Movie A Day! : 248-255 “Sister!”

Right, lot’s of things going on in the ol’ bunker this week. So much that it’s a bit of a jam. Typically I post this MOVIE A DAY! blog on Monday, and I have started posting STAR WHO on Wednesday. Well Wednesday is the first day of October, which means I should post a month end wrap up of the Movie A Day blog on Wednesday.  I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO!! I can’t post two blogs in one day! Also, every October I participate in a “Scary Movie Challenge” in which I aim to watch as many horror type films as I can. So count this as a warning that there is going to be a bunch more posts happening around here for the month of October. It’s going to get crazy! Hope you like scary movies!

Here’s what I watched last week.

248 09-22 Days of Wine and Roses (1958) 4/5
This is another live play from TV’s golden age. It stars Cliff Robertson (CHARLY) and Piper Laurie (TWIN PEAKS) as an alcoholic couple trying to survive. It’s preachy and pro-alcoholics anonymous, but it’s also startlingly brutal and uncomfortable to sit through. Robertson and Laurie absolutely nail their roles, and that it was performed live on television just adds to the energy. Director John Frankenheimer by this point has mastered live TV, and the episode is pretty much flawless technically. This is the last show in the Criterion Collections THE GOLDEN AGE OF TELEVISION set, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

249 09-25 Gideon’s Day (1958) 4/5
This one stars the great Jack Hawkins (BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI) as Gideon, inspector for Scotland Yard. Considered to be a “B” picture for director John Ford, and a throwaway, it’s a hell of a film. The plot is dizzying in all it’s threads, with a sex murder, payroll theft and police corruption all playing for Gideon’s time, not to mention trying to wrap it all up in time to bring home some salmon for dinner before seeing his daughter play violin in concert. So there’s a hell of a lot going on, and Ford keeps it all moving while still adding some of the touches he’s known for with the family dynamic and humour. So for a throwaway, it ends up being one of my favourites of his. Sure, it’s no THE SEARCHERS, but it’s far from forgettable.

250 09-26 12 Years A Slave (2013) 3.5/5
It wasn’t planned, but for film number 250 I ended up watching last years best picture winner! It’s good. The movie I mean. I liked it. Steve McQueen makes good movies. The one’s I’ve seen anyway, like HUNGER. This one was good too. Performances were all top notch, and it was certainly deserving of all it’s awards. I didn’t love it though. The problem I have with it, and with films like it that deal with subjects like slavery or the holocaust or other equally horrible issues is that they concentrate on being sad. You’re constantly seeing awful things, and practically being told “isn’t it awful? Isn’t it sad how awful people were?” And it is awful and sad that people were like that and that it happened. And that’s MY problem with the film. It’s sad that it happened, but absolutely infuriating that it’s STILL happening in parts of the world, and the inherent racism that existed to allow it to happen is still a huge problem in western culture. Films like 12 YEARS A SLAVE ignore that, and I think that’s why I prefer films like DJANGO UNCHAINED which deals with the anger and rage of prejudice in a cathartic way. Wait, you didn’t think Tarantino’s DJANGO was a period picture about slavery, did you?

251 09-26 A Clockwork Blue (1972) 2/5
So based on the title you would think this is a dirty version of A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. And like me you would be WRONG! It has nothing at all to do with Kubrick’s film, and it’s a shame since it would of been a thousand times better. This one is about two horrendous racial stereotypes, one black, one Jewish, arriving in heaven. The black one, using a watermelon television, is able to spy on the Jewish guys great great great grandson or whatever and mess with his life. The grandson gets his hand on a time travelling watch, and that finally sets the stage for a bunch of comedic softcore vignettes. The humour all falls completely flat, and while the women are great looking (including adult legend Rene Bond), which is surprising based on the cheepnis of this, it’s all played like a shitty Russ Meyers film and just annoys you. So it’s basically a racist, piss-poor Russ Meyer knock off that’s not really worth seeing. I watched the limited edition blu-ray by Vinegar Syndrome that features the hardcore version, and a minute or so of harcore inserts doesn’t help the film at all.

252 09-27 The Monuments Men (2014) 3/5
George Clooney’s latest is typically solid. A great cast featuring Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman and others all show up and do some good work. The plot, about a group of art experts tasked to help save works of art during WW2 is both a true story and a good one for a film. It was fun to watch, I don’t know why I didn’t like it more. There’s something awkward about it. It’s kind of “hip” like the OCEANS 11 series, and at the same time it tries to be emotionally heavy like a more serious war or Oscar bait film. Huh, I guess I do know why I didn’t like it more after all! It feels like a film “done by the numbers” so even though it’s a first time viewing, it felt over familiar. I’d rather watch a proper documentary on the real Monuments Men instead.

