Movie a Day! : 024-034 – The End of January

Howdy film fans! Welcome back to the blog! 10 big films in this one to finish off the month of January. Don’t be scared, the comments are as short as ever so it wont take you all day to read. I figured since at this point my movie watching dipped I would compile more films in here. My movie watching continues to be rather slow, so I’m thinking by next week we should all be caught up.

Let’s get on with it, here’s the last films I watched in January!

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024 01-24 Cover Girl (1944) 2.5/5
B-Level Musical starring Rita Hayworth and Gene Kelly. It’s well done and notable for being more serious and psychological than a typical musical, but it kind of plods along as well. Many of the numbers with Kelly will be sort of revisited later (and done to perfection) in “Singing in the Rain”. The standout number is of course a Gene Kelly ballet featuring him confronting a spectral image of himself, and dancing both parts. Also notable for Phil Silvers in a supporting roll as a song and dance man.

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025 01-25 Hayseed Romance (1935) 2/5
026 01-25 Tars & Stripes (1935) 2/5
027 01-25 The E-Flat Man (1935) 2/5
These are 3 more of Buster Keaton’s sound films for Educational, and none of them are very notable so I don’t have much to say. The best gags in each of them where done better in his silent pictures.

028 01-25 The Timid Young Man (1935) 3.5/5
Just when I’m ready to write off the rest of Keaton’s sound shorts, Mack Sennett shows up to produce and direct one and saves the day. So far this is the best one yet, with some more inspired gags and a big push in the pacing. So i guess I’ll watch disc 2.

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029 01-25 The Act of Killing (2012) 4/5
This is the type of documentary that sits beside “Shoah” and has a depressing chat. It’s not pleasant by any means, but still a brilliant, disturbing and fascinating film. It tells the tale of the mass killings that happened in Indonesia in 1965 by having the military enforcers responsible re-enact their crimes in different film styles. Watch it.

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030 01-26 Herschell Gordon Lewis: The Godfather of Gore (2010) 3.5/5
Pretty damned fine documentary by Something Weird Video on HG Lewis. Lewis is notorious in film for two reasons; introducing extreme gore to the “Nudie Cutie” exploitation circuit, and being horrendously cheap and borderline inept at making movies. This doc  pretty much sticks to the films as opposed to personal stories, with lots of interviews and clips, including some fun outtakes. I thought it odd that they skipped some titles, but ends up they’re on the hour or so of outtakes. Also included on the disc is a pretty fun additional short film. Basically, if you ever wondered about Lewis and the invention of the gore film, this is $20 very well spent.

031 01-26 Hot Night at the Go-Go Lounge (?) 2.5/57
This is the short featured on the “Godfather of Gore” disc, a nudie running about 10 minutes featuring a couple of topless dancers dancing for a handful of guys in a basement made to look like a club. So rare I can’t find a release date for the thing (I’m guessing 1964), it’s pretty fun in the wacky dumb way these things typically are. Notable for an extended version of “The Monkey” and a pretty good twerk. I think, I might not know what twerking is.

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032 01-28 Tonight and Every Night (1945) 2.5/5
Another Rita Hayworth musical, this one telling the true story of a music hall show in Britain that never missed a performance during the blitz. Surprisingly serious in tone for a musical, and not as “Rah-RAH!” on the propaganda front as you would suspect. Hayworth is absolutely gorgeous to watch in this one, but the end result with a forced romance is a little flat.

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033 01-29 Lord of the Flies (1963) 4/5
The first adaptation of the William Golding’s book continues to the best one. Natural acting kids, all shot on location, it feels as much like a documentary than it does a fiction.

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034 01-31 Gilda (1946) 4/5
This one is a really well done film noir starring Glenn Ford as a down on his luck schlub trying to escape the memory of a woman, and Rita Hayworth as the woman. Beautifully filmed with a plot that isn’t afraid to take it’s time to tell it’s story. Rita’s striptease doesn’t hurt the film either.

So my final totals for January are as follows:

34 Watched, 29 First Timers, 0 In Theaters.

So off to a strong start in the challenge. With the ongoing cancer dad situation though. we’ll have to see if I can keep the numbers up. Suspense! Let me know if 10 films is too much. I plan once caught up to do a “Weekly” round up.

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Movie a Day! 17-23

Whoa hey! It’s Friday, time for another post! Another busy day so I’ll be brief. I watched a real crazy selection of films in this batch, from the piece of shit “Spring Breakers” to the surprisingly good but terribly named “Mud”. Let’s check it out!

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017 01-12 Spring Breakers (2013) 2 / 5

Sick with the flu, so I thought I’d watch this for some laughs. It’s pretty shit really, and far too in love with itself to really be all that entertaining. I missed the point of it, which is a shame since I typically like Korine’s work and was looking forward to this one.

