Movie a Day! : 136-143 – A Letter Home

Right, no blog last week due to losing Dad. It’s sad, I might write a post about it all. I might not. I do have to keep the movie blog going though so here’s the first part of the month end post since I had too many titles to have only one post for the week. I’ll do the final recap for June later.

136 06-09 Breaking Bad Season 4 (2011) 4/5

Oddly enough, this continues to be great.

137 06-14 Jungle Blue (1978) 2.5/5
This one is by the director of the dreadful “Marilyn and the Senator.” It was also dreadful, but in the delightfully, gonzo way that is endlessly entertaining in its awfulness. It’s mostly a Tarzan spoof, but it’s edited so terribly it’s baffling-ly plotted. A strange mix of hardcore, crime plotting and wildlife footage that really has to be seen to be believed in that everyone of the above aspects seems to be thrown in all willy nilly. “We’ve shown too much hardcore, lets cut to the crime, now cut to animal footage, now back to crime. We forgot the hardcore, cut back to the orgy!” Yup, this one is a great, awful movie for sure!

138 06-15 Deadly Weapons (1974) 2/5
This one stars Chesty Morgan (not her real name), a Danish import notable only for her massive, freakish, 73” tits. Aside from the tits, she would be described as a “Handsome” woman. Anyway, basic plot here is a mobster gets whacked so his wife heads out to avenge his death by smothering his rivals with her massive boobage. It’s pretty terrible, Chesty is no actress and all her dialog is dubbed. It’s a holdout to the roughie days (directed by roughie legend Doris Wishman), so it doesn’t work as a softcore porn but is so odd it’s watchable and kind of fun. Porn legend Harry Reams is in it, and him and his amazing, almost fake in it’s awesomeness, mustache are about the best thing going performance wise. All the other guys in it are really gross and look like they have some kind of skin disease. In fact, nearly everyone in this is gross and unpleasant. Especially Chesty’s tits that just flop out and blurgh.

139 06-20 Breaking Bad Season 5 (2013) 4.5/5
So this is the final season and it’s about as perfect of a final season as you could hope for.

Series wise, it’s nice to have a show get massive raves and actually pay-off when you finally sit down to watch it. I didn’t think I’d power through the whole series in little over a month, you can blame mum for that since she was going out of her mind watching it. Anyway, everything you want in a show is here. Great performances, a plot that is consistently surprising without cheating, even with the cruel cliffhanger endings of most episodes. Humour that is derived naturally from the situations, not at the expense of plot or characters. It’s absolutely deserving of all the hype it gets. Like “The Wire”, I was ready to re-watch it immediately, but am holding off for now. (Though The Wire might get pulled from storage sooner than later…) Series get’s a 5/5 from me.

140 06-20 Vice Season 2 (2014) 4/5
This is an HBO news show based on the magazine of the same name, and every episode has me wondering “Why the fuck is the normal news not reporting this stuff?” I don’t always agree with their political views, and the completely disagree with their some of their corporate decisions/policies. None the less, the stories presented on this show, and their Youtube channel, are constantly interesting and thought provoking. Recommended, almost mandatory viewing in our current media stage where hollow entertainment rules.

141 06-21 The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) 4/5
This one was Orson Welles’ follow up to his groundbreaking film “Citizen Kane.” Of course, “groundbreaking” means “complete flop on initial release”, so RKO took this one away from Welles and cut a bunch out. So like all of Welles directorial efforts post “Citizen Kane” you can’t help but wonder “What could of this film been?” What is here is very good. This is basically a generational melodrama about the effect of the industrial age (personified by the automobile) on a proud family. Perfect performances and direction that feels modern even today, it’s a masterful. surprisingly dark 84 minutes of movie that’s well worth watching. What would the original, 148 min cut that Welles prepared be like? We’ll likely never know, RKO destroyed the footage. That’s why film preservation is important. Please click the link to SAVE THE ALAMO from rotting away in MGM’s vault.

142 06-21 Andy (1969) 3/5
This is a short film directed by Wakefield Poole of an Andy Warhol art show. Shot handheld on I think 8mm film, it’s pretty great with Poole doing some pretty fancy “in camera” editing. Poole presented the film to Warhol as a birthday gift. Later he would screen it prior to showings of his feature film debut, the first mainstream hardcore gay porn “Boys in the Sand”. We’ll get to that one later.