253 09-27 The Undergraduate (1971) 1.5/5
This is one of those early hardcore porn films that’s disguised as an educational picture as a way to skirt obscenity laws. A class of university students are taking an essay test on sex and you get to watch their answers in weirdly cut porn vignettes. The narration is weird enough to kind of be entertaining, but at just over an hour even the weirdest bits (like the Professor advising the students to read Penthouse Magazine) aren’t enough to hold your interest. I picked it up since Ed Wood Jr. (GLEN OR GLENDA) has a writing credit on it, but you would never know it from watching since all his crappy but awesome trademarks are absent.

254 09-28 Ward Sex (1971) 1/5

This one is one of two or three additional films included on the THE UNDERGRADUATE dvd and it’s just completely artless porno garbage that barely qualifies as a smoker. The disc is put out by Alpha Blue Archives. I found out after the fact that they are basically bootleggers, and that quality shows on this disc. Thankfully I only bought this one and one other Ed Wood Jr. disc so they won’t ever see anymore of my money.

255 09-28 Ms.45 (1981) 4.5/5
Abel Ferrara’s cult film keeps getting better every time I watch it. It’s total sleaze, the story of a mute seamstress who gets attacked and raped twice in one day heads out on a DEATH WISH type vigilante spree against the men of New York. What’s so interesting is that it’s got a huge pro-feminism bent that is completely clouded due to being written and directed by men. So while it seems to be about female empowerment, it’s cloudy as hell and hard to tell if it’s a warning to men to change their way, or a warning to men to watch out for feminists. All that said, it’s fascinating to watch, and 17 year old Zoe Lund is absolutely incredible in the lead. She completely carries the film and further blurs the empowerment/exploitation lines. All the gender politics aside, it’s at it’s more base a kick ass vengeance film, and one of Ferrara’s best. It’s a shame that Lund didn’t do more, but her later collaboration with Ferrara, the script for his fantastic THE BAD LIEUTENANT, solidifies her place as one of the great missed opportunities in film. Sad. Oh yeah, I revisited this one via the new blu-ray from Alamo Drafthouse, and it’s worth every single one of your pennies.

So there it is. Not a bad bunch of films, and quite a few mainstream ones for once. That said, I can’t stop thinking about Ms .45. One hell of a picture, that one!

Now to figure out how to wrap up my blogging week. Until next time.

The End

Star Who? – 100,000 Inside Adonais

It’s Wednesday which means it’s time to geek out on my blog! Since this is the second Wednesday I was able to post a Star Who?, it seems this will be the series schedule! Let’s see how many weeks I can manage before I screw it up. Since last week, Mr. Monkey informed me on some recent happening regarding the Doctor Who reboot regarding his regenerations and how they’ve reset it so he has 13 new ones. It’s kind of put me off since it means we wont have some grand wrap up to 50 plus years of stories. The greedy bastards! Of course, they could continue on with a new time lord, or pass the TARDIS to Susan, the Doctors granddaughter. I still think a girl Doctor would be cool, and you could see her dealing with things that the current Doctor has bungled in his career. Lots of possibilities lost now that they retconned it. Anyway, it got me wondering to what happened with old Susan… so let’s look at the shows this week (from 4 weeks ago, potential spoilers ahead).

Doctor Who (2005) S08E02 – Inside The Dalek 4/5

I was looking forward to this one since it’s the first, baggage free episode for the new Doctor, and it has Daleks in it, so really, what more do you want from Doctor Who? NOTHING MORE! It was great. Capaldi is completely nailing the Doctor in a way that hearkens back to classic Doctor Who while still putting his own mark on the character. I hope he ends up being the Doctor for the next twenty years. The episode felt classic, too. There was action and what not, but the main drive of the story was exploring the morality of the Doctor’s relationship with the Daleks, which is good? Which is bad? Can a Dalek, the most evil force in the universe, be good? Classic Who. My only nit pick is that the producers seem obsessed with having some kind of horseshit romantic angle shoe-horned into the series. I’m guessing this is a hold over from the previous series, and I can give no shits nor fucks about a romantic side plot for the companions. Doctor Who has never needed sexual tension to be good. I’m hoping they abandon it.

Star Trek S02E02 – Who Mourns For Adonais? 3/5

This is one of those goofy episodes. The Enterprise literally gets held by a giant hand in space reaching out from a planet. They beam down, and discover that the god Apollo is holding them hostage, he’s in need of people to worship him after Earths people had abandoned him and the rest of the old gods. Apollo takes fancy to Lieutenant Carolyn Palamas who returns the favour, and poor Scotty takes I think three shit kickings trying to protect her honour. It should be incredibly stupid, but it actually really works. Aside for the goofy plot there is a lot of side exploring about the nature of faith, the basis of religion, and other philosophical things that makes Star Trek so interesting. Hell, the theory that maybe Apollo is an alien that visited earth as one of the Greek gods is pretty much the basis of about a thousand episodes of that bullshit Ancient Aliens TV show. Neil Gaiman will later on explore similar territory of old gods losing power as people stop worshiping them in his book AMERICAN GODS, I wonder if he saw this episode? Is he a Trekkie? Anyway, this is another episode that sounds stupid on paper but ended up being pretty good.

