Movie A Day! : 204-213 “Big Hunka Love”

Two posts in one week! You lucky lucks! This one catches up the rest of the films I watched during the last week when I wasn’t posting due to the cloud of moodiness. I ended up watching quite a bit due to throwing my back out and being barely able to walk around by the time I got home from work. Nothing enables movie watching like sickness or physical pain. I mean, I’d rather lay about and watch movies anyway. When you’re healthy and watching movies, you’re lazy. If you’re sick though, you’re getting better and doing the right thing. Let’s all get incurable but non-fatal diseases so we can be empowered to watch more movies!

204 08-17 Elvis : That’s the Way It Is (Special Edition) (2001) 3.5/5
This is a concert film documenting Elvis’s return to live performances via his opening week in Las Vegas. It’s great. Elvis is a bundle of nerves, and the energy is contagious when he gets going. His voice is fantastic and he really does look like a King. You could argue that he is at his peak here, from here on it’s all a slide downhill into drugs and poor health. This version concentrates more on performance and cuts a bunch of the interview type material that made the original film from 1970 fun but severely dated. On another note, every poster for this sucked. Look at that fucking outfit, why not show him in the dazzling white suit he’s seen in the film in?

See? Already a better picture for the poster despite the doof on bass behind him.,0,214,317_AL_.jpg

205 08-18 Zatoichi’s Pilgrimage (1966) 3.5/5
This one finds Zatoichi again grappling with the morality of killing hundreds (thousands?) of men, so he decides to begin a pilgrimage to the 81 temples to find enlightenment. Guess how it goes? Another fantastic edition, that also featured one of the best scenes yet of his swordsmanship in the opening.

206 08-19 No Time for Sergeants (1955) 4/5
Based on the introduction, this was Andy Griffith’s debut on live television (via the United States Steel Hour), and his first experience acting in a play. It’s an absolutely amazing performance, and you can literally see his star being born. From here he would move on to winning a Tony for the Broadway adaptation, then his TV series. The play itself is hilarious, and a rare example of comedy being performed on live television as opposed to the typical dramas.

207 08-20 A Brief History of Time (1991) 4/5
Errol Morris is a master of the documentary, and this one is no exception. Spending equal time with Stephen Hawking’s biography and theory explanation, it manages to never be boring and surprisingly accessible to people like me whose brain starts to sing “LA LA LA LAAAA”  when physics are being explained. I guess the only knock you can have against the film now is that it’s twenty plus years out of date, and I think the theory presented has been disproved, or changed or whatever happens with the science. Fucking science, always changing. They’re redoing Cosmos now! Fucking kids and their new science!

208 08-22 This Is Elvis (Extended Video Version) (1981) 4/5
Elvis week continues! This one is a straight up documentary detailing his life. The good is that it features a whole bunch of clips of Elvis, mostly of song performances. The bad is that they have actors recreating parts of his life, and a guy narrating the film as Elvis in the first person but kind of from the afterlife. It makes it unnecessarily weird, especially the opening scenes of his last night alive in Graceland. That said, you do get a good picture of his life, and they don’t hold back on the negatives either. If all you know is “Fat Elvis” of popular culture, you owe it to yourself to see some of this stuff to see why he was the King. Plus theirs priceless footage of him stoned out of his skull, kicking members of his Memphis Mafia in the nuts during a karate demo. Seriously, MUST SEE STUFF!

209 08-23 The Dragon Tamers (1975) 3/5
At first glance, this one is a typical Kung-Fu picture about some guy wanting to challenge some other guy to see who’s the better fighter and getting mixed up in some school clash. What separates this one though, is it’s the second picture directed by John Woo. Being a huge fan of THE KILLER and HARD BOILED, two films that I would put at the top of any “Best Of” list, it was fun to see Woo working in the Golden Harvest trenches. Even at this point you can see his style coming to form, with slow motion and other style tricks. The plot too, with heavy emphasis on loyalty and friendship fit solidly into the Woo cannon. The opening girl fight in the mud though, not so much, that bit seems more at home in a women in prison film. Which isn’t a bad thing.

