I’m at the part of staycation where I’m losing track of days. This is not a complaint. Another week to go, and I already know I’m not going to accomplish all that I planned. This isn’t a complaint either. At any rate, with July 31st hitting mid next week, I figured I better get a blog in so as not to have a huge wrap up one to do next week. Plus it’s rainy as I write this, so with music playing, it’s pretty relaxing.
This past week also marked a month since dad passed away, and it’s still weird to deal with. I spent the day at the zoo looking at critters. Which is a nice way to spend the day, but I felt disconnected and was probably not as fun to be with as I like to think/imagine I typically am. This coming week we have a memorial to go to at the hospital he died in. I have mixed feeling about this, but will be going in support of mum. How many goodbyes is too many? This will feel like the fourth.
Anyway, on to the movies!
168 07-21 Kamikaze Hearts (1986) 3.5/5
This one is a love story between Sharon Mitchell and Tigr. Both are porn performers and at the time this was filmed, were in a relationship, using their real names. So this one plays like a documentary, though they claim it was planned out. It makes it very hard to see where the line falls between reality and performance, which makes sense since it is based around porn where the reality of sex is performed. It makes for a very human, and largely uncomfortable lesbian romance that is well worth a watch.
169 07-21 Riot in Cell Block 11 (1954) 4/5
This one is an early film from director Don Siegel who is probably best known these days for DIRTY HARRY and other Clint Eastwood films. This one is a pretty typical prison preachy about the horrors of prison. The draw though is Siegel keeps it lean and mean, with character actors at front instead of stars and shooting a bunch of it on location at Folsom prison, using inmates as extras. It helps to keep the tension up as well as the pacing brisk. Well worth a watch.
170 07-22 Escape Plan (2013) 2.5/5
Then you have this one. Featuring Sylvester Stallone as a prison expert wrongfully imprisoned in a jail designed to be unbreakable, based on his own book on how to make an unbreakable prison. High concept huh? Anyway, Stallone growls his way through this one as the genius expert that despite being freakishly huge due to human growth hormones can still manage to squeeze through tight spots to break out of prison. It’s all pretty goofy, but with a surprise named Arnold Schwarzenegger. Arnold manages to put in a hell of a performance in this one as a charming prisoner who helps Stallone. It was surprising to say the least when the last thing you would expect from a Stallone/Schwarzenegger team up is a good performance.
171 07-23 The Devil’s 8 (1969) 3/5
This one appears to be a rip-off of THE DIRTY DOZEN. A group of seven men (the federal agent leader makes up the eight, in case you though I couldn’t count), all serving long term prison sentences, are freed by the feds to take on a gang of moonshiners. Seems pretty extreme, having to use prisoners to take on moonshiners, the FBI really couldn’t handle that one themselves? It’s pretty dopey, but also a bit of fun since it’s an American International Drive-In B-Movie. I was quite surprised to see John “Apocalypse Now” Milius sharing a writing credit on this thing, but it explains the uber-macho dialogue. The soundtrack that constantly plays the main theme is ridiculous, as is the version with some of the dopiest lyrics ever to grace one of these pictures that plays over the final credits. So there it is, lot’s of fun to be had with this one, just don’t expect and adventure war classic like THE DIRTY DOZEN.
172 07-23 Parker (2013) 2.5/5
This one stars my boyfriend Jason Statham as a thief who gets betrayed on a job and proceeds to beat the living shit out of everyone involved. So it’s pretty much every Jason Statham movie. It has a strong cast featuring Nick Nolte (who has apparently lost the ability of speech and has to use growling tones to form words, making Stallone sound like Olivier in comparison) and Michael Chiklis who you will remember was “The Thing” in those shitty FANTASTIC FOUR movies from a few years back. The exception to the great cast is Jennifer Lopez, who continues to be just awful to watch in movies. Lopez, and the character she plays, is the only problem with the film, she only exists to create trouble for Statham, trouble that the main plot and subject does not need in anyway. If you cut her and her subplot out, and I think you could do it rather simply, the entire film would be better. It’s obvious that the only reason she’s in here is because some studio idiot thought they needed her to bring women to the theaters. In fact, I’m knocking this one down half a point from 3 stars since I get annoyed just thinking about it.
173 07-23 Deep Tango (1974) 2/5
This one is a hardcore porno comedy that just never works. I’m guessing it’s trying to be irreverent like I think DEEP THROAT is. I’ve still not seen DEEP THROAT so I can’t be sure. Anyway, it makes no sense plot wise, (it’s kind of a play on LAST TANGO IN PARIS with two people meeting up in an apartment for sex) and then in the last quarter it gets all 1970’s auteur dark that has you wondering WTF? I’m guessing the main draw for Vinegar Syndrome tackling it for release is it’s scarcity as well as being notable as being legendary actress Annette Haven’s second feature film credit. Haven is easily the best part of the film, though the main actor Keith Henderson is pretty good too (this appears to be his only film according to IMDB), and quite likable compared to most of the sleaze ball guys from the era. Still, it never really works as a comedy or a porn, just as an oddity.
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