Doctor Who S01E01-04 100,000 BC (An Unearthly Child) 3/5

That’s right, we’re going deep! All that talk last blog of the old Who got me wanting to watch some classic Who, so I’m starting at the beginning! This is the debut story and it is weird to see now. This introduces William Hartnell as the first Doctor, and I forgot what a moany asshole he was. Maybe he gets more likable as the series goes on, but in this one he’s a cantankerous jerk. That aside, the template for all future episodes is solidly in place. The TARDIS is set up, the companions being the viewers eyes to identify with the weirdness going on, it’s all there except for one strange, major plot point. The plot is basically about a couple of school teachers, Ian and Barbara being worried about their student Susan Foreman so they go to talk to her parents at her home. They arrive at a junkyard and see the Police Call Box and it’s from there that we are introduced to the Doctor as Susan’s GRANDFATHER. I don’t remember any family ever being mentioned with the future Doctors, or how much this relationship is explained in future episodes since it never is in this story. It’s a huge plot point though that could be explored. Does Doctor Who ever stumble upon her in a future episode? Is she a timelord traveling around as well? Wouldn’t it of been cool if the relaunch in 2005 featured her? Anyway, Ian and Barbara think the Doctor is full of shit, so The Doctor gets all “Fuck you!” about it and takes them to the stone age where they get mixed up in a caveman tribal war over the loss of fire. Weird thing is Ian is really the drive of the story since the Doctor is a total prick so it’s Ian pushing the plot forward trying to show peace and friendship to the savage cavemen, with the Barbara and Susan basically just being along for the ride. It’s still not a bad episode though, especially for a debut.

That’s it for this week. Good? Is it just too much gad damned Doctor Who now? What do you need from me to make this better? Anyone?

The End

Movie a Day! : 243-247 – “I can see you in his eyes!”

People, some days you wake up angry for no reason and as the day goes on it just keeps getting worse. That’s where I’m at right now. It’s the worst! Feeling mad for no reason. I’m wondering if it’s stress or something since the day this is posting is another month to the day that my dad passed away. Do we have subconscious things like that? Is the brain that horrible to us?

Let’s look at the movies I watched this past week.

243 09-16 The Purge (2013) 1.5/5
I came into this one with the lowest of expectations and it managed to be one of those films that is even WORSE than you thought it could be. Everything about this one is inept. The concept, that for twelve hours out of the year you can commit any crime, including murder, and as a result there is no crime for the rest of the year because anger has been “purged” from your system, is easily one of the stupidest things that has ever been conceived for a film. Don’t believe me? Would you rape someone if you knew there would be no repercussions? If you answered “No” like a base human being, then you realize how stupid this film’s concept is. If you answered “Yes”, then go away. You are NOT welcome at my blog. I don’t want you here. Anyway, dumb concept aside, it could still be an okay movie right? Yes it could, except it is not. It hits every dumb, modern cliche. There is nothing to see, no suspense, every plot beat can be completely telegraphed. It doesn’t make sense in the world it’s taking place in: There’s a bit where the family is threatened in the house, and a kid is watching people in masks via live feed acting like assholes outside and it’s cut like something out of PARANORMAL ACTIVITY or something to be scary, because that’s scary right? Creepy masks and flash cuts? Except these people aren’t ghosts, they are fucking PEOPLE and they can’t flash in and out of moving video! To make matters worse, as horrendously nihilistic the concept is, basically saying every person is a raging murderer, the big flip at the end (that you can guess before it’s revealed like everything else in this piece of shit), actually manages to make the concept even WORSE. Look, you’ve read this blog, I like and enjoy some heinous shit. This movie was fucking awful and that they made a sequel… someone reading this watched and liked it enough to justify a god damned sequel and you should be ASHAMED OF YOURSELF! You have no idea how mad I am, days later, reliving this fucking movie for this dumb blog! RAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWAAAARRRRRGGGGG!

244 09-18 Zatoichi Challenged (1967) 3/5
Dear Zatoichi, even though this one, where you get mixed up with another Yakuza plot while trying to get a kid to his father after his mum dies, isn’t your best film, I still really liked it. You’re a pretty amazing guy, even if your singing the theme song is kind of weird, and you didn’t fill the film with guys with limbs cut off crawling around in agony, you still made a very beautifully shot film. The final scene where you face off against the samurai in the snow was clearly an inspiration for Tarantino in KILL BILL VOL 1. Thank you for being awesome. I love you Zatoichi.

245 09-19 Being John Malkovich (1999) 4/5
Revisited this one via the latest Criterion Collection blu-ray and I think I liked it even more. I remembered it being a quirky comedy, and it still is. Now though it plays almost like a cautionary tale. With social media, the internet, and personal privacy constantly being unknowingly invaded, it’s hard not to see a movie about a guy that discovers a tunnel that allows you to literally be in John Malkovich’s head not as a cautionary tale. It also deals with gender roles and other current issues. Perhaps a little clumsily, but it’s trying. All while being consistently funny. So it’s nice that it holds up just fine, is looking better than ever on blu-ray, and has a cool extra with John Hodgeman interviewing Malkovich himself about the film.