Machete Kills Movie Poster

210 08-23 Machete Kills (2013) 3/5
I liked this one much more than I thought I would. Don’t get me wrong, I obviously love trash, and I’m a big fan of Robert Rodriguez and his homemade films. It’s more of a case of just how good can the second film of a series based off a fake trailer be? Ends up nearly as good as the unlikely first film. I think it would of played better a smidge shorter on a double bill, which really is how these films should be seen but never well since GRINDHOUSE shit the bed at the box office. Shame on all of you who skipped seeing that one in the theaters. Anyway, it’s big, it’s stupid and it leaves a big smile on your face. I really hope they do the MACHETE KILLS IN SPACE movie, that one looks amazing.

211 08-23 Candy Goes To Hollywood (1979) 3/5
This is the sequel to THE EROTIC ADVENTURES OF CANDY, and is the better film. Thora Birch’s mom Carol Connors is back in the lead role, this time heading to Hollywood where she gets hooked up with a sleaze-bag agent played by John Leslie who sends her out to numerous shows to get taken advantage off. The spoofs of the Tonight Show and The Gong Show are pretty fun, and John Leslie is actually a really good actor who could of had a career outside of porn. The real cult draw, and the reason why I had seen this one previously, is the appearance of pre-Plasmatics punk legend Wendy O. Williams shooting ping pong balls out of her pussy during the Gong Show spoof. So obviously this one is on the very top of all of your “Must See” lists. Another winner, double feature from Vinegar Syndrome.

212 08-24 An American Hippie in Israel (1972) 2/5
This one is considered a cult classic, but it left me completely flat. It’s what the title says, an American hippie arrives in Israel and starts preaching his hippie horseshit. It’s funny and of it’s time, but it’s more BAD bad then fun bad, with constant preaching about “The Man” and the evils of war. It just never worked. I picked it up since the company that did the blu-ray, Grindhouse Releasing have been dead solid in the past. Oh well, you can’t like everything.

213 08-24 The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou (2004) 4/5
More Wes Anderson guys! I’m not going to get too into it other than to say that once again I was surprised at how good it was. It’s such a goofy premise, some guy hunting down a shark that killed his first mate, but the cast is so good, and the script so tight, and Bill Murray so perfect that I just loved the shit out this one.

There it is! What’s left to say? I’m really enjoying the Wes Anderson films on the second go round. Elvis is awesome and who doesn’t love ping-pong? This really is the greatest blog, you should tell all your friends to follow me. Maybe I’ll get a sponsor? That’s how you get rich on the internet right? I mean, my webcam shows aren’t doing anything, this is all I got!


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Movie A Day! : 194-203 “Catching Up”

Right, time to get caught up with the movies! Despite the mood of the past couple weeks, I’ve kept up the movie watching. I’ll keep this introduction short since we have 10 titles to get through. Let’s do it!

194 08-07 Zatoichi’s Vengeance (1966) 3.5/5
Another Zatoichi film, another amazing time. This one finds Zatoichi once again trying to fulfill a dying mans wish and getting mixed up with Yakuza intrigue. This one was a little different in that on his travels he meets a blind monk that acts as his conscience and makes Zatoichi question his use of the sword. It helps add yet another nuance to the character, and draws out even more tension. It’s hard to believe, but Katsu continues to get even better as the lead character, becoming both badass and terrifying in the final moments of this one. So another recommend.

195 08-09 Rushmore (1998) 4.5/5
Revisited this one. I think this is my third viewing, and I continue to like it more each time. You would think that Wes Anderson’s style would make for a cold film, but the humanity and emotion on display in this is pretty much perfect, with performances to match. Has Bill Murray ever been better?

196 08-09 Hot Lunch (1978) 2/5
This is the second half of the double feature PEEKARAMA disc that featured BABY ROSEMARY. It’s by the same director, and is an attempt to be a goofy comedy that doesn’t really work as a comedy or a porno. Jon Martin does what he can as the lead, in a part that’s kind of like a reverse on the Candide model that is so common in this era of Porno Chic. He plays a bit of a doof who gets mixed up in all sorts of carnal situations. It just never works well enough to elevate it over the usual sex films.