143 06-22 Neil Young – A Letter Home (2014) 4/5
This is a companion DVD to the deluxe edition of the album of the same name. I’m including it since it’s a proper film in it’s own right. The album was recorded in a 1940’s arcade recording booth direct to disc. This film has the video of each performance as it was recorded, as well as some extra bits with Young and Jack White between songs. So aside from presenting the music in a lossless format, it’s a cool document on the making of a record that gimmicks aside ended up being really good in it’s own right.

That’s it for now, the rest of June in a recap to follow.

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The Broken Record

No movie blog this week. I just haven’t had a chance to sit down to any movies. I’ve been watching “Breaking Bad” at a frantic pace, and the rest of my free time isn’t very free at the moment. Most evenings and chunks of the weekend is spent visiting my dad in the hospital where he is slowly being whittled down by cancer after fighting it for 8-9 years. It’s tough stuff and exhausting. Mum and I are doing our best. At any rate, I only have two titles in the can from last week, so I’ll blog them when I get up to five. I felt I should still post something so as not to feel like I’ve abandoned the blog, so here it is. Here’s some of the non-movie stuff I’m enjoying.

Podcasts:

I pretty much listen to podcasts exclusively now when out and about instead of music. I have a lot of favourites, but a recent one I find insanely funny. It’s “The Dollop” hosted by Dave Anthony of my beloved podcast “Walking the Room” and this episode, “Competitive Endurance Tickling“, is a must listen although they are all worth your while. Feel free to click the “Walking the Room” link and buy yourself a t-shirt. They’re good eggs, and the shirts are nice. It should go without saying that it’s NSFW due to language.

Music:

I pretty much exclusively listen to music at home now on my snooty record player. My most recent favourite is “Neil Young – A Letter Home”. The gimmick is that it was recorded in Jack White’s 1940’s arcade recording booth. Ends up that it’s the perfect venue for recording cover songs about the past. There’s a sense of loss to the whole thing, which is probably why it’s tweaking my brain so well at the moment. Check out this song, the haunting “Needle of Death” that I can’t stop listening to.

Books:

Please Kill Me” by Legs McNeil is a must read if you have any interest in the history of punk. Nuff said.

That’s about it for this one I guess. This week I turned forty and it had very little meaning to me. I mean, you’re supposed to go crazy with a midlife crisis at forty right? I’m just not feeling it though. Who knows, I got a year to go batshit crazy right?

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Movie a Day! 130-135: URGH!

So the past week was worse than the week before. I came down with a flu though, so I got in some movies that would not of been watched otherwise. Hooray for the flu! You know it’s a bad week when you’re happy to have the flu. Anyway, not a terrible start to June movie watching wise.

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130 06-01 Grand Theft Auto (1977) 3/5
No, I’m not counting video games as movies. This was Ron Howard’s directorial debut. It’s actually pretty good. On par with “Eat My Dust” at any rate. In this one, a girl steals her dad’s limo and takes off with Ron Howard to get married. So it’s a fantasy picture since no women would steal a car to run off with some gawky ginger like Ron Howard. It’s another massive chase film with lots of car crashes and spotty humour bits. Still, it works well enough, though not as entertaining as the video games, those are awesome. Don’t be fooled by the poster either, I don’t think Howard ever gets behind the wheel of the car. It’s all the girl driving, GIRL POWER!

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131 06-01 Urgh! A Music War (1981) 4/5
I blind bought this one having never heard of it, and it ends up being pretty much the greatest concert film ever! It’s a perfect snapshot of music in 1980. The Police are the big headliners, which is great since it’s from the period when they were awesome and not annoying. The rest of the show though is ridiculous in the best possible way. The Cramps, Dead Kennedys, The Go-Gos, Devo, Gary Numan, the awesome just keeps on coming! My only complaint is that it’s not 20 hours long and that Warner’s shit out a barebones, crummy DVD via their stupid “archives” program. Someone needs to do a proper release of this gem.

*I discovered while looking up the poster art that there is a 6 hour version of this film, featuring 3 songs per artist instead of the one song per artist in the film. It’s held up due to licensing issues. WE NEED THIS RELEASED! URGH!

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132 06-03 Jack the Giant Slayer (2013) 2.5/5
Finally sat down to this one since Bryan Singer’s next X-Men movie is finally out. It’s just dull. I don’t know if it’s trying too hard to be a “Lord of the Rings” type of thing or what, but it just doesn’t work. Ewan McGregor and Ian McShane are in fine form, but the rest of the cast, especially the lead “Jack” are the pits. So it’s hard to give two shits about anything when you don’t really care if the lead is going to get killed. There is also a fuck ton of giants, and they seem mostly to be there for snot and fart jokes. Which would be passable if the film itself didn’t look cheap and rushed. So screw this one. Another big budget, CGI jerk-off of a film with no proper story to engage you.