246 09-19 Hot Honey (1978) 2.5/5
This is the second half of the Billy Bagg Double Feature (see my look at VIOLATIONS OF CLAUDIA here) and the second porn that cult hero William Lustig admits to having made. I found it to be the lesser picture. There’s nothing wrong with it really, it’s shot well, performances are good enough and what not. It’s more a case of this one is pretty much a wall to wall sex film so it’s missing any type of plot to really elevate it like CLAUDIA has. That said, Lustig certainly keeps things moving and there’s lots of neat stolen shots of 42 Street that are a lot of fun to see. There’s also one twisted scene with Jamie Gillis that helps to make the film more sleazy than it would of been and unforgettable. The disc itself is pretty fantastic. The first film is worth it alone, both films are looking good and pretty great for films of the genre and era with minimal damage and I’m presuming framed properly. Both films include a commentary that is well worth listening too since Lustig is a great story teller, and host Nicolas Winding Refn does a great job keeping the stories coming. There’s also a bonus podcast with Lustig which I’ll listen to later. So once again an independent porn company is doing better work that a major corporation with a DVD release!

247 09-20 Her (2013) 4/5
Spike Jonze’s latest is another modern masterpiece. The easy plot description is to say it’s about a guy who falls in love with his phone. It’s selling the film short since it’s really about loneliness and relationships in the digital age. The setting is a tiny bump into the future, but it never feels like science fiction since we are so close to living in that potential reality of the film. Joaquin Phoenix probably should of won the best actor Oscar for this since he is perfectly “ultra-human” acting opposite a voice and computer props. Not much more to say other than there is a lot to absorb in this one, and I’m going to need a second viewing

There we go! Another week of movies. I’m still binging on TV stuff which is why it’s relatively light compared to previous blogs. Another warning that OCtober will probably be more blog than any of you can handle. Please don’t get scared away!

 

A favour please. If you’re subscribed to this and reading it in a reader application, can you click on the blog to actually go to this page? I’m curious how many people are actually reading it. Thanks in advance!

The End

Star Who? – Amok Breath

I nearly forgot! New blog theme! Watching a Movie A Day is not enough! Due to overwhelming interest of nearly a million responses*, I will be doing a side blog on deep-geek nerd Sci Fi. Let’s get into it!

So it ends up I’ve always been a big Doctor Who fan. I grew up watching the old series on PBS, Sunday at 12:30am after a rotation of Monty Python, Red Dwarf, and Blackadder re-runs. Technically my doctor was Tom Baker since he was the first one I watched (The Talons of Weng-Chiang was the first story) and I got hooked. That said, my favourite Doctor was always the second, Patrick Troughton. So it was with great joy that I looked forward to the re-launch in 2005 with Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor. I loved it! Finally, a Doctor that looked and acted like he was on meth and could kick the shit out of someone if needed! Finally, a Doctor not aping Tom Baker! Sadly, he left after one season, and just seeing the commercials with David Tennant put me off. So I stopped watching. Time and Doctors had moved on, and I had my Doctor Who memories.

It was seeing pictures of the new Season 8 doctor, Peter Capaldi, that piqued my interest in the new Doctor Who. Here was an old guy again, maybe it wouldn’t feel so “Teen Idol” Doctor Who like the previous two new guys appeared to be and go back to being boring old Doctor Who. By miss-reading a blog by the esteemed David Kalat where I thought he was comparing Capaldi to first Doctor William Hartnell, I was sold on watching the new Doctor Who again. Typically I would track watching this show on my Movie A Day blog by the season (which will happen). Since Who is so episodic (well, it used to be anyway, I guess I’ll find out) I thought it might be fun to recap them by the episodes. Come join me in looking at the new Who!

Doctor Who (2005) S08E01 – Deep Breath 3/5

This one starts off in typical fashion when the Doctor regenerates in that the Doctor is a confused, spastic mess of a person. In fact, the first 20 minutes or so of the episode nearly put me off the whole series. This one, I’m guessing, takes up right where the season 7 finale left off, so there’s characters like some Lizard woman and a T-Rex running about Victorian London that had me completely lost. So if you’re coming to the series new like I am, this is a terrible start.

After the first 20 minutes though, things settle down and it gets into the proper plot of the episode (after a rather clumsy, after-thought of a wrap up of the Season 7 plot) and the whole thing gets pretty awesome. Capaldi starts to settle into his performance, and he’s a fucking great Doctor. He is certainly more in the spirit of Hartnell and third Doctor John Pertwee, but he seems to have a more potentially cruel side. The story, discovering strange clockwork men in Victorian, London get’s genuinely spooky and suspenseful. If it wasn’t for the terrible beginning I would give this one 3.5.