197 08-10 Silicone Valley Season 1 (2014) 4/5
A new TV series by Mike Judge is always something I’ll check out. It’s only one season in, but I would say this might be his strongest work. He’s perfectly nailing start-up culture while also having strong characters that you end up caring about. It helps that a couple of my favourite stand-up comedians are doing some strong acting as well. The eight episode season ended perfectly with an epic dick joke. Can’t wait for season 2.

198 08-10 Patterns (1955) 3.5/5
Written by Rod Serling, and performed live on TV via the “Kraft Theater” program, this is a tough look at the corporate world. Basic plot is that of a young executive brought in solely to replace an aging vice president. Pitch perfect performances, including a masterful one by Orson Welles player Everett Sloan and a no holds barred look at American greed make this one a hell of a treat.

199 08-11 The Association (1975) 4/5
This is easily the sleaziest Kung-Fu film from the seventies I’ve seen. Basic plot is, a female detective is executed after killing a doctor who rape/murdered a patients wife when the patient could no longer pay for treatment. The executed detective’s squad go on the hunt to uncover the plot behind the murder, and holy hell is it sleazy! A female cult is giving illegal abortions (with a whole topless dancing ritual) that is accidentally murdering girls in a secret prostitution ring that is backed by high members of the government. With near constant nudity and a lead that looks like Bruce Lee with a perm kicking the shit out of everyone, this one was constantly entertaining and I’m guessing the best film in the 4-pack I bought for $10.

200 08-15 The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) 4/5
After Rushmore I decided to re-watch all the Anderson films I have since I’ve been slowly upgrading them to Blu-Ray via the Criterion Collection. This is the first of his to completely lock in the near dollhouse like style that he is known for. It’s starts off a little cold, but once you get use to the cast of characters, you get in deep.

201 08-15 The Erotic Adventures of Candy (1978) 2.5/5
As you can guess, this is yet another take on the Candide films! Hooray! This one follows college girl Candy on her quest to learn about sex and features her getting taken advantage of by every guy in sight. It’s not as good as the PRETTY PEACHES films I reviewed previously, mainly due to tone. It’s pretty straightforward stuff with the main draw being the cast of superstars like John Holmes. It’s not enough to keep the film interesting though.

202 08-16 Elvis : Aloha From Hawaii (1973) 4/5
Seeing as it was the anniversary of Elvis’s death this weekend, we gave this one a view. I’ve seen it dozens of times. It’s not Elvis’s greatest performance, but his last great one. He whipped himself into shape for this, which was broadcast via satellite all over the world, a truly epic event. He looks and sounds great. Seeing how the mention of his name these days is basically a punchline, it’s easy to forget how devastatingly good he was at interpreting a song. It’s all on display here, and well worth a look.

203 08-16 The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981) 3/5
This one is a remake of a film noir from the forties that I watched last year (and gave 4 out of 5). Featuring Jack Nicholson and Jessica Lange in the lead roles of lovers with murderous intentions, it captures the grime and tone of the era it depicts, it just never fully works. There’s nothing wrong with it, it just never held my interest like the original did. It also seems to go on too long. It’s from 1981, but it feels like a seventies auteur film (which makes sense seeing as it was directed by Bob Rafelson, who directed Nicholson in FIVE EASY PIECES, a superior film) and it’s energy peters out will before it ends. So watch the original (with the stunning Lana Turner).

Not a bad week of movie watching, with some pretty great titles and a couple of fun revisits! I hit the two hundred film mark by accidentally re-watching THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS which might mark the first time I’ve hit a milestone type number with a good movie. Keep your eye’s peeled for a second post later this week to catch us right up!

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Brain Dump

“What a fucking world we live in where Robin Williams wakes up depressed and all these other assholes have smiles on their faces.” – Some guy on Twitter

Just a quick post to say that this blog has not been abandoned. Movies are still being watched and tracked, and this blog will be updated next week to catch you all up with the mini reviews you know and love.

