Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Raven (1963)

Year 5, Day 290 - 10/17/13 - Movie #1,563

BEFORE: I was going ease into the Halloween films by linking to "Repo Man", but then I started to go through the cast lists for the upcoming chain, and who turned up but Nicholson again!  That moved this film right to the top of the list, creating a link from "The Border".

THE PLOT: A magician who has been turned into a raven turns to a former sorcerer for help.

FOLLOW-UP TO: "The Raven" (2012) (Movie #1,434)

AFTER:  (with apologies to Edgar Allen Poe)

Late last night, I watched "The Raven",
in my movie-watching haven,
In the man-cave of my house's lowest floor.

It's a low-budget horror movie,
from an era that was groovy -
The 60's, they were silly to the core.

In that decade Roger Corman
made himself the foreman
Of Poe adaptations, sometimes filled with gore.  

Though the poem's famous for its rhyming,
the film relies on comic timing
And Nicholson, at the age of twenty-four.

The lead is played by Vincent Price
(he spoke in "Thriller", made it nice)
Pining for the wife he did adore.

With Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre,
they had to add a lot of story
Because the poem's plot is such a bore.

The three play somewhat bumbling sorcerers,
who become, in turn, each other's torturers,
As a Gothic fortress they explore.

As they move on through the castle,
with traps that make it quite a hassle,
Searching for one's thought-dead love, Lenore...

The wizards' alliances are tested,
until all but one are bested
And the rest are lying on the floor.

Though the final battle was inspired,
by that time I was quite tired
My eyes closed, and I began to snore.

If you believe, though it's absurd,
that a man can turn into a bird
And come tap-tapping on a wizard's door...

Though I found it difficult  to believe,
watch this film on Hallow's Eve,
With all the silliness it has in store.

But if this poem has offended,
(Stick with me now, it's almost ended)
Just do this, and all is mended -
see what E.A. Poe intended
By picking up his classic tales of lore.

As for the movie, RATING: 4
(Quoth the reviewer: "Nothing more.")

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Border

Year 5, Day 288 - 10/15/13 - Movie #1,562

BEFORE: I'm back from New York Comic-Con, and I took an extra day to get back into a normal rhythm - normal for me, that is, which usually involves staying up really late and oversleeping.  I can't get away with that if I have to be in the convention center before the crowd each morning.  I've got new "war stories" to tell, but this is not really the appropriate forum.

Jack Nicholson carries over from "The Missouri Breaks" and starts the pre-Halloween chain - though I'm not going through "The Shining" or "Wolf", since I watched those already.  I've got another way to get there...

THE PLOT:  A corrupted border agent decides to clean up his act when an impoverished woman's baby is put up for sale on the black market.

AFTER: This was a pretty straight-forward little character piece, with questions of morality as a border agent tries to do the "right thing", but finds that his definition of that phrase keeps shifting as the circumstances around him change.  He tries to avoid corruption, but it pays better and allows his wife to keep buying new furnishings.  But he draws the line at murder and baby-stealing, so he's forced to make a stand against his own co-workers.

I don't have much to add tonight, I admit I'm not bringing much to the table, maybe my head is just somewhere else or I'm still coming down off of Comic-Con.  Maybe I don't care about the whole immigration issue as much as I could, or should, I don't know.  Maybe I picked the wrong movie on the wrong night, or I'm just not feeling it for whatever reason.  Nicholson once said that this was the best movie he ever appeared in, and I'm not really seeing that.

Also starring Harvey Keitel (last seen in "Mortal Thoughts"), Valerie Perrine (last seen uncredited in "Diamonds Are Forever"), Warren Oates (last seen in "In the Heat of the Night"), Dirk Blocker, Elpidia Carrillo, Lupe Ontiveros.

RATING: 3 out of 10 coyotes