So, longtime readers will know that I’ve spent the past bunch of years helping to care for my Dad, who sadly passed away this July. One of the last things we were watching together was Star Trek, the original series. We were going to watch the whole damn thing, but he only made through the first season before going into hospital. Watching Doctor Who this past week niggled my nerd brain to watch more Trek, so as a bonus to my lovely, fawning public, I’M REVIEWING STAR TREK AS WELL!

Star Trek S02E01 – Amok Time 3.5/5

The thing to remember on this one is that it aired in 1967 as the season premier for the second season. So a plot that features Spock suffering from Pon Farr and needing to go back to Vulcan to deal with it seems particularly daring. What’s Pon Farr you ask? Why, it’s a period in a Vulcan man’s life where he gets so horned-out to mate he has fight to the death for his bride or he will die from hormone overload. What an insanely, sexual plot for the  premier! Anyway, the episode is really good, with both clever writing, a cool fight between Kirk and Spock and a neat resolution is given to McCoy. This episode also debuts the character of Chekov, supposedly created as an answer to The Monkees as a way to get teen girls to watch. Let’s not dwell on the negatives (Chekov will always be a negative), as goofy as the plot is, this was a good one.

There it is, the new Star Who? blog. I’ll try to keep the Doctor Who season 8 plots vague and spoiler free like I do with the movies, but I’ll probably get a bit deeper into the Star Trek since it’s fifty years old and you have had many chances to watch the show. Feedback always appreciated.

The End.

 

*4 responses, 3 for, 1 against… good enough for me!

Movie A Day! : 238-242 “Hey man, turn down the lights!”

A short one this week, only five titles. Woe is me! The week kind of got away from me, and I’ve been binge watching other stuff. That’s right, I’m going to blog Doctor Who! The first one should be this Wednesday. Sorry Asbestos, you’ll want to skip them, but you might be entertained? Movie a day ain’t going nowhere though (sadly, in every possible meaning that that phrase can mean), and there may be the odd Broken Record happening to. So don’t despair if you hate Doctor Who! It’s easy to ignore these blog posts. Though you shouldn’t!

Here’s the stuff I’ve watched this past week.

I don’t think Jim is using that mic stand in the intended way….

238 09-07 The Doors : Live At The Bowl ‘68 (2013) 3/5
This is a concert film of the Doors playing live at the Hollywood Bowl. Did you guess by the title? Widely considered to be their best filmed performance, they are in musically top notch form. The blu-ray sounds great. This is the debut of the complete concert, an edited version was previously available, and on this one they gave it a widescreen cropping instead of showing the full frame from which it was originally filmed. It’s mostly okay, but there are more than a few shots that suffer from it, where close-ups are just too close due to the cropping. Otherwise it’s good, but watch it for the music, the performance is intense and good, but visually uninspired with Morrison zonked on acid and glued to the mic stand like his life depended on it making it a bit dull visually. Seriously, you would think they were hanging out instead of performing. Fucking dope fiend hippies!

239 09-09 Requiem For A Heavyweight (1956) 4/5
240 09-11 The Comedian (1957) 4/5
Both of these are live broadcast plays from the PLAYHOUSE 90 program. Both written by Rod Serling, they both look at the weaker aspects of the human condition in unflinching ways.

REQUIEM stars Jack Palance as a past his prime boxer. Once ranked 5th in line for a title shot, now he’s so beat up, he could end up blind if he has another fight. The film deals with the scramble of his manager who’s desperate for another payday to clear up some gambling debts while Palance deals with his pride, knowing that he has nothing to show after a life of fighting. As per usual, the performances are incredible, the play moves at a quick pace and it’s impossible to not get swept up into it.

THE COMEDIAN is an entirely different beast. This one looks at live television itself, with Mickey Rooney playing a superstar comedian with the most popular show on TV. Edmond O’Brien is his head writer, burned out and trying to save Rooney’s face after his plan to steal skits written by another writer backfires. Oof, that sounds more complicated than it should. I should be better at these vague recaps. I’m not a Mickey Rooney fan, but he is incredible in this as the biggest, most egotistical star on the planet. O’Brien is no slouch either, and this really is must see TV. Plus it’s direct by John Frankenheimer who would go on to direct classics like THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE and the ISLAND OF Dr. MOREAU remake with Marlon Brando.

The poster is helping this movie with that kind of tag line…

241 09-12 The Long Gray Line (1955) 2.5/5
This one is a John Ford film, and his first CinemaScope production. It stars Tyrone Power as a jaunty Irish immigrant and great guy who ends up having a long career at a great place, West Point. It’s based on a true story, my problem is with Ford’s handling of it. Ford was incredibly fond of hokey Irish blarney and mythological Americana and this film is just too overboard in both respects with nothing to balance it out and actually be a great picture. It’s not a bad film, and Power and Maureen O’Hara are both good in it. It just feels very dated and of it’s time compared to Ford’s greater works.