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018 01-13 The Candidate (1964) 2.5/5

This is the first film of a Vinegar Syndrome double feature, and is paired with “Johnny Gunman” which will be reviewed shortly. This one seems to be the main draw on the disc with Mamie Van Doren and Ted Knight starring in a very tame sexploitation about politics and scandal. When the most impressive thing in the movie is the opening credit sequence instead of Mamie in various states of near nudity, you’re in trouble. The main problem is that it tries to be classy instead of diving fully into the tropes of trashy exploitation. Still, it’s fun enough to mostly hold your interest.

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019 01-13 Johnny Gunman (1957) 3/5

Who knows where the people at Vinegar Syndrome found this zero budget independent gangster picture from New York, but it’s cool that they did. A woman is spending her last night in New York after failing to become a writer, and meets up with Johnny who’s just gotten involved in a turf battle. It’s certainly amateur, but it’s surprisingly well made with both some clever shots and editing to hold your attention through the more melodramatic parts. A sweet little find and well worth a watch.
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020 01-13 Fanny Hill (1964) 3/5

It’s hard to believe, but after all of these years of movie watching, I’ve never seen or read an adaptation of Fanny Hill. Maybe that’s not so hard to believe. Anyway, I can’t tell you if this is accurate to the source material, but I’m going to go with it not being very accurate at all since it’s a work for hire comedy noted mostly for being directed by Russ Meyer’s, king of the titty picture. His eye is evident here, but the main problem is this is a directing job by Myer instead of one of his actual productions, so things are very restrained. That said, it is still a bit of fun both in the screwball comedy and gorgeous buxom beauties brought to the screen. All in impressive Hi-Def Bluray by those Vinegar Syndrome folks I love so much which means that this is, at present, the only Hi-Def Russ Meyer film available. Which is a shame since his catalog deserves better representation than the current 15 odd year old transfers currently available at extortion prices on his own website.

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021 01-17 Standard Operating Procedure 4/5

Errol Morris takes a look at the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal by talking to the people involved in the photos. I think this is my third time sitting through it, and it continues to be fascinating and insightful. Morris is such a master storyteller when it comes to documentaries that despite being more than a little uncomfortable and disturbing, it completely draws you in and more importantly, doesn’t give you any easy answers so you’re forced to draw your own conclusions. More famous documentary filmmakers like Morgan Spurlock and Michael Moore could take a lesson from Morris.

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022 01-18 Mud (2012) 4/5

Blind bought this one based on word of mouth, having no real idea what the film was. Ends up it’s a coming of age story about a pair of boys who discover a fugitive and help him escape. Of course, like many classic films, there is a hell of a lot more going on in the story than that simple blurb, with things like love and loss, the future and nostalgia and many others things being touched upon. Backed with some dead solid performances ,this one gets a strong recommend.

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023 01-19 The Phantom Gunslinger (1970) 2/5

This one was paired in the same set as “Fanny Hill”, due to being directed by Albert Zugsmith, who produced and directed  sequences of “Fanny Hill” (uncredited or approved by Russ Meyers, causing Myers to disown the picture.) Phew! Anyway, this one isn’t any good. Imagine if you will, a live action version of “Looney Tunes”, mixed with a Max Sennett silent slapstick comedy done on the cheap and you will have an idea of what this one is. It simply doesn’t work despite the ambitious attempt. Lame gag follows lame gag, and even some clever things fall flat. It’s a cool bonus to have and certainly a curiosity, but I doubt I’ll ever revisit it despite how strange it is.

That’s it for this batch folks! Keen eyed readers will notice some “Vinegar Syndrome” links copied in the reviews. These link to the product pages of the titles, that features some fun trailers. I love what this company is doing and am a big supporter. So support them if you like trashy/cult porn and exploitation. They’re doing the good work. I get no benefit, I’m just a fan.

Be sure to check in next week to see what else I watched in January. This is a weird blog, it should be better when it stops looking at the past right? Share!

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Movie a Day! 011-016

Busy day at work today, so my intro shall be brief! Thanks to those who have been following so far, even the robots! Do you delete the robot followers on here, or do we care enough to bother? Anyway, tell your friends and what not about this blog and spread the movie love!  This installment finds us finishing the second week of January.

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011 01-07 Palooka From Paducah (1935) 2.5/5
The next Keaton in the set, this one relies on typical Hillbilly gags about moonshine. Notable for having some players return from his independent silent days, but the whole thing falls pretty flat.

 

012 01-09 One Run Elmer (1935) 2.5/5
Another Keaton, in this one he’s a gas station attendant out to impress a girl from a rival. Not particularly memorable.