So why the absence? Last week was a horrible week. Robin Williams hit me harder than it should of. I’m blaming lingering unresolved issues from my dad passing from a couple of months ago. Tomorrow (August 22) will mark two months. Williams made me think of dad since we watched so many movies together, and I remember how hilarious we found the film CLUB PARADISE to be. Probably in the minority on that one based on the audience in the theater we saw it in, and I haven’t seen it since it’s VHS debut so I have no idea how it holds up. Williams passing just kicked it all up since Williams has always been part of my life in the weird way that movies are. From being a kid and loving MORK & MINDY (I think I still have a talking Mork in the Bunker basement) to watching him mature as an actor in films like AWAKENINGS to seeing his career sort of tumble away with shitty movies as my life tumbled through divorce and long term cancer care. I don’t know. Between Lou Reed and Robin Williams, this year is a bitch for favourite celebrities dying.

The rest of the week, and this week, I’ve been obsessively watching the Ferguson situation. Race riots in 2014. Just let that roll off your tongues. I mean, the Gaza issue was already horrific, but I find I give it a bit of a pass since it’s religion based, and I’m ass-y enough to firmly believe to never expect good things to come out of religious based things. Not that it justifies what’s happening to Palestinians, who are probably being killed right now as you read this. The Ferguson thing though, is so colossally fucked up. It’s beyond whites versus blacks, it turned in to the punk 80’s nightmare of us versus them. Being Canadian, it’s easy to be smug about the states shitting the bed like this, but the sad truth is this stuff always manages to trickle up. I have no answers on how to stop it since the basic thing of “Simply respect others” seems to be completely lost in our popular culture. It’s so fucking sad and infuriating.

So basically I’m going the long way around to saying that recent events have left me not feeling like blogging about movies. This should pass. I’ve been extra busy at work too which doesn’t help. That will pass as well.

What a fucking world we live in, indeed.

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Movie A day! 186-193 – “I’m On A Vacation!”

Right, so my staycation ended with me feeling under threat of a summer cold. I still feel like I’m on the verge of coming down with something, where the snot-hole in the back of your head feels iffy but you don’t have any actual symptoms of fever and runny nose and grossness. It’s horrible feeling like you might get sick with a cold when it’s 30C outside and it’s been going on for 3 days. So far I’m holding it off with pills. Keep thumbs held!

Due to potential oncoming sickness, I WATCHED MORE MOVIES! So you get two posts this week, you lucky lovelies! Here’s the start of August. AUGUST! Already August, what a crazy world we live in where months roll by so fast. Maybe it’s just me.

186 08-01 The Rolling Stones: Sweet Summer Sun – Hyde Park London (2013) 4/5
This one is a concert film featuring the last show of their fiftieth anniversary tour. Features mostly concert footage with some narration, it’s surprisingly solid considering the near mummified state of the band. The set list is pretty much all hits by this point, I can’t imagine any fans of the Stones being let down by this release. As old as they are, there really is no sense in them stopping if they don’t wish too, they continue to deliver the goods. I’d argue that they are performing better now than they did in the late 70’s, early 80’s, only with the added thrill of wondering if their emaciated, petrified like limbs might break off mid-song.

187 08-02 A Serious Man (2009) 2.5/5
This is another Coen brothers film, and the only one of theirs that managed to sneak by me when it came out. This one is basically about the life of a Jewish teacher in 1967 working on getting tenure or whatever they call it, and all the troubles that follow him. It’s a comedy, and it just isn’t all that interesting. You get a sense that it might be a bit biographical seeing as the Coens are Jewish and from the midwest, but it doesn’t really play that way either. It’s a bit of a broken thumb, following the also less than stellar BURN AFTER READING. Thankfully they’ll return more to form with their next picture, TRUE GRIT.

188 08-03 Game of Thrones Season 4 (2014) 3.5/5
It took 4 years, but the show finally got good! Not much to say since it’s still has way too convoluted a plot. It’s made up for it by balancing all the talking and intrigue with some action. So I’ll stick it out and go for season 5.