242 09-13 Oh You Beautiful “Doll” (1973) 2/5
Here’s another sleaze fest from the fine folks at Vinegar Syndrome. It’s actually the third film in a set, the other two being more horror oriented so I’m holding off to watch them in October. More on that in another blog. Anyway, this one is about an over the hill actress, the great looking and youthful Cleo O’Hara in horrible make-up and wigs, who is running an acting school as a ruse to lure young men to her apartment to fuck. It’s too porny (softcore and ludicrous) to be trashy fun, which is a shame since this Walt Davis directed vehicle kind of sits with John Water’s trash classics from the seventies, but is missing the over the top glee that make the Water’s films stand out and so much fun. The other two films in the set look even more bonkers, so I’m excited to get to them next month!

That’s about it for this week. Hopefully this Wednesday will be the Who blog debut, otherwise it will be next week. I’m trying to bank some for October. Who’s more obsessed about a blog than he should be? Blogging fills the hole in your life right? Please?

As always, comments, shares, etc are all welcomed. If this get popular enough maybe I could get free movies to review like all the other loser movie bloggers? THEY’RE NO BETTER THAN ME WITH THEIR HORSESHIT DEGREES!

The End

Movie A Day! : 230-237 “I have returned from hell!”

An exciting week on the ol’ Movie A Day blog this week. I made it to the theaters! I watched a Zatoichi! I may start a second, side blog! Read on!

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230 09-01 Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) 4/5
I finally made it out of the bunker to the cinema to view a film! This one I had little interest in since the trailers all left me flat. So this might be a “low expectations” case but I really loved it. James Gunn hasn’t made a bad picture (and made one of the best superhero films with “Super”), so it shouldn’t be a big surprise. I’m going to credit that since this one is based on a garbage comic book that no one read, it’s free of all the baggage that follows the other Marvel films. It also has actual heart, the stupid raccoon kept making me cry. So yeah, a winner that helps ease the pain that we will never see Edgar Wright’s ANT-MAN.

https://www.movieposter.com/posters/archive/main/91/MPW-45870

231 09-01 The Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) 4/5
Seeing how Wes Anderson films are all so overly designed and staged, it seems inevitable that he would take a crack at not only an animation feature, but a stop motion animation film. Based on Roald Dahl’s book and featuring many of his regular cast doing the voices, the film is simply a fun joy that isn’t the broken thumb in his filmography that it could have been.

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232 09-01 Doctor Who: Tales From the TARDIS (2013) 2.5/5
I’ve decided to watch the new season of Doctor Who, so I thought I’d start of with this special from last year to get myself up to date. It has some fun behind the scenes stories from all of the surviving Doctors, but did nothing to really get me up to date so that plan was dashed. Anyway, Season 8 with the new Doctor sounds good regardless after the teen idol Doctors I couldn’t bother watching (and the clips contained in here confirmed my decision) so I’ll still give the series a go. Tempted to do side posts tracking the separate stories since Doctor Who is so episodic. Any interest?

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233 09-02 Bang the Drum Slowly (1956) 3.5/5
Another live broadcast from the Golden Age Of Television set, this one stars a pre-fame Paul Newman in the whirlwind roll of a baseball player/writer who deals with a teammates diagnoses of a fatal disease. It was everything you would hope it to be with stellar performances and a genuinely touching story.

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234 09-03 The Whole Town’s Talking (1935) 3.5/5
This one is a real oddball. A comedy of mistaken identity that’s directed by John Ford, who specialized in westerns, and starring Edward G. Robinson, who was known for his tough guy persona. It works though since Ford was a master craftsman, and Robinson one of the greatest actors in film. Robinson has no problems in the dual role playing both the meek clerk who get’s mistakenly identified as a murderous gangster, and shows surprising for the period subtlety in his handling of both characters. Jean Arthur (Mr. Smith Goes To Washington) is solid as usual in the supporting role, and man, I need a Jean Arthur in my life.

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235 09-04 Zatoichi the Outlaw (1967) 4/5

This one is the first in the series to be produced by star Katsu and holy shit was it good! At first it had a cheaper look, seemed kind of blown out on the blu ray transfer. It could be age related though. Once the film got going though, the big change was the tone is way darker, even a bit sleazy, and it made the whole, typical Zatoichi mixed up with Yakuza bosses plot all that much more gripping. Plus they’ve added in blood and special effects so limbs are flying off. It was awesome! It’s ridiculous how much joy I get when there’s bonus gore in a film! I’m sick!

236 09-05 The Violation of Claudia (1977) 3/5

Before making a name for himself as a master of cult-horror with titles like the amazingly brutal MANIAC and the MANIAC COP series, William Lustig got his start in porn with this one, his first film. Going by the name “Billy Bagg”, this one is basically a hardcore version of Bunuel’s BELLE De JOUR. Sharon Mitchell stars as the affluent housewife being ignored by her husband who is looking for some adventure in her life. Fortunately her tennis instructor (played by Jamie Gillis) is a pimp on the side. It’s not as stupid as it sounds, and for the large part it works as a proper movie, more in the elevated Henry Paris style than typical porn. The commentary on this one, hosted by director Nicolas Winding Refn (DRIVE) is as entertaining as the film, with Lustig having many stories to tell, and proud of his humble beginnings. Lustig’s other porn, HOT HONEY is included, I’ll probably watch it next weekend.