013 01-10 Galaxy of Terror (1981) 2.5/5
This one is part of “Roger Corman’s Cult Classics” so you know going in it’s going to be goofy. It’s basically an Alien/Fantastic Planet mash-up about a crew going to a planet to investigate a base that has lost communications due to an alien attack. The Alien is kind of clever in that it appears to be a manifestation of each individuals fear so it’s appearance is constantly changing. Now the weird thing is that this plays out a bit like a low rent “Aliens”, except it’s before “Aliens” came out and James Cameron worked on this one in the art department. Kind of neat. Plus the obligatory nude scene is a rape via a giant maggot and Sid Haig plays his part silent, so there you go.

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014 01-10 Oriental Babysitter (1976) 2.5/5
This is the second film of a porno double feature put out by Vinegar Syndrome’s “Drive-In Collection” series. It’s basically a loop carrier with Linda Wong, the “Oriental Babysitter”  narrator of the title, telling stories of her adventures in babysitting. It’s pretty fun, mainly because she sounds completely stoned and the dialog is ridiculous. Sadly, after a whirlwind 20 minutes they kind of drop the plot and narration leaving a rather dragging final 50 minutes to wade through. The first film in the set (The First Time) was the better picture, and at $12 not a bad deal.

015 01-11 Tales From The Lumberyard: The Making of “Galaxy of Terror” (2010) 3.5/5
Another case where the making of is better than the movie. Lot’s of great stories by most of the principal cast and crew for the film and some cool behind the scene shots. James Cameron is absent, which is good since there are some pretty good tales of what a dick he was being told.

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016 01-11 Corman’s World : Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel (2011) 4/ 5
Dad had a few questions about Roger Corman after “Galaxy of Terror”, so I spun him this documentary. It was as fun the second time around, and I can’t come out of it not thinking that Corman is the most influential filmmaker, period.

A pretty trashy week huh? That Roger Corman documentary though is a must see. After this week (in January when these movies got watched as opposed to the week in mark I posted this) the wheels really fall off as my dad goes into the hospital with a broken neck caused by cancer. So some things like the Zatoichi and Bowery Boys movies fall to the wayside, to be watched if he gets out (future still pending). So the upcoming posts will feature more films covering longer periods than these initial posts. Until I catch up, then I don’t know what’s going to happen with this blog. I’ll try to keep it regular folks!

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Movie a Day: 005-010

Hey look! The new blog made it to two posts! Very exciting stuff! In this one we see my comments on Buster Keaton films and Zatoichi. I have been slowly going through both Keaton’s filmography, and received the Criterion collection set of Zatoichi films in 2013, so a lot of those films were previously discussed in 2013s list, that isn’t featured in this blog. If there is demand I can repost the odd bit from last year, but at this point I’m going to skip it and keep playing catch up. At any rate, as can be seen here, the post silent era of Keaton had been mostly miss for me by this point.

That’s about it for this recap. Yay movies! Enjoy! Feel free to discuss films in detail in the comments!

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005 01-04 The Passionate Plumber (1932) 1.5/5
Another one of Busters talkies from MGM. None of them have been particularly good, and this one really suffers since Buster seems handcuffed in the dialog and gets no chance to do the pantomime that made him famous. Typically, Jimmy Durante steals the show in these, but even he falls flat. Thankfully, this is the last of the MGM pictures that I own and I don’t plan to seek out anymore so I can move on with my Buster Keaton watching.

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006 01-04 The Place Beyond the Pines (2012) 2.5/5
I was expecting this one to be a typical crime drama, and was surprised it’s actually a generational family drama with a crime background. Basically it’s about fathers and sons and how one affects the other. Frankly it tries too hard and ends up being a bit of a mess by the end despite being full of good performances.

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007 01-04 The Gold Ghost (1934) 3/5
By 1934 Buster Keaton had hit the booze fueled skids at MGM, who dumped his contract after bleeding his career dry by reusing his classic gags in films by Red Skelton and the Marx Brothers. Keaton found himself without a career, and joined up with skid row movie producers “Educational Films” to restart his career by doing the short comedies that made him famous in the first place, only now with sound. This is the first one, and it’s pretty solid. Keaton seems to be in control, and the gag of a rich socialite running away to a ghost town only to get bombarded by a new gold rush is a lot of fun. On par with his silent work at any rate.

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008 01-05 Hated: GG Allin & The Murder Junkies (1993) 3.5/5
Stumbled upon this one on YouTube of all places and since I always meant to watch it, I did! Absolutely fascinating look at Allin. Forget Marilyn Manson, GG was truly dangerous, his shows being literal criminal assaults on the paying audience. I’m not going to pretend that he was some amazing talent. His music is pretty much the most base, shitty hardcore going. His absolute fearlessness though is, well, truly fascinating and strangely admiral in light of the horrid phoniness of all things mainstream that seems to be trying to reach new heights these days. He absolutely lived the life he preached, and it of course ended up killing him. It had too, and this documentary is a must see.

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009 01-05 Allez Oop (1934) 2/5
The second of Keaton’s shorts for Educational, and it’s a bit of a step down. A pretty basic romance plot that has it’s moments. Sadly, most of the moments are gags he did better in previous movies.

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010 01-06 Zatoichi’s Flashing Sword (1964) 4.5/5
Holy shit was this one good! A woman is killed after her litter is mistaken by Ronin to be that of Zatoichi’s, leaving an orphan baby. Zatoichi vows to return the little guy to his father and in typical fashion, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Really good action with genuinely heartwarming interactions with the baby, balanced by a gloomy sadness and desperation for redemption, this movie has everything.

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Movie A Day!

Right, after much gnashing of teeth, I’ve decided to revive the blog. This is hard for me to do. While I continue to be a self centered egomaniac, I am also aware that the last thing anyone needs to do is read a movie blog. That said, I feel that since I’m watching a “Movie A Day” and tracking it anyway, it will help my brain to write a bit so I might as well post it.

Goals: None other than to not have my brain turn to mush.

Rules: While this will mostly be about movies, it will periodically be about other things. I will eventually have a “Title” format to differentiate blogs. I am making no promises as to how regular I post, or if this will get abandoned in a giant hissy-fit like my “1001 Albums You Should Listen To Before You Die” blog did. There is a very good chance that this will get abandoned. You are warned!

So I’ve been tracking my movies since January first. I’m already nearly three months behind in posting. As a result, I will be posting 5 or so movies at a time until I am caught up, at which part I’ll probably revert to a “weekly rundown” kind of format. If I get any feedback on format, I will appreciate it.

MOVIE BLOG RULES

It’s called “Movie A Day”, but it’s not actually a movie a day anymore. I have too much going on personally with medical things wildly beyond anyone’s control. To the point that my movie watching has dropped dramatically since December 2013. That said, I still plan on watching at least 356 movies this year so I’m keeping the name. Won’t it be exciting to see if I can get in 356 movies this year? Of course!

Despite being “Movie A Day”, I also count TV series. The way I count them is by season, so “X-Files Season One” would count as one movie despite being 26 hours long or whatever. I only count TV series on the day I finish them. The exception is anthology style shows where each episode is a separate story. Those will probably be reviewed as singles, though currently I’m not watching any.

I hate movie reviews that break down the plot by plot point, so there are no plot recaps and virtually no spoilers in my reviews. They are incredibly vague plot wise on purpose. If something is deemed missing, leave feed back. If you want to know the entire plot of a movie, wiki or iMDB can get you that information. These are mini-reviews, for the most part.

I’m not entirely sure how to use this site, so I apologize now for any formatting issues. My grammar continues to be piss poor, so no apologies for that, but feel free to offer POLITE suggestions on improvement./corrections.

Format for posting is “Film Number”, Date (Month, Day) Title (Red if a first time viewing, Black if a repeat viewing, Blue if a theatrical), Year of production, and my rating out of 5 with 1 star being the worst, 3 stars meaning I’d watch it again and 5 being the best of the best.

Here we go!

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001 01-01 Feudin’ Fools (1952) 3.5/5

This entry in the “Bowery Boys” film series changes up the usual urban setting to a country one when the Boys head out to the country after Satch inherits an Uncle’s farm. This sets up a typical Hatfield/McCoys scenario, and so as not to totally alienate fans of the series, Lyle Talbot shows up as a gangster on the run. At any rate, the change up is enough to breath some life and fun into this one.

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002 01-01 City Lights (1931) 5/5

Charlie Chaplin’s masterpiece is one of the best films ever made. The simple story of the Tramp and the Blind Flower Girl continues to be completely charming and ends with me being all teary eyed and in love with the idea of being in love. This is no regular Rom-Com either, there’s plenty of political satire in this to keep alert viewers on their toes. This viewing was via Criterion’s recently released Blu ray and the film has never looked or sounded better.

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003 01-01 Star Trek Season One Extras (2009) 4/5

Watched the rest of the special features on the Season One Blu-ray. Hours of stuff, from “Starfleet Access” on certain episodes that feature talking head interviews and pop upsas substitutes to commentaries, to proper featurettes. Entertaining, informative and fun. I look forward to getting into season two, which I started last week. Well, one episode anyway.

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004 01-03 The Hunger Games (2012) 3.5/5

Revisited this one since I plan to catch the sequel. I enjoyed it on the second run through, but continue to find it a bit off outside of the actual Hunger Games bits. Catniss has pretty much zero personality when she doesn’t have a bow in her hand. It also seems to be setting up a bullshit love triangle in the sequels which, if it happens, is going to leave a bad taste in my mouth.

Well, there it is. My first blog in over a year. Ugh. I should note that I never did get out to see “Catching Fire”, so that review wont be showing up until the blu-ray hits a $15 or less price point. See, lot’s of excitement over here in the Porn Bunker!