189 08-03 A Good Day to Die Hard (2013) 1.5/5
I heard that this one wasn’t very good, but really, how bad could it be? It’s DIE HARD! C’mon, fuckin’ John McClane ripping shit up in Russia! Ends up it’s pretty terrible. Willis couldn’t be less interested to be McClane one more time, with 80% of his dialogue being variations of “I’m on VACATION!” There is a plot, but it’s doesn’t matter when nearly the entire first third of the film is a car chase that makes no sense and is actually as boring as it is stupid. The look of the picture has such a digital polish that it doesn’t even look good. Even the poster sucks. Hopefully this picture kills the series. You can all make your own Die Hard jokes.

190 08-04 The Manchu Boxer (1974) 2/5
This one is a pretty typical Raymond Chow Kung-Fu production. The title character gets kicked out of his house when he accidentally kills a guy in a fight due to his training where he punches hot gravel. He then gets mixed up in a big brouhaha of a martial arts contest which he doesn’t want to be a part of in case he kills someone again. It’s a bit plodding, and none of the fights are all that memorable. Sammo Hung pops up an extra in a couple of fights, but it’s not worth watching just for him. Actually, the most fun thing in the movie is recognizing stolen music cues, unless Pink Floyd did license material to this.

191 08-04 The Big Parade (1925) 4/5
This one is King Vidor’s silent epic based on WW1. Seeing as it’s the anniversary of WW1 today, and I’m trying not to get sick with a flu that seems to be insisting on making me sick, I figured it was the perfect day to lay around and watch it. It’s widely considered to be one of the best silent films, and the first hour might have you wondering why. The basic plot is, WW1 is breaking out for America and a privileged do nothing signs up after being pressured by friends and his fiance. the first hour or so largely details his life in France, where not much happens as him and his two army buddies kick about waiting for orders. Once those orders come through, the whole picture shifts into battle mode and the horrors of WW1 trench style warfare start to knock the wind from you. A hell of a movie, with an incredibly natural performance by John Gilbert in the lead. Gilbert is mostly remembered now as the actor who lost his career when sound ended the silent era, and it’s a shame since he’s really good, including the odd performance I’ve seen of his in speaking parts.

192 08-04 Marty (1953) 4/5
This is the original, live on TV broadcast version starring Rod Steiger. He plays a 37 year old butcher who’s henpecked by pretty much everyone in Queens to get married. The ending is a bit of a let down, but the journey there is amazing. Steiger is all wounded emotion, and puts in an absolutely incredible performance. It’s amazing that this was broadcast live once, and then the tape stuck away in a vault until the late seventies. It’s kind of a shame that TV doesn’t do this type of live drama stuff more often.

193 The Skyhawk (1974) 2.5/5
This is on the same disc as MANCHU BOXER, and is a better movie. The Skyhawk is an older master of Shaolin Kung-Fu, or some such horseshit where he flips around a bunch when he fights, and his disciples (one of them Sammo Hung, again playing a character called “Fatso” in the crummy English dub) get mixed up in some crime intrigue while Skyhawk is visiting a relative in Thailand. It’s not the greatest chop-socky you will watch, but the fights are pretty decent and the film worked better than MANCHU BOXER did.

That’s probably it for this week. Time to take more pills and try to keep this cold away.

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Movie A Day! : 174-185 “You spend a year for two hours, who give’s a shit?”

So still on staycation. I had a massive BBQ pulled pork sandwich the other day, if anyone was wondering how the getting fit project has been going.

Right, despite my attempts, this is going to be a long one since I have to recap the month. Let’s look at my amazing final week of watching and read some reviews! YES!

174 07-24 Hell’s Kitchen Season 12 (2014) 2/5
I stopped watching this show a few years ago since it got so incredibly ugly and manipulative I couldn’t stomach it. I got sucked into watching the latest season, and it continues to be an absolute horror. The only positive was when a contestant finally had enough and walked out on Ramsey after one of his epic, made for TV meltdowns. Ramsey deserves to have the shit slapped out of him.