237 09-06 Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) 4/5

Another dead solid Marvel movie to wrap up the week! This one feels more like a true follow up to THE AVENGERS than the stupid IRON MAN 3 did. Basically Cap deals with an insidious plot to undermine SHIELD that manages to give closure to the first Captain America film while pushing the whole universe of stories forward. This helps clear up some of the odd bits of MARVEL’S AGENTS OF SHIELD that had me thrown while watching season one. Good stuff all around, Marvel really has these movies figured out. (Aside from IRON MAN which is the only series that seems to get progressively worse.)

So there we are! Not a bum movie in the bunch! So what do you think, do you want to see Doctor Who run downs? I’ll post them here if you like. Answer the poll! Actually, there is no poll, when I click “Add Poll” on this stupid thing the screen goes grey and nothing happens. What a piece of shit! So let me know in the comments. You should all be leaving me comments on how great I am anyway. What, do I sound like I have a lots of self esteem or something? To hell with all of you!

The End

Movie A Day! : 214-229 “The End of August!”

The end of August! How the fuck did that happen? Where did summer go? This is a long one, so enough philosophical idiocy and on to the movies!

214 08-25 The Curtain Pole (1909) 2.5/5
This is the very first film included in a new, Hi-Def Mack Sennett collection. Whose he? He’s the guy in the picture that pretty much invented “Slapstick Comedy” and would go on to discover nearly every major figure of silent films. Charlie Chaplin, Fatty Arbuckle, Buster Keaton, Laurel & Hardy, all got a start with Sennett. He is ground zero for comedy. This one is co-directed by the legendary D.W. Griffith (director of the notoriously racist BIRTH OF A NATION) and is about a guy who buys a really long curtain pole who gets drunk and proceeds to knock people down all over the place while trying to get it home. Look, this is before there was such a thing as Hollywood or even multi-reel movies. D.W. will later be key in inventing editing as we know it, and no one will remember this goofy little movie.

215 08-27 Zatoichi’s Cane-sword (1976) 3/5
This one was once again a little different from the previous ones, just enough to keep it being interesting. Zatoichi once again get’s mixed up in all kinds of small town Yakuza intrigue. The difference in this one is that a master sword-smith informs him that his blade is used up, after one more killing, his cane-sword will break. This little nugget means that the film has a lot less action than previous entries and a much different tone in that it relies more on character work. It’s still a good film, and never boring. It is definitely slower paced though. That said, the look of this one is the best yet, it has that amped up look and style that can be found in the spaghetti westerns of the period, which makes sense since spaghetti westerns and Samurai films really go hand in hand with each other.

216 08-28 A Wind From The South (1955) 2.5/5
This one is another live television broadcast of a play. Starring Julie Harris (EAST OF EDEN and THE HAUNTING) as an Irish girl looking after the family inn with her dickhead brother. Americans are visiting, and she finds fleeting romance. As per the other plays in the set, the performances are top notch, this one even includes an Irish fiddle band complete with kids doing a fling. My problem is the melodramatic, soap-opera like plot isn’t really my cup of tea.

217 08-28 Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD Season 1 (2013) 3/5
If ever there was a show on TV that should be MY show, this would be it. For some reason I never got excited about it. Actually, I know why I never got excited, it’s about Agent Coulson. Why this character is so popular, I have no idea. Anyway, a Marvel comics show spawned from the superhero movies without any superheros, I don’t see the point. (Expect to see this phrase repeated if I end up watching GOTHAM, the Batman show without Batman that DC are forcing upon us next year.) Many will tell me that the point is Joss Whedon is the show runner so it will be amazing. Whedon’s hand is definitely apparent in that everyone has supermodel looks and all the characters have the same voice. Just like Buffy and Angel and his best work, FIREFLY! Now, alllllllll that said, I didn’t hate it. The first episode is so shit terrible quality wise I nearly stopped watching (network TV soundtracks/sound mixes are an annoying pet peeve of mine which is why I’ve never seen LOST), and most of the first half of the season is largely uninspired. I held out since people I trust (nerd, geeks and other losers) kept telling me how good it was, and the second half of the season is indeed better and actually manages to be good. I’m torn between thinking the big twist is a cheat or inspired writing. It’s not cumming-my-pants-off great like BREAKING BAD, but it’s good enough that I’ll watch it next season.

218 08-29 Hotel Chevalier (2007) 3.5/5
219 08-29 The Darjeeling Limited (2007) 3.5/5
Yup, more Wes Anderson. Darjeeling tells the story of three brothers reunited a year after their father’s death on a spiritual journey through India to see their absent mother. This one left me flat the first time round, but I really enjoyed this second viewing. That’s why you should watch some movies more than once I guess. HOTEL CHEVALIER is a short film about one of the brothers, Jason Schwartzman’s character that leads into the main film but is separate enough that it makes sense that it was released separate. Anyway, it’s good, even rat faced asshole Adrien Brody is good in this.

