Sunday Night Movie: MST3K Attack Of The Giant Leeches

leeches Not everything I watch is a classic film and I don’t always choose something for serious viewing.
When I want to have fun it rarely gets better than watching Joel (or Mike) and the ‘bots having at some terribly directed, written, and produced movie. I was not disappointed by MST3K’s take on Attack Of The Giant Leeches.
In the swamps of Florida, near Cape Kennedy, giant leeches are attacking people and making off with them. The leeches keep the people alive in a cave as sort of a blood larder. No one believes the survivors when they tell of monsters and soon it’s up to a local game warden, his lovely wife, and her father the doctor to prove what is happening and save the day.
This episode turned out to be one of the funniest I have seen. There was a moment when we had to pause the DVD while I recovered from laughing and my sweetie-wife recovered from pushing water through her sinus cavity. (German expressionistic humor does that to us.)

This was an early season where they still did invention exchange and the chemistry still worked like a charm.

If you are a fan of the show and haven’t seen this one, by all means get it.


DVD Review: The Brotherhood Of The Wolf

brotherhood_of_the_wolf Via Netflix my sweetie-wife and I watched the French film from 2001. Because I am currently struggling with a werewolf short story of my own, I have been renting and watching werewolf movies. Or at least movies I thought to be werewolf movies. The Brotherhood Of The Wolf is not a werewolf film.

The film is set in 18th century France, in the province of  Gevaudan, where a strange and terrible beast is killing people. Despite the best efforts of the local people and authorities the beast eludes all attempts to kill or capture it. The king sends one man, Gregoire de Fronsac (Samuel Le Bihan) the royal naturalist and taxidermist to deal with the trouble.  Fronsac brings along with him his friend and guide an American Indian, Mani (Mark Dacascos.) the pair find that things are not so straight-forward in the province. Roving gangs attack people at will and secrets seem to abound. They quickly make allies and enemies as they seek to uncover the nature of the beast that stalks the countryside.

This really is a very unusual film. It is a period film photographed in a rich and style that really capture the elegance and decadence of France shortly before the revolution. It is also a martial arts film (Though in the subtitles during the bonus features it was once referred to as a marital arts films. I’m not the only one who has to watch his typing.) Mark Dacascos is a Hawaiian martial arts expert and this is not wasted in the film. So this is a film with anachronisms, Mohawk Indians fighting like oriental monks, a large digital beast killing and maiming, and weapons (in the climax) that have to be rendered digitally because they could not be made and function as the director envisioned them.

Despite the flaws, primarily that the ending goes too far over the top, this is a film worth seeing. The biggest surprise to me came in the bonus material.

The Beast of Gevaudan is apparently a historical incident. There was some beast loose in that province at that time. It killed at least 122 people and evaded hunts that numbered more than 20,000 hunters. The King was forced to send troops to deal with the situation and they failed. According to the author of a book on the subject the beast was never properly identified. Some historians think it was wolves, but wolves do not attack people except in very rare situations. The film proposes one answer to the riddle of the Beast of Gevaudan — apparently a well known story in France — and the author has another.

This film is worth a look see.


Sunday Night Movie: Red Planet Mars

RedPlanetMarsHalfSheetSorry for being a little late with my Sunday Night Movie Feature, but I didn’t finish my Sunday Night movie until tonight, Tuesday night.
Exhaustion on Sunday prevented me from watching the film in a single seating as I prefer to do, and a migraine on Monday prevented me from doing anything at all except dragging myself through my day job.
So, onto the review and comments.
This week’s movie, Red Planet Mars (1952) I found what cruising through the list at Netflix. I’m a big fan of Netflix and especially of the instant-view capability through my Xbox 360. I saw the description and thought that this might be a campy movie worth a spin.
The film stars Peter Graves as scientist Chris Cronyn. Chris along with his fellow scientist wife Linda (Andrea King) have built a transmitter using new technology — the hydrogen valve — and are now attempting to contact the advanced civilization they believe is on the planet Mars. The world is thrown into panic and chaos by the messages they receive.

The film starts off strong, keeping fairly close to the science and paying attention to details such as the speed-of-light lag between Earth and Mars. It deals lightly, but does not ignore, the issue of finding a common means of communication between two beings without a common language. The characters are presented with consequences of the results of their messages. As Mars tells of fantastic life-spans and limitless energy whole industries panic and threaten to topple the economy of the west. There is a parallel story line about a German scientist working on his own hydrogen valve transmitter who is intercepting the messages for his Soviet masters.

This film did not work for me, but in order for me to tell you why it didn’t work I will have to deal in spoilers. Even though the film is 57 years old I’m going to put the rest behind a break for anyone who wants to avoid those mentioned spoilers.
Continue reading Sunday Night Movie: Red Planet Mars


The mendacious postings of Instapundit

I have a number or friends who trust Instapundit as reliable and non-partisan source of information on the web.
Just due the prodigious number of link and the vast number of subjects they cover his site is a valuable site as a jumping off point to the wild and wooly web.
However, he is not a non-partisan source of information when it comes to things political. Here’s a classic example of how his post can be tilted in their wording.

IT’S ONLY WRONG WHEN BUSINESSES DO IT: VA workers given millions in bonuses as vets await checks. “While hundreds of thousands of disability claims lay backlogged at the Department of Veterans Affairs, thousands of technology employees at the department received $24 million in bonuses, a new report says.”

If you just read the post – and given the number of posts per day at his site people will rarely if ever follow each and every link — you get the impression that someone is defending the bonuses given out at the VA. After all it’s only wrong when businesses do it. I suspected that there was more to the story than his quip and one quote. (My guess would have been just a large number of employee bonuses over the course of a year.)

If you click through to the story — which I recommend — on, you’ll find the that the tone of the story is very different than the tone presented by Instapundit.

A report issued by the VA’s Office of Inspector General said the department issued millions of dollars in awards over a two-year period in 2007 and 2008.
“The frequent and large dollar amount awards given to employees were unusual and often absurd,” the report stated.
The reports also called the payments “not fiscally responsible.”


The VA said it is pursuing a thorough review of the situation and it “does not condone misconduct by its employees and will take the appropriate corrective actions for those who violate VA policy,” according to a statement provided to CNN.

So while Instapundit posts it with the tone that Liberals and Democrats and other outraged by the huge bonuses recently given out on Wall Street are being hypocritical when it comes to government bonuses, the story itself is about how these abuses have been discovered by the inspector general and are being investigated and reviewed for action.

Instapundit is a cool site to visit and he presents lots and lots in link and information, but he is far from a non-partisan unbiased source.


An idea for Health Insurance Reform

So while I was washing the dishes I came up with an idea for Health Insurance reform.
Objective: Get everyone health insurance. Make it affordable. Give widest possible array of choice and interfere with what works in the current system as little as possible.

1) Let insurance companies sell policies across state line.
2) Mandate that everyone must have health insurance just like auto.
3) Policy products can NOT have their pricing vary based on the customer. For example. BIG HEALTH INSURER has Policy PPO Platinum, everyone who buys that policy says the exact same premium. The price of the product is independent of the customers condition.
4) No one can be turned away from health reasons or pre-existing conditions.
5) All policies are open to all customers. (A company cannot say, you can only buy from this list and not that. If I pay for it you have to sell it.)
6) The poor get government assistance in paying for their policies.

This solves the problems of people with pre-existing condition being priced out of the market. It requires everyone be in the pool to spread the risk. It leaves the final solutions to the market, which I think works better than state solutions.

IF this did not work, then we could look at public-options and such, but I think this would give the market a chance to make it happen.