175 07-25 Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974) 3.5/5
Sam Peckinpah is a polarizing director. People tend to love him or hate him, and this film won’t be any different. Basic plot is Alfredo Garcia has gotten a Mexican Crime Boss’s daughter pregnant, and he has put a price of one million dollars on his head. Warren Oats plays a flunky American who has a lead on Garcia’s whereabouts. Oats has probably never been better, matching the typical Peckinpah macho ideal with an almost painful sensitivity and humanity. Like all of Peckinpah’s films, this one really is about the individual who just can’t seem to exist without the world bothering them. Also like most Peckinpah films, this one has a bit of a misogynistic streak that features a scene as awkward and uncomfortable as the rape to be found in STRAW DOGS. If you stick with the film though, there’s lots of things going on behind the slow motion violence that makes it interesting, and a bit ahead of it’s time.

176 07-25 Young Secretaries (1974) 2/5
This is the second feature on Vinegar Syndromes PEEKARAMA disc, paired with the previously discussed DEEP TANGO. Like that film, it’s a bit of a mess. Basic plot is an ad exec is being pressured to hire a young buck into the firm. It plays like a softcore MAD MEN spoof by way of Herschell Gordon Lewis, only not as inept. The most surprising thing about it is it’s softcore, so it feels extra dated seeing as it came out two years after DEEP THROAT kickstarted the porno chic era. The disc itself, despite a warning at the start that the elements were in exceptionally bad shape, still looks pretty good with no major flaws and most of the issues are with the colour in DEEP TANGO. So as far as PEEKARAMA discs go, this one probably has less re-watch value since they films really are more odd than good, but still not a bad value if you’re into this type of sleaze.

177 07-? Chopped Canada Season 1 (2014) 3/5
I’m sticking this one here since Season 1 is apparently finished, but I had no idea since there was no big wham-bam ending. Anyway, CHOPPED CANADA is the same as CHOPPED in that it features 4 chefs competing in 3 stages where they have to cook with mystery ingredients with a winner being chosen at the end. It’s more polite than regular, American CHOPPED, and for my money, it’s the best of the cooking competition shows since it’s all about skill as opposed to screwing someone over, fake drama and side competition nonsense found in HELL’S KITCHEN and those other shows.

178 07-26 Ace in the Hole (1951) 4.5/5
179 07-27 Portrait of a “60% Perfect Man”: Billy Wilder (1980) 3/5
Billy Wilder followed up his amazing film noir SUNSET BOULEVARD with this satire and critique on the media. Kirk Douglas stars as a down on his luck newsman forced to hit the sticks to find a job and hoping for that one big story that will get him back to New York. He finds it when a man gets trapped in a mine, and is able to exploit it. Staggering both in it’s dark humour and sad truth. Fifty years later and this kind of stuff is happening pretty near every week in our current media climate, which means this film has lost none of it’s edge. Can’t believe it’s taken me this long to see it. PORTRAIT is a documentary on Wilder that was included on the stellar Criterion Collection Blu-ray (along with additional material) and was pretty informative in it’s own right. Highly recommended.

180 07-27 Unholy Rollers (1972) 3/5
This one is a Roger Corman produced roller derby picture. Think WHIP IT, but with a tough as nails angry girl in the lead and you get the picture. This one features nearly constant derby action which helps to keep the film moving, and the performances are pretty good as well. It also features Roberta Collins (DEATH RACE 2000) in a support role, and she’s always great. The one big complaint, and I was tempted to knock half a point off it, is that the music was replaced with some god awful generic rock that is just horrendous. This was due to licensing costs, and as far as I can tell there is no way to get this movie with the original music intact. It’s a shame, but the movie is fun enough that you can overlook it.

181 07-27 Knightriders (1981) 3.5/5
After hitting it big with DAWN OF THE DEAD, George Romero got a three picture deal that gave him more creative freedom than he had ever had. The first film he made was this one, about what is basically a biker gang, except they live by the code of King Arthur and the knights of Camelot, traveling around putting on renaissance fair like bike shows. So you get the biker tropes of wanting freedom and what not mixed with jousting duels. It shouldn’t work, but it does with both Ed Harris putting in a strong, early leading man performance, and make-up effects legend Tom Savini being equally strong in the main supporting role. Keep a sharp eye out for Stephen Kings cameo, he would later collaborate with Romero on the second film of the deal, CREEPSHOW. Anyway, this one was good, and the Shout Factory Blu-Ray looks stupendous with some nice special features.

182 07-28 Vicious Lips (1983) 2/5
I nearly gave this one 3 out of five. It’s a cheap Sci-Fi comedy about an all girl band that gets a once in a lifetime shot as a high profile gig and gets into all types of wacky trouble trying to get there. The performances are way too broad to be campy, and the humour all falls flat. It’s so EIGHTIES in it’s look and feel it gags you with a spoon. That said, the songs are actually really good! It throws you for a loop. If there was more band and less shenanigans, it would actually be a really good movie. Despite being dirt cheap, the production values are pretty good too. In the end though, it just doesn’t work.
This one was the last film in a four part CULT MOVIES VOL 1 set that also featured INVASION OF THE BEE GIRLS, DEVIL’S 8, and UNHOLY ROLLERS. Putting two films per DVD means the transfers aren’t the greatest in the world, with BEE’S suffering the worse. That said, for under ten bucks it was a hell of a lot of fun.

Not even the best song!

183 07-28 Zatoichi and the Chess Expert (1965) 3.5/5
More samurai goodness. This one finds Zatoichi mixed up in more yakuza trouble after ripping off some gangs while gambling. It’s fun and epic like all the films manage to be and I’m yet to get tired with this amazing series. It is weird that the poster are so shit considering how good the movies are.

184 07-30 Somewhere in Dreamland – The Max Fleischer Color Classics (2002) 2.5/5
This is a nearly complete collection of the Color Classics series of cartoons, featuring all but one. This was basically Fleischer’s attempt at competing with Disney’s SILLY SYMPHONIES, and they just flat out aren’t as good. There are a handful that are great, and the animation is fine, they just overall don’t work as well. The real problem with this DVD though is the source material. All the films but the one missing are in the public domain, so the only available versions short of paying large fees for access to the negatives are TV prints, which means these all look like hell with faded, scratched and beat images. It’s better than nothing and for an independent release about as good as you can get. With commentaries and what not on the DVD, they really have done all they can, but when the main cartoons look like hell, all the extras in the world won’t help. All that said, one of my all time favourite cartoons is on here!

185 07-31 The Hudsucker Proxy (1994) 4/5

I remember seeing this one when it first came out and being left flat. Being a big fan of the Coen brothers previous films, especially MILLERS CROSSING and BARTON FINK, this one just seemed silly. It still does, but it really works perfectly as a revisiting to the Frank Capra films like MR. DEEDS GOES TO TOWN, with the satire being that of corporate culture that was rearing it’s head. I had also forgotten how amazingly breathtaking Jennifer Jason Leigh is in this one, perfectly nailing the rapid fire dialog. Add in Bruce Campbell is a supporting role and this one is little gem in the Coen brothers filmography.

Phew! Are you all still with me? Here is my tally for July:

32 Watched, 31 First Timers, 0 In Theaters

Finally! I managed to not only watch the equivalent of one movie a day, but I managed to watch new movies per day! Hooray! Here are my numbers from July 2013, for comparison:

47 Films,  40 First Timers, 2 Theater

Dang! Last year I was doing a regular movie night once a week where we would get in at least three movies. Who wants to start up a local movie night in Edmonton? Anyone?!?

I’m currently at 185 films watched, compare to 280 that was this time in 2013. I’m 100 movies off target. No need to wonder if this is a good thing or bad.

My pick for best of the month is a tie between ACE IN THE HOLE and NEBRASKA, with SUGAR COOKIES, the Ernie Kovacs Collection and those ZATOICHI movies being runners up.

That’s enough for now, share, suggest, comment, etc.

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