creature through its paces on increasingly smaller miniature sets painstakingly built and photographed to match the full size sets the actors worked in.

The Blob was re-released on a double bill with Jack H. Harris’ Dinosarus in the 1960’s.

Maynard - I think it's a classic - what do you think?

The first time I've seen "The Blob" was when I was 11 or 12. At that time, I've already seen, and was madly in love with the 80s "Blob". As you can guess, the 50s "Blob" didn't do anything for me. I found it boring and completely unspectacular.
Seeing it now almost 20 years later, my opinion hasn't changed much. It's a dull and quite uninteresting movie. I can't take it seriously because there's too much goofy stuff going on, but I also can't consider it a good ol' trashfest because there's not enough trash-worthy going on.

- The Good -
The acting is pretty good (most notably Steve McQueen and Earl Rowe) and most of the characters are pretty sympathetic. Ralph Carmichael's ("4D Man") score is very well composed and highly effective, the cinematography is nice, the special effects all look cool, and all the scenes with the Blob are wonderfully entertaining, especially the opening, the hilarious acid attack and the sequence at the movie theater. Also, I think the idea of a formless, amorphous lifeform is quite original - and no, I don't believe in the "Blob" being anti-communist propaganda.


- The Bad -
Like I mentioned above, the movie is unbelievably slow, boring and tedious. Most of the time you get to see teenagers doing nightly car races, talking to police officers and trying to warn people about a monster. The Blob has way too little screen time, the super-goofy opening song totally doesn't fit the already weird tone of the movie, the editing if often extremely amateurish and the climax is so indescribably lame, it's close to impertinence.


I know, it's considered a sci-fi/horror-classic and I perfectly understand why. Nevertheless, this is definitely not my blob... erm, cup of tea.

Well damn! I thought you would have enjoyed it more. I'd forgotten that silly theory that the Blob was anti-communist propaganda - heaven forbid you color anything RED in the 50's! It was red because of the peoples' blood! (he cried at the people who came up with that theory back in the day)

Well, let's move on - maybe we'll agree on the next movie more.

14 years after the original movie, producer Jack H. Harris enlisted his California neighbor Larry Hagman – just finished playing Tony Nelson on TV's I Dream of Jeannie – to direct a sequel – and so we got:

The first point in the movie's favor is that it is a direct sequel. Godfrey Cambridge plays a construction guy who was part of a crew that found the frozen Blob where it was dumped in the Arctic. For some reason they brought containers of it home during a leave; (for Pete's sake, WHY?)  and while meaning to keep it stored in the freezer the cannister gets set out while some groceries are being put away (!) - and soon the Blob has thawed enough to absorb a fly that lands on it. Moments later a cat, Mrs. Cambridge, and Godfrey himself fall victim to the once again growing mass - and we're off! After that the plot resembles the first movie, with hippies substituted for the teens. As the Blob - and the movie - meander about town picking off guest star victims, the hippies try to alert the authorities but are rebuffed because, well, they're hippies! As the Blob corners our heroes and a large segment of the town's residents in the town's ice skating rink, scruffy hero Robert Walker Jr has to try to figure out how they can possibly freeze the huge mass of goo again...

I first saw this one on the CBS Late Movie one Friday night back in the 70's - and as a kid didn't notice how much goofy humor director Hagman inserted for this second go-round. As an adult I've checked the movie out again, and while there are still some creepy moments with the creature, the humor undercuts it too much to call the movie a success. Still, moments like this a still a little chilling:

It's also very low budget, and while there are some cool effects here and there - a big chunk of the second half fakes the larger blob with small amounts in the camera foreground acting as the larger mass in forced perspective. Here's what I mean in visual form:

As one of only three Blob movies, this still rates a recommendation - just be prepared for a much goofier cinematic experience. This movie also got a re-release - and for a pretty silly and tenuous reason - during the hubbub over Hagman's Dallas character JR Ewing being shot and left for dead as a season ending cliffhanger - Beware! The Blob was retitled Son of Blob, and they gave the movie a heck of a then-topical tagline: "The Movie J.R. Shot!"