220 08-29 All Night Long (1975) 2/5

This was the first film in a PEEKARAMA double feature by Vinegar Syndrome that features two films by the same director, and both starring porn legend John Holmes. This one, about a competition between two guys who have to bed a bunch of women in order to win the “Golden Rod” award pretty much stunk. Holmes couldn’t be more disinterested in this one, his typically never quite hard monster dong is so flaccid that he has to literally stuff it into the women. It’s as horrific to watch as it sounds. No wonder porn has a bad name. The plot never elevates the film to proper “Porno Chic” status since it’s a loop carrier of the most base kind with the linking narrative never working as a comedy. I’m going to guess this didn’t actually win “Best Erotic Film” as the poster claims.

221 08-29 Punk Rock (Soft Version) (1977) 3/5
222 08-30 The Pleasure Palace (Soft Version) (1979) 2/5
I needed a palate cleanse after ALL NIGHT LONG so I watched this double feature by porn auteur Carter Stevens. Typically, softcore versions of hard core porn should be avoided. The reason I picked this one up was because of PUNK ROCK. To pad the running time lost by cutting out the hardcore, he added in clips of bands playing at punk mecca Max’s Kansas City in New York. In fact, when Steven’s was in pre-production, the main band “The Stilettos” had Debbie Harry singing. She left prior to filming to form “Blondie”, and sadly, The Stilettos and the other bands (The Squirrels have the coolest jackets ever) left in the film are more bad than good. It’s still a heck of a time capsule of New York punk though. The film isn’t bad either. A detective story where a PI is looking for a missing girl. the first 20 minutes or so is hampered editing wise since it was more porn than plot, after that though it’s pretty much a cop film with the odd sex scene that needs editing to keep things softcore.

Pleasure Palace suffers more from being cut to softcore since it’s the story of a New York cop and his lawyer buddy buying out a whore house and running it. So really, plot wise, it’s flat out porn and pretty near the first two thirds of the picture play like a mid-level raunchy comedy with the good bits cut out. Then something happens. Legend Jamie Gillis shows up as a crime boss wanting to move in on the whore house, and after one more edited sex scene, the film plays out for nearly thirty minutes with nary a porn bit. And it’s a really good thirty minutes of crime film too. Gillis is dead solid in the roll, and the other main leads Eric Edwards and Robert Kerman (Cannibal Holocaust) are just as good as the entire tone of the film shifts. I’m curious to pick up the porn version, I bet it plays better and would make it a 3.5/5 picture.

223 08-30 Blue Thunder (1983) 3.5/5
224 08-30 Ride With The Angels: The Making of Blue Thunder (2006) 3.5/5
So, I think I was ten years old when I first saw Blue Thunder, and let me tell you, it was one of the greatest movies ever made. Ever. So revisiting it thirty years later, it’s not. It’s a bit hackney in the way eighties action films seem now, but… it still totally works. Despite the hacky-ness, once things really get rolling in the third act, time travel took place and I got wrapped up in it. Geezer, modern day Russ can also appreciate the cast. Daniel Stern in a very early, pre-C.H.U.D roll, Malcolm McDowell as the asshole baddie and character actor Warren Oats is tremendous in one of his last rolls.
The making of on this one is done by Charles de Lauzirika. You might not know the name, but DVD fans know that the best documentaries to be found on their favourite movies tend to come from him, especially on Ridley Scott discs. This one is no different, is pretty near feature length when watched all at once and is as fun and entertaining as the film it’s about. To be completely honest, it was the promise of the de Lauzirika doc that sold me on the Blu-ray. (and it was $10)

225 08-30 Tapestry of Passion (1976) 3/5
This one is the second film on that disc with ALL NIGHT LONG and is a way better movie. This one stars John Holmes as “Johnny Wadd”, his iconic detective character that made him the biggest adult star, well, aside from his monster cock. I’ve never seen a Johnny Wadd film, so I don’t know how this compares to the others in the series. On it’s own, it’s way more entertaining than other film on the disc, and has a better cast too with Annette Haven (BARBARA BROADCAST) and others. Not the greatest film ever made, but makes the disc worthwhile at least. In one of the oddest things I’ve seen in a porn film, the movie ends about a third of the way into a threesome with the three main stars. Who’s editing choice was that? My only critique with Vinegar Syndrome is that their films are so fucking bonkers, they need liner notes or something to explain what you’re watching.

226 08-31 Cry Wilderness (1987) 2.5/5
227 08-31 In Search of Bigfoot (1976) 3.5/5
Speaking of Vinegar Syndrome being weird, here’s a PG rated Drive-In collection of bigfoot movies. BIGFOOT MOVIES! