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Boldly Going Where Mine Was Taller Has Never Gone Before August 27, 2008

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Back in June I tried something a little different on Mine Was Taller, namely Horror Day. Horror Day was a day of back-to-back horror movies with me and my friend Dipa blogging about each film after we watched it. Horror Day was so successful (well we enjoyed it anyway) that we’ve decided to do another one and, in case the title of this post didn’t give it away, this time we’re doing Sci Fi. There’ll be a slight change to the format as Dipa now has her own blog, Inner Corr, so she’ll be posting on there and I’ll be putting links to her thoughts along with my own comments here.

The line up should be something like this:

Forbidden Planet
The Incredible Shrinking Man
(the Japanese original)
Phase IV
Donnie Darko (The Director’s Cut)
Aliens Vs Predator: Requiem

And if we get time Deja Vu.

Sci Fi Day will be Saturday 30 August.

Also coming soon will be a write-up of this year’s FrightFest, not the full event this time, just the Sunday, with Let the Right One In and Martyrs the pick of the days films.

The darkest day of horror Mine Was Taller has ever known… June 20, 2008

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As promised a few weeks ago, today is Horror Day on Mine Was Taller and, from around 12 Noon I, along with my friend Dipa, will be watching a selection of scary movies and blogging about them as we go.

The running order should be something like this –

12pm – The Wolf Man (1941)

1:45pm – Purana Mandir (1984)

4pm – Night of the Lepus (1972) followed by the short film Night of the Hell Hamsters (2006)

6pm – From Beyond the Grave (1973)

7:45pm – Brain Damage (1988)

9:30pm – Silence of the Lambs (1991)

12am – Inside (2007)

A change is as good as a rest… May 28, 2008

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…or so the saying goes, and with that in mind I’m making a few alterations to Mine Was Taller. Since the start of the year I’ve been posting almost every day and, while it’s been fun, it’s starting to feel like a chore rather than a pleasure. With that in mind I’ve going to return to the original DVD Viewing Journal format, with brief opinions on each of the films I’ve watched on DVD. There will be links running through each week’s films, be it star, director, or a shared theme, and the first one will feature vigilante movies.

This will free me up to write some other pieces, both here and for the newly established Eurocritics Magazine,including reviews of the summer’s blockbuster cinema releases and the return of ‘Films I Want on DVD’ which I originally planned as a series back in July 2006 but never got past number one - Rituals, a film that’s since been released on DVD (although I doubt my article had anything to do with that).

The TV Tomb series of reviews of classic (or in some cases just old) television shows will continue, with the American WWII show Combat the next up followed be Fortier, a Canadian detective series (in French) that most of you probably haven’t heard of but which inspired/was ripped off by Tim Minear’s excellent 2005 FBI show, The Inside.

In August I hope to be doing the FrightFest festival again, complete with daily posts and I’ve a few other things planned as well, including Horror Day when I’ll be watching some classic, some cheesy, and some downright silly horror flicks (including my first Bollywood horror movie) with a friend, and we’ll both be posting our views on each film as we go. Horror Day is currently planned for 20 June, starting about noon and running into the wee hours and it’ll hopefully be almost as much fun for readers as it will be for us.

Back…At Last! May 6, 2008

Posted by Ian W in : DVD Viewing Journal, Site News , 1 comment so far

Where have I been this last ten days or so you may be wondering and the short answer is offline. Thanks, apparently, to a technical problem that coincided with Virgin Media moving all the old NTL customers to a new server, I’ve been without internet access since the 26th April, as they were unable to sort the problem until the migration was complete. Having been plunged back into the dark ages, before the wonders of the web, for over a week, I’ve realised how dependant I’ve become on it for everything from banking to looking up bus times or just finding the answer to a question. Anyway I finally got back online yesterday so here’s a round-up of what should have been on here the weekend before last –

The Friday Night Fright: The House on Sorority Row

Oh the joy of Music Zone and their 97p DVDs! I’ve got a high tolerance for crap movies, particularly horror, and I picked up some real stinkers from the now defunct Music Zone chain. This isn’t the worst of them, which is a shame as some were so appallingly bad they entertained for all the wrong reasons. No, The House on Sorority Row is just a very ordinary and cheap (so not even any decent gore) slasher flick from 1983.

Written (or maybe that should be cut and pasted) and directed by Mark Rosman, the film takes elements from Black Christmas, Halloween and Friday the 13th (with a little Animal House thrown in for good measure) blending it together to create 90 minutes of boredom. The only time the film shows anything like originality, and even manages a little tension, is when the mad doctor (yes it even has a mad doctor, although he’s not really mad enough to be entertaining) drugs the last surviving sorority girl and uses her as bait to catch the deranged killer. Unfortunately the scene only lasts a couple of minutes before she gets away and we’re treated to more Halloween-style chasing round the house.

The Weekend Western: Posse

Not your usual manhunt western, this is an oater with political aspirations. Kirk Douglas is the lawman with his eye on being elected senator and all he has to do to get there is bring in train robber Bruce Dern, which, as it turns out, is much easier said then done.

Douglas is excellent, as is Dern as the charismatic outlaw. He’d come a long way since being shot down in a gunfight with Douglas and John Wayne in The War Wagon.

It’s not going to top any “greatest westerns” list but it’s solidly directed by Kirk and clearly a reaction to the political climate of the times (mid-seventies). It’s the political subtext and the somewhat unique ending (which may put of those looking for flying lead) that makes it standout. Well worth a look if you like a more leftfield western.

Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting: DOA - Dead or Alive

Films adapted from games are usually duds and DOA is no exception but it’s a dud that’s full of scantily clad ladies kicking ass, so there’s some entertainment to be had.

This treads similar ground to Charlie’s Angels but, unlike that films ADD suffering director, DOAat least has a man at the helm who knows how to put an action sequence together.  Hong Kong action maestro Corey Yuen even manages to craft some decent, if decidedly silly, fight scenes with the beautiful stars he’s given, aided by stunt doubles, snappy editing and a lot of wirework.

SF & Fantasy Sunday: Children of Men

It seems if you put Clive Owen in a film with a pregnant woman you’re on to a winner, with both this and the utterly deranged but hugely entertaining Shoot ‘Em Up forcing me to confess that I’m actually starting to like the actor.

But this couldn’t be farther from Shoot ‘Em Up if it tried. It a unrelentingly grim look at a future Britain, something we rarely get to see, and it makes Blade Runner look like utopia by comparison. Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón’s view of the Britain’s future may not be flattering but it does feel real. I’ve watched his breakthrough film, Y tu mamá también, and found it entertaining enough but there was nothing in that film to suggest he could handle action as well as he does here. There’s a genuine sense of peril as the bullets fly, partly because it seems unlikely the film will have a happy ending, but mostly because the battle scenes are so realistic.

One of the best and most intelligent SF films of the 21st Century.

That’s the round-up over, next week things will (fingers crossed) get back to normal. As for the rest of this week, well you’ll almost certainly see a review of The Sandbaggers Season 1, possibly a review of the classic American war series Combat – Season 1 Part 1 (if I get the last few episodes watched). And maybe even a review of Iron Man.

Next Week on Mine Was Taller April 21, 2008

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I Spy: Thunderball

Literally Speaking: The Odessa File

Watching the Detectives: Shadow of the Thin Man

Comic Tales: Death Note - The Last Name

The Friday Night Fight: The House on Sorority Row

The Weekend Western: Posse

Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting: DOA - Dead or Alive

SF & Fantasy Sunday: Children of Men

Next Week on Mine Was Taller April 13, 2008

Posted by Ian W in : Site News , 1 comment so far

I’ve decided to start posting a list of what’s in store for readers in the coming week, so without further ado here’s what you should be seeing in the next seven days:

I Spy: The Spy with My Face – The second of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. films, and the first in the Region 2 box set.

Literally Speaking: No Way Out – The film that, along with The Untouchables, made Kevin Costner a star.

Watching the Detectives: John Wayne is McQ

Comic Tales: Fantastic Four

The Friday Night Fright: The Eye – The Pang brothers original.

The Weekend Western: Yankee – Tito Brass directed spaghetti western.

Saturday’s Alright For Fighting: Zatoichi the Outlaw – Number 16 in the long running series.

SF & Fantasy Sunday: Tokyo the Last Megalopolis - Live action version of a classic anime.

Time For An Upgrade… March 11, 2008

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Regular readers may be wondering what’s been going on with Mine Was Taller of late. After starting the year with a post (almost) everyday things have dropped off to the point where I haven’t written anything for almost two weeks. In part this was because I needed a break, having overloaded on watching and writing about films at the start of the year, but I intended that break to come to an end when I posted a couple of reviews at the end of February.

Which brings us to the reason I’ve been AWOL for the past couple of weeks. With the end of the HD format war I decided it was time to say goodbye to my old Panasonic 32in CRT TV which had served me well since I got my first DVD player almost 10 years ago, and, after much contemplation, I decided on a 40in Samsung LCD with full 1080p capability as its replacement. 

Last Wednesday it arrived and I’ve been basking in its glow for the better part of a week now. The same day I got a Home Theatre PC which does a nice job of upscaling SD DVDs, and I have plans to install a Blu-ray drive in it sometime in the next month or so.

For those who are yet to take the plunge it really is worth it, with DVDs (at least those with a decent transfer) looking better than they ever did on my old CRT set. In fact a simple rule of thumb seems to be that is something looked good before it will look better and if it looked bad before it will look absolutely dreadful.

Anyway now that I’ve got it set up I’ll hopefully get back to watching and writing again in the next few days.

Blog Related New Year’s Resolutions and Future Plans For Mine Was Taller January 1, 2008

Posted by Ian W in : Rants & Raves, Site News , 3 comments

It’s New Year, the perfect time for starting some new regular features on Mine Was Taller, and for making a few resolutions.

First up the resolutions:

1) Watch more DVDs than I buy. I seem to have become unable to pass up a bargain, and with the Bargain Forum so helpful in pointing them out it’s resulted in a large “To Watch” pile (actually pile is the wrong word, I wouldn’t want to think how high they’d go if stacked on top of each other but doing so is certainly unfeasible). I’m going to start passing up on some of those previously irresistible offers and also up the number of DVDs watched each week; time will tell how successful I’ll be

2) Read more some books. Since moving up to the midlands several years ago I seem to have lost the ability to read books. I’ve never been what you’d call a speed reader but I’ve always had a book on the go, yet in the last few years I’ve only completed one book (Don Siegel’s very enjoyable autobiography). It’s not like I’ve completely ignored the written word, I’ve read magazines and continued to feed my childhood comic addiction but books have fallen by the wayside. Hopefully that will change and you’ll see some of the fruits of that change here, including a review of Anthony Holden’s biography of Laurence Olivier (thanks for the Christmas present Kevin!).

That’s it for the resolutions, at least the one that might have an impact on this blog, now for the new features.

Over the last few months I’ve been doing themed days, this was partly to make choosing which DVD to watch a little easier by breaking down the aforementioned “To Watch” pile into smaller, less intimidating, sections but also because I used to love the “seasons” of films the BBC would do when I was younger and this gave me the chance to do something along similar lines. It’s been pretty successful, the number of hits has increased, as have comments, and if nothing else I’ve managed to reduce the number of animated films on DVD that are awaiting a first viewing to zero. With that in mind I’ve decided to add to these “seasons” and the week on Mine Was Taller should now look like this –

Monday: I Spy – Espionage in the movies, everything from Bourne to Flint, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold to The Spy Who Loved Me.

Tuesday: Literally Speaking – Book adaptations, both classic and not-so-classic.

Wednesday: Watching the Detectives – Sherlock Holmes, Mr. Wong and Mr. Moto continue, interspersed with one off films, including several starring Humphrey Bogart.

Thursday: Comic Tales – Superman to Man-Thing, Hollywood’s interpretations of classic comic book characters.

Friday: The Friday Night Fright – More horror, both classic and modern with The Last Man on Earth kicking the New Year off this Friday in “honour” of the latest version of Richard Matheson’s classic novel, I Am Legend.

Saturday: Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting – From Roadhouse to Ong-Bak, movies that kick ass.

Sunday: SF and Fantasy Sunday – A slight change to Sunday’s viewing, with the addition of fantasy films to the regular helping of science fiction. Again tying in with I Am Legend we start the New Year with another last man on earth film, The Quiet Earth.

Saturday/Sunday: The Weekend Western – More western action, both regular and the spaghetti variety.

Also continuing will be TV Tomb, which will delve into TV’s past on an irregular basis.

Well that’s the plan, we’ll see how it goes starting from tomorrow.

Things to come… July 15, 2006

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What will I find within these pages? I hear you ask. Or is that just the voice in my head again?

Well you’ll find reviews. Mostly film reviews but some of my other passions will creep in as well, namely books, comics and music. In the not too distant future you should be reading my views on Superman Returns, Don Siegel’s autobiography A Siegel Film and Kevin Smith’s first Green Arrow story Quiver plus lots more cool stuff.

You’ll also find comments rants on current movie related news and other things that bug me. The first of these already has a title - Disillusioned with American TV - and the rest should follow soon.

Lastly you’ll find my weekly viewing log complete with mini reviews. The first of these should be posted later today and will (hopefully) contain pretty pictures for you to look at.

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