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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!