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133 06-03 Breaking Bad Season 3 4/5
Yup, this one is still good.

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134 06-04 Marilyn and the Senator (1975) 1.5/5
This one is the first misstep as far as releases from Vinegar Syndrome go. Presentation wise, it’s a complete win. The film looks great, there is a commentary with lead actor William Margold and a trailer. A top notch release. The problem is the film. The basic plot is a woman is desperate to get pregnant by a Senator. Ends up she’s a CIA agent, and the Senator is all for it. His wife finds out, and proceeds to over-fuck him so he can’t perform. Which isn’t the stupidest plot ever for a porn film, but not much of one for a TWO HOUR MOVIE! The director had big thoughts with this being a satire of Government in light of a porn crackdown, but it just doesn’t work. A big part of that problem is porn legend Bill Margold. He’s just unpleasant and a sap in this and just one of those actors I’ve never liked. The humour dies on the floor and everything just tests your patience to no end.

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135 06-04 Lust for Freedom (1987) 3/5
This one is a women’s prison movie from the 80’s, and it’s exactly what you think it is. Obnoxious, loud, goofy, big hair and a metal soundtrack. So it’s the PERFECT women’s prison movie from the 80’s. If you don’t believe me, check out the trailer. Vinegar Syndrome did a great job with this disc, and it was a great palate cleanser after the previous slog that was “Marilyn and the Senator.”

That’s it for now. Currently binging on Breaking Bad Season 4 and not much else, so there might again be a wait between posts longer than a week. Unless I get sick again and have to miss work. Let’s hope for that!

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Movie a Day! : 123-129 – The End of May

Right, having started binge watching “Breaking Bad” has cut into a lot of my movie watching, which is why there was no post last week. Plus it’s the end of the month, so I figured let’s wrap it all up. Was everyone okay? My lack of posting didn’t cause anyone concern?

First, let’s look at the movies I watched the last week of May. A really good documentary and some kick-ass Kung-Fu beside the usual porn and garbage!

123 05-25 Rewind This! (2013) 3.5/5
This one was a really good documentary on the rise and fall of VHS. It concentrates on the collectors, but also gives a good history of the first VHS/Beta tapes, sell through etc. I love these type of documentaries, as they both make me feel relieved that my collecting isn’t as insanely nerdy as others, and jealous of other collectors nerdy achievements and that they’re not seen as losers and have a peer group to hang with and stuff. I wonder what that’s like? Hanging out with a group of friends?

124 05-25 Miss Nymphet’s Zap-In (1970) 2.5/5
So, in 1968 a new sketch variety comedy show appeared on American television called “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.” It was pretty hip stuff, very sixties and made fun of American pop culture while celebrating it. It proved to be popular enough that the Godfather of Gore himself, Herschel Gordon Lewis, decided to go back to his nudie cutie roots and make a sexy spoof. This is the result. So painfully bad and cheap that Lewis used a pseudonym. When I say “bad and cheap” I of course mean by Lewis standards, which were shockingly low to begin with. We’re talking cheaper than Ed Wood here. Basically it’s a quick series of the worst puns and jokes disguised as skits, interspersed by staggeringly high/disinterested topless go-go dancers, and a group of people walking in a circle and fake freeze framing while shouting “ZAP!” Being from 1970, it’s completely out of touch with the audience it’s trying to attract. Too stupid for the comedy to be a draw, and with softcore transitioning to hardcore, to tame to draw the perverts. Actually, it’s too stupid to be anything but a curio really. The version I watched was in pretty rough shape, so Vinegar Syndrome gave it away! Free movie HERE! (Pay if you can)

125 05-25 Breaking Bad Season 2 (2009) 3.5/5
Not as exhilarating as the first season, but still a damn fine show. Nuff said.

126 05-25 Lady Whirlwind (1972) 3/5
So after the near constant complaining I’ve been doing recently over the “4 Action Movie Pack” set with the Gary Busey movie, I ended up buying a “Martial Arts Marathon” double feature disc by the same company. I will NEVER learn from my mistakes! This one is the second movie in the set, based on the cover art, but the first film on the disc based on the menu when you load it. It’s a proper 1970’s Hong Kong, Kung-Fu picture, so the first thing you have to do is turn on the shitty English dub track and turn off the subtitles. The only way to watch these is via the bad, Australian sounding dub tracks. I don’t know if the film is more dramatic in it’s original Mandarin, I will never know since I love watching these types of movies with the shitty dubs. Basic plot is “Lady Whirlwind” is after some guy who broke her sisters heart, causing the sister to commit suicide. Ends up the guy has his own vendetta going, and he asks Lady Whirlwind to hold off on kicking his ass so he can kick some other guys ass and fulfill his vengeance vow first. So it’s really convoluted, and the bad thing is that once the guy shows up, the film follows him more centrally than Lady Whirlwind. Which is a shame since Lady Whirlwind is really kick ass and the girl don’t need no man taking over her film! That said, the fights are pretty great and the movie moves and that’s good enough since I’m going to blow my brains out if I type “Lady Whirlwind” one more time.

*Just found the above poster. To cash in on “Deep Throat” it was released as “Deep Thrust”, despite not having anything remotely sexual in content. LOVE IT!

127 05-29 Hapkido (1972) 3.5/5
This one was the second film in the set with “Lady Whirlwind”, and boy was it good! Released the same year and also featuring Angela Mao, the basic plot is that of a trio of Chinese Hapkido students returning to China to open a school to help the Chinese people living under ruthless Japanese occupation. Of course, their peaceful plan doesn’t last long and a series of excellent shit-kicking Kung-Fu fights proceed. One of the trio is Sammo Hung, looking impossibly young and holy hell can he fight. This double feature set was a steal at $10, which is a good thing since I just received a 4-pack of martial arts movies from the same company. Remember, if it’s 70’s Kung-Fu, WATCH IT WITH THE SHITTY ENGLISH DUB!

128 05-30 Pretty Peaches 3 : The Quest (1989) 3/5
This is the second film in the Vinegar Syndrome double feature by Alex de Renzy. This one is again as much of a remake as opposed to a sequel, with the plot being pretty much the same. In this one Peaches (played by Keisha) is once again having confusing sexual dreams and heads out on a spiritual quest of sexual enlightenment. This one definitely has a cheaper budget, and framed for a direct to video release. That said, it actually has better production design, with the first few sex scenes having a surprisingly glossy and surreal look to them. The performances are on the whole better, with Jamie Gillis as a “Jimmy Stewart” pervo preacher and Jack Baker is genuinely hilarious as a tricky pimp. Being made this late in the 80’s, and on the cusp of the gonzo revolution, this one plays a bit like a last grasp by the filmmaker to make a proper narrative feature. He would make a few more in the 90’s, but will primarily concentrate on loop carriers that feature the word “anal” in the title under the pseudonym “Rex Borsky.” Anyway, it’s a lot better than I remember it from back in the 90’s when I more interested as porn as a device than a form and it should be interesting to see de Renzy’s earlier films since I’ve only seen a handful of his work.

129 05-31 Eat My Dust (1976) 3/5
This one is a Roger Corman produced car crash comedy. There was a bunch of car crash movies in the 70’s, “The Gumball Rally”, “Smokey & the Bandit”, lots of them! This one stars Ron Howard as a kid who steals a stock car off a track in order to impress a girl, and they take off on a massive car chase. It’s actually not bad considering the only reason Ron Howard agreed to star in it was for the chance to direct his first movie which ended up being for Roger Corman. We’ll get to that one next blog.

There it is! Corman!, Kung-Fu! TV! Wowsers! Let’s look at my totals for the month:

26  Watched    24 First Timers   0 In Theaters

Rats! I’m still off for a stupid movie a day! Sadly, most of it is due to added responsibility from Dad being so sick, he’s been in hospital since January. Which isn’t fun. Of course, watching a TV series is going to cut into the watching too. These days though, TV is better than most movies which is why I haven’t lost any sleep about not going to the theater.

Movie of the month: It’s a tie. I’m going with “Wolf of Wall Street” and that shitty “Bulletproof” with Gary Busey. The goddamned thing HAUNTS ME! Runner up is “Pretty Peaches 2” and “Rewind This!”.  Oh, and “Hapkido”. That one was pretty awesome too.

This month sucked, bring on June. I’m debating having a dark period for the summer where I turn off Twitter and Facebook. If I do, I’ll keep posting this blog.

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