In another weird moment, the original movie turns up on someone's TV....

And there's one thing you have to give this sequel: it doesn't have that talent free ankle biter who played Aneta Corseault's little brother!

Okay, so this one barely scrapes by as watchable - are we any closer to being on the same page this time, Maynard?

The origins of "Beware! The Blob" in a nutshell: 

 Blob-producer Jack H. Harris showed his personal 16mm print of "The Blob" to his neighbor Larry Hagman (J.R., Major Nelson) who had never seen the movie before. Hagman highly enjoyed it, joined forces with Harris and eventually became the director of a semi-Blob-sequel, Hagman's only theatrical effort. And guess what? Yup, it's terrible.

"Beware! The Blob" is a super-crappy comedic follow-up that looks and feels like one of those god-awful "Killer Tomatoes" flicks. It's lousily written and lousily directed, dull and boring, packed with unnecessary, lengthy and pointless scenes, packed with idiotic and highly annoying characters (douchebag hippies, unnerving boy scouts, a moronic barber...).
The score is repetitive and completely unimaginative, the camera work is tiresome and the editing is amateurish as fuck.


The Blob-scenes are funny (love his 'new' jello-like look), the climax is way more action-packed than the one in the original, there's lots of kewt kittie in the opening (which makes the opening quite watchable) and I laughed at the scene where some guy watches the original "Blob" on the TV.
Everything else about it is utter terrible and totally forgettable.
Fortunately, Hagman went back to his acting roots after this stupid pile of glibber..

Well, we're much closer this time - but I liked it a little more than you did. Hey, wait a minute! Super crappy Killer Tomatoes movies??!!?

Third time's the charm?

Sixteen years passed, and remake fever hit - so in 1988, this was seen on movie screens around the country:

This one has some solid names behind the camera - co-written by Frank Darabont and Chuck Russell, and directed by Russell. The movie takes a fun approach - follow the blueprint of the original movie - but at some of the iconic moments remembered from 1958 - spring off in new directions. In those last days before CGI came in all of the effects are practical, which is most welcome - and there's a fun cast, headed by Shawnee Smith (some of the Saw movies) and Kevin Dillon (known more recently for HBO's Entourage). Darabont starts working with Jeffrey DeMunn here; they've been re-teamed on The Walking Dead recently. Also, if you look fast, you can spot Bill Moseley (Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2) as one of the soldiers near the end of the movie!

As there are a couple of neat turns in the plot I'll say no more about the story; suffice to say this is a terrific remake - it acknowledges the original while amping up the special effects with thirty years of technological advancement. My only two quibbles with The Blob '88 - this time the creature throws out tentacles at times - and while they move well, they look too solid and not liquid-y/Blobby enough. And why no cameos from ANYONE from the original movie? Admittedly Steve McQueen was gone by then, but Aneta Corseault was still around. Hell, they could even have stuck Aneta's brother in as an adult. If he didn't speak. And turned away from camera. Boy, nitpick much?

Okay - this is your last shot to actually like a Blob movie, Maynard - give us the verdict:

More than 30 years after Irvine H. Millgate, head of visual aids for the Boy Scouts Of America, told producer Jack Harris his idea for a monster movie about a "mineral form of life that consumes human flesh on contact", director Chuck Russell ("A Nightmare On Elm Street 3") and Frank Darabont ("The Green Mile") finally turned this idea successfully into a fully satisfying popcorn movie.


I clearly remember 10-year-old me standing in the horror section of the local rental store, staring on the ghastly VHS-cover for what felt like hours. That image, showing a violet-skinned kinda-zombie in strawberry jelly, deeply, deeply fascinated me, and when I finally got to see it a few years later (Thank you German Television for showing it uncut after midnight, and thank you Mom for allowing me to stay up late), it totally blew me away.


"The Blob" is undoubtedly one of the greatest and most entertaining horror movies of the 80s. It ups the ante of the original and stands on its own as an absolutely incredible and spectacular remake, probably one of the best horror-remakes ever made. It's well-built and well-paced, funny, thrilling, action-packed and superbly diverting from start to finish with no dull or boring scenes/sequences.

The characters are all fun and sympathetic and the overall cast is strong and believable, especially Kevin Dillon as quasi-cool local rebel, Shawnee Smith as heroic cheerleader girl, and Del Close as creepy reverend. Michael Hoenig's ("The Wraith") is rousing and effective, and Mark Irwin's intriguing cinematography is fabulous.

Highlight of the movie are obviously the brilliant gore 'n slime effects. Not "The Thing" level brilliant, but definitely awesome and impressive. The Blob looks stunning and creepy, its movements are believable (love how it shoots out of the kitchen sink, or when it transform into some kinda ginat vagina down in the sewers) and I love how it's "able" to change its colors from red to pink to grey.


Also, lots of remarkably badass kills: blob dissolving the lower half of a bum's body, blob absorbing a teenager by covering his entire body, blob crawling into and breaking out of a young woman's body, blob attacking a movie theater audience, blob creeping into a scientist's hatmat suit, blob killing a woman by crushing the phone booth she's standing in, and best of all: blob violently pulling a man down a drain, one of my Top 5 favorite kills of all time!

Popcorn horror-cinema at its best, a must-see!

Well there you go - for Maynard, one out of three ain't bad!

For me, it's two kickass movies out of three, and the middle one watchable - not a bad scoring record for the series. There were rumors Rob Zombie wanted to remake The Blob again - I was not against the idea - interested to see what CGI might bring to the blobby table, plus the plot is ready made for Zombie's trademark profane white trash characters - The Blob Goes to the Trailer Park. But I guess that isn't happening now. I could stand a new Blob movie - and they have a few years left to hit the thirty year between remakes mark again.

Huzzah The Blob! My thanks to my blog buddy Maynard for providing all of the pictures in my part of this thing with his mad screen capturing skills! Here's a direct link to his site's Blobfest post:


And until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Good Day For Die Hard - Five Times!

My buddy Shaun sent me a message - and when I opened it - this is what I saw:

Shaun sent it around to his circle of friends with the question "Who's in?"

The answer he got from me was: "Me!"

I already had plans to see the new Die Hard, and adding the first four movies to the mix just made it better. I guess these marathon deals have been working - they did all the solo superhero movies leading up to The Avengers; all of the Christian Bale Batman movies up to The Dark Knight Rises; and all the Lord of the Rings movies leading up to The Hobbit. I missed all of those - but here was one I wasn't going to miss!

I got the day off work weeks ahead - and spread the word to my buddies Ray and Lorne to see if they would join me. Both indicated they would.

Sadly, as the work week started on 2/11/13, both Ray and Lorne begged off - as neither was able to get out of work for the day.

I spent the morning of the 13th getting a haircut and running some errands, then arrived at the theater at about 11am. The marathon was scheduled to start at 12 noon, and I was hoping to get my ticket, then grab a fast lunch at the restaurant next door to the theater. As I approached the box office it was obviously not open yet. One of the workers was about to go in - I asked when the box office would open - he said "I think 11:30." So off to lunch next door.

Cute waitress! Score one! I ordered a Black Forest sandwich on German pretzel bread and fries. Here's lunch in all its glory:

I wrapped up at just about 11:30 on the nose and headed over to the theater. The ticket for all 5 movies was $25 - not bad for a brand new movie and four older flicks!

I stopped off at the concession stand for a large popcorn and large Coke Zero - both of which were available for refills - and headed in to the theater at about 11:40am.

There were three people in there already - a lone guy and a couple. The couple was up in the nosebleed seats, so I barely registered them. The guy, however, was in my first choice of seats - one row up from the handicapped row/middle aisle and dead center. *sigh* So I went with my second choice, one of the seats on the handicapped row. (For the record, when I sit there I am always prepared to move at a moment's notice should the seats be needed by someone in a wheelchair.)

Movie time!

Die Hard  (1988)

I first saw this movie at the Saluki theater in Carbondale Illinois back in 1988. (The same theater building where I'd seen Friday the 13th 8 years previously.) It was so good I coaxed my parents out to see it over the Christmas break a week or two later.

I had actually just watched this on Blu-Ray a few weeks ago - catching my movie buddy Ray up on the series to prep us to see the fifth movie. We cut off after the first movie when this marathon came up - so it was the only one I'd seen recently - it was still awesome to see on the Big Screen again - first time in 25 years! The movie rocks from first frame to last - and what an incredible cast. Great to see Al Leong among the terrorists - plus Andreas Wisniewski from The Living Daylights - he's the first guy Bruce kills with feet smaller than Bruce's sister's. I like the terrorist who looks like Huey Lewis - and I really hate it that the incredibly obnoxious Theo (the safecracker well played by Clarence Gilyard Jr.) actually survives the movie - he gets decked by Argyle and presumably hauled off to prison. I really wish he would have bought it - and having Hans Gruber land on him at the end would have been perfect. It's also cool to see Robert Davi and Grand L. Bush as the two FBI agents - as they worked together again on the 007 movie Licence to Kill the next year!

After the first movie ended it was a quick run to the lobby for a restroom break and a refill on Coke Zero and popcorn - and at 2:35 the theater darkened again:

I first saw this movie in Merrillville Indiana - not sure of the theater's name - but it was a multiplex right outside the Merrillville Mall on Route 30. It was terrific to see it on the Big Screen again - as I think it's pretty much as good as the first movie. The highlights of this one for me - Fred Dalton Thompson as Airport Honcho Trudeau; glimpsing Robert Patrick and John Leguizamo among the bad guys; and the way that the film builds on the playing area of the first film's high rise building - expanding out to an entire airport and the surrounding neighborhood, while still keeping the film's laser focus turned inward for the run of the movie, so that the movie still feels like it's taking place in a finite area. Well done all around.

This movie wrapped up a little after 4:30pm. I ran my phone out to the car to charge up through the third movie, refilled the popcorn and soda again, and plopped down to wait for 5:00pm and the start of

Die Hard

I saw this movie here in Wilmington at the Cinema 6 on Oleander Drive. I was a little leery of adding the secondary character played by Samuel L. Jackson as McClane was a loner in the first two movies - but the movie won me over on that count in short order. Bringing in some really cool actors as McClane's police colleagues - Larry Bryggman - who'd been on some CBS soap opera for about a hundred years at this point - Colleen Camp - Graham Greene - excellent support on the good guy side. The bad guys don't have any future stars lurking this time, but they are led by a grinning Jeremy Irons, throwing on his German accent to play Hans Gruber's brother - back for revenge...or is he?

Having this one widen out now to a whole city - again - terrific build on the previous movie's playing area - and the cat and mouse game with the puzzles thrown in to the usual gunplay and explosions - marvelous. I actually prefer the theatrical release's (re-shot) ending - having watched the original as a YouTube clip - I think the original, while interestingly dark in tone - is too much of a downer ending. So the reshoot helped the movie, to me.

This one ended a little after 7:00pm. I retrieved my phone and went back to the snackbar for another Coke Zero - and it was time for dinner. Here's what I went with:

The Dinner of Champions - slider hot dogs - with ketchup, mustard, and relish added - and nachos. YUM!

At 7:30 we went fourth with the next movie in the series:

I had skipped seeing Live Free or Die Hard in the theaters - as I had doubts they would get another good movie out of the then 19 year old series. Plus, the PG-13 rating didn't make me happy. Then I watched the Unrated cut on DVD - and liked it just as much as I had ...with a Vengeance. So I was thrilled to get to see this one on the Big Screen for the first time. I was a little disappointed that as expected it was the PG-13 cut - and after the frenzy of F-bombs that were bandied about in the previous movie this movie's more restrained swearing and bloodletting was very noticeable- but still a terrific action movie. It's also the fourth straight movie in the series to play its action out on an ever-larger playing field - first a building. Then an airport. Then a city. And this time the entire Eastern Seaboard. Well played, Die Hard filmmakers!

Movie #4 wrapped up a little after 9:30pm. One more popcorn and Coke Zero refill and I was planted back in my usual seat waiting for 10:00pm and the start of the new movie. (Sadly, no title card pic for this one!)

As soon as A Good Day to Die Hard started - little alarm bells went off. After four straight ultra widescreen movies in 2:35:1 - NOW they're going to drop back to a regular movie 1:85:1? In other words - watching the first four movies on your widescreen TV there will still be black bars at the top and bottom - but this movie will fill the screen. And that's NOT a good thing. It seems cheap after the big budget action of the other movies.

The movie starts a little roughly - with now-grown son Jack McClane in the middle of some kind of political drama in Russia. Then we see John McClane - in a cheap scene set at a shooting range where some guy we've never seen before comes in and briefs him on the trouble Jack has gotten into over in Russia. This was a missed opportunity to bring in SOMEONE from any of the previous movies to give this briefing - Powell is working for the State Department now, or Argyle. I don't care if it's silly - it's still cool. Maybe Leslie - the little airport guy from 2 - or even someone new but played by a cool character actor like Robert Forster or Wings Hauser - anyone other than this generic unknown actor.

John McClane and Jack McClane - friends to the end

Next up McClane is on the way to Russia - and thank goodness Mary Elizabeth Winstead stops in for some small tidbit of continuity in a cameo as Lucy McClane from the fourth movie.

Once McClane arrives in Russia the movie takes another downturn as he and Jack have a contentious relationship EXACTLY like dad and daughter in the opening of Live Free...plus McClane is either poorly written or Willis is having trouble finding the character again as McClane rather goofily follows his son across whatever Russian city they're in trying to talk to him - and pointedly ignoring the Die Hard style action going on with vehicles chasing each other and massive machine guns and explosions going off. It's almost like he can't see this stuff - John Magoo instead of John McClane. Compounding this ragged section of the movie - director John Moore starts channelling mid-60's Mario Bava and goes batcrap crazy with the zoom lens - letting the camera fly all over the place, zooming in and out wildly before briefly finding and settling on the action in shot after shot after shot. I wanted to punch him in the throat about twenty minutes in to this movie. He's really used his entire career's allotment of camera moves in this flick.

Now, once they settle after this frenetic fiasco of a first third of the movie - and the plot kicks in, and the boys start working together - and someone apparently saw the dailies of the earlier scenes and broke their foot off in director Moore's ass so the camera calms down a lot - (although I can't deny that it's possible I was simply getting used to it and not noticing it as much - and if that's the case a double dumbass on Moore for inuring me to his awful filmic style) - well, at this point the movie got on track and was pretty entertaining for the rest of the run - though there are still some wtf moments - instead of having to be the hero because he's the only one who can - so he's reluctant but effective - here at one point he grabs a cannon sized machine gun and says to Jack "Let's go kill some scumbags." (!) Not let's go save your friend, or let's go stop them (from whatever villainous plan is going to cause the deaths of innocents) - no - he's here and ready to go and simply slaughter people. Another misstep, but not as bad as the first thirty minutes. This is also the first movie that doesn't really build on the playing field - we're in some city for a while - then we're in a big facility. And the movie doesn't manage the cool 2+ hours running time that all the others handled with ease - and clocks in at an almost apologetic 1 hour and 37 minutes.

However, one undeniable positive about this movie - Yulia Snigir.

All in all - this is the Die Hard I was dreading when I skipped seeing the fourth movie in the theater - the one that shows the cracks in the formula and disappoints. I'm not usually one to give star ratings to movies - but I think this will best sum up my feelings on the series. I'll use Leonard Maltin's four star scale -where 4 stars is a classic; three stars and up is a good to very good to great movie; two stars is mediocre but watchable, and the next step down is BOMB - unwatchable crap.  So here's the series rated and where this fifth movie falls on the quality ladder:

Die Hard  ****
Die Hard 2   ***3/4
Die Hard with a Vengeance   ***
Live Free or Die Hard   ***
A Good Day to Die Hard  **

So there you go. It's not terrible, but it's a big step down from the other movies.

Despite the last movie tanking a bit - I did have a blast doing this marathon - and might try one again one of these days...

Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!