Archive for the ‘Stranded!’ Category

Frontier

Saturday, February 9th, 2008

FrontierI can’t resist the $1.99 DVD bin as hard as I try. I especially can’t resist a movie that is filmed entirely in a made-up language (“Bulbovian”) and *SUBTITLED IN ESPERANTO* (yes, you heard that correctly). This movie seemed like a dream come true!

This is the tale of two soldiers from Bulbovia, an imaginary Eastern Euopean country that has sent men out to civilize uncharted territory. At least I think that’s what’s going on; the font on the subtitles was really hard to read. Anyway, the soldiers tramp around through the handicapped-inaccessible forest (one dude is in a wheelchair) collecting bug samples and arguing about which species will get named after whom. After hearing the “forest speak” to him, the wheelchair-bound soldier can suddenly walk, and that’s when this film moves from “some guys with a video camera having fun in the woods” to “experimental.” (note: “Experimental” means: no-budget, but occasionally trying to be meaningful and/or artsy)

This movie doesn’t really have a plot to speak of, but it is supposedly based on a surrealist novel called Froktog by Mulnar Typsthat; at least every review of this film mentions that. However, the only thing I can find on this book are references to it through this movie. So… I did some anagrams of “Mulnar Typsthat” thinking that it sounded totally like an anagram of something and came up with “Nasal spurt myth” and “Strut Thy Napalm.” If you re-arrange “Froktog Mulnar Typsthat” altogether, you get “Prank Tart Lofty Mugshot” and “Mostly to prank truth, fag” and “try to fathom slut prank, G” Ah-HAH!

Like any good surrealist movie, things just kind of happen. I’ll just mention some of them: there’s a duel with plucked, uncooked chickens, Sasquatch and what looks like Jesus wearing a Greek theater mask frolic about in meadows, the formerly-handicapped guy (played by Wiley Wiggins, who has an awesome name) starts licking the leaves on the trees and eating the twigs, there’s a guy who wakes up with bugs crawling out of his mouth and finds an abandoned machine shop, Sasquatch and Jesus throw eggs at everyone…

In the end, I actually enjoyed this bizarre piece of filmmaking– it at least had a sense of humor about itself, and I’m totally a sucker for made-up languages.

Mountain Family Robinson

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006
Children believin’ that Christmas is comin’, right in the middle of Spring!
Starring: Robert Logan, Susan Damante-Shaw, Heather Rattray, Ham Larsen

Oh, have you ever heard of such a wonderful, crazy thing?!?!

Ah, yes, the haunting Mountain Family Robinson theme song. I can hear it even now. In fact, I’ll probably carry it with me to the grave. Imagine a slightly truncated version of the Brady Bunch rafting along in the Rocky Mountain Wilderness. Now throw in a bumbling, comical bear and a mysteriously levitating eagle and you have heartwarming family fun! The Mountain Family Robinson are the wholesome, nature-loving 1970’s family who manage to wear bellbottoms and iron their hair flat even in the middle of the wilderness!

The Mountain Family Robinson live high in the Rockies in a cabin built on their deceased Uncle’s Land. The government gave a him a plot of land to live on, in exchange for his services mining for gold. Yes, that’s right: he was a Miner Forty-Niner. I didn’t actually think that people still pan for gold in this day and age, but then again who am I to judge? Anyway, just as the Mountain Family get themselves set up, a big helicopter arrives and some governmental dude gets out and tells them to leave. (Mr. Robinson probably should have read “Black Helicopters over America” before taking his children out into the wilderness.) The Family’s only hope is to pan up some gold, and quick! If they can scratch up some kind of valuable mineral, the government will let them keep their mining claim.

Aided by their trusty sidekick, Boomer, and his ursa-phobic mule, the family set out to pan the streams around their cabin. But along the way they encounter flash floods, wildcats, kleptomaniacal blackbirds, cake-eating skunks, leaky roofs and irritating musical numbers. Will their wholesomeness protect them from Nature’s fury?

There are some very interesting points to outdoor living that I was unaware of. For instance, a garden plot of only a couple square meters will feed a family of four, plus one bear and one dog, for an entire winter. Also, nighttime in the mountains looks a lot like daytime, only darker (watch the film and you’ll see what I mean.) And the most important lesson of all: wild animals will automatically follow any flute-bearing child in the wilderness. (Squirrels are especially fond of flute music.)

But to every close-knit, isolationist family, some tragedy must come. Watch with horror as Boomer and Mr. Robinson become trapped in an unstable mine shaft. Gasp with anxiety as the government dude’s helicopter crashes. Will the Family remember their Christian values and help out those in need?

And the music. Oh, the beautiful music…

Lord of the Flies

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006
No parents. No teachers. No rules… no clothes.
Starring: Balthazar Getty, Chris Furrh

Who could resist Balthazar Getty running around naked covered in ash and pig’s blood? You know you can’t! This movie seemed to be just a big excuse to show us fifteen-year-olds frolicking in their underwear. In fact, I think this movie may have been sponsored in part by NAMBLA.

For anybody who didn’t read Lord of the Flies in tenth grade, I’ll recap. A plane carrying a buttload of military academy brats crashes somewhere in the pacific, conveniently close to a small, yet lush tropical island. All the grownups are killed except one, who is injured and delirious. Left to their own devices, the kids create a pseudo-tribal society based upon teasing the fat kid, and pig hunting. Actually, this version (there was another Lord of the Flies made in 1963, qualifying this as a Lame Remake) stuck pretty closely to the book, so you won’t hear me complaining about that. Except… I don’t think they actually used a single scrap of dialogue from the original! For instance, I don’t remember the twins talking about ALF (Alien Life Form) in Golding’s novel. “I’ll bet it’s eight o’clock right now, and Alf’s causin’ trouble!” Ok, whatever.

I also don’t remember the gratuitous use of glow sticks in the original. In fact, the first two lines of the entire movie are “What is it?” “A glow stick.” Weird product placement. I like how a glow stick causes the untimely death of Simon, however: the crazed pig-slaughtering youths mistake its unearthly green glow for a demonic spirit.

What ever happened to Balthazar Getty, anyway? And Chris Furrh– shouldn’t his name have more vowels in it? I can’t really think of much more to say about this movie. If you want to watch something artistically close to the original book, rent the 1963 version. If you want to watch naked kids run around with glow sticks, rent this.

The Island at the Top of the World

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006
Starring: Disney People

This is my new favorite Disney movie!

Some rich English dude hasn’t heard from his son in two years and wants to find him! So he abducts some American guy who knows all about the Arctic and flies there in a blimp. I mean, he embarks upon an epic journey to find his lost son.

When they finally reach the North Pole, they find a tribe of lost Vikings who inhabit an island paradise that’s warmed by volcanic vents. This is the fabled island where whales go to die. The Vikings speak Norwegian, er, Old Norse, and wear pointy skullcaps. The rest of this movie then turns into a long chase scene, as our heroes leap blithely over streams of molten lava, swim through arctic rivers and go rafting on ice floes. There’s Freyja, the arctic babe, and Oomiak, the Eskimo guide who provides comic relief. There’s also Josephine, the French poodle blimp mascot, who gets to be cute from time to time. I was kind of hoping they’d get desperate and eat her.

This is definitely the pinnacle of Disney’s special effects crew. Never before has the blue screen been used so often and with such power! This movie was actually much, much cheesier than even I could ever have imagined.

The Edge

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006
Starring: Anthony Hopkins, William Baldwin, and a Bear

Charles Morse (Anthony Hopkins) is stranded in the unfamiliar Alaskan wilderness with the guy who’s doin’ his wife. Luckily, he’s super brilliant, and can remember how to survive. This comes in handy, because the two are being stalked by a bloodthirsty grizzly bear. If you’re into survival movies, this one’s not bad. It’s fairly predictable, but the predictability is so obvious it’s amusing at times. You know exactly who will be eaten by a bear and when. Was there any doubt that Charles’ wife Mickey Morse (Elle MacPhereson, in a brilliant role as a supermodel) married him for his money? The bear doesn’t even get a billing in this film! Call the Animal Rights Activists!

Return to the Blue Lagoon

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006

What’s worse than being shipwrecked on an island? Being shipwrecked on an island, and being raised by a missionary’s wife.

Here’s the story of two children being raised good Civilized Christians on a deserted island in the pacific. If you liked the original Blue Lagoon, you’ll love the return! The sequel was pretty much identical to its predecessor. The kids grow up, fight, make up, do it and then pop out a kid.

There are coming of age sequences where the boy journeys to the forbidden part of the island he’s shipwrecked on and doesn’t really do much except come of age. This film is a must if you enjoy children naively discussing sex, i.e. “she’s got a cowrie shell there!” Watch for the not-so-hidden commentary about island-life vs. ‘civilization’

This movie would have been miles better had Lynn-Holly Johnson been the female protagonist.

Six Days Seven Nights

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006
Starring: Harrison Ford, Anne Heche

What happens when a NYC Yuppie gets stranded on an Island with a rogueish drunk of a bush pilot? What else? They fall in love or something. Harrison Ford and Anne Heche make the year’s most not-believable couple in this romantic comedy which the Hollywood Video rating system gave 10 stars for action. I can’t figure out why, since there was not much action. Oh yeah, while on the island, Heche and Ford meet up with some ‘pirates’ who look like they’ve just stepped out of a Milli Vanilli video. They chase them and try to blow them up with missiles and stuff. Meanwhile, Heche’s wimpy Yuppie fiance (that guy from ‘Friends’) gets seduced for no particular reason by Ford’s vixen girlfriend, causing us to finally realize that Heche and Ford really belong together. Gag. Please Anne, if you’re reading this- go gain 15 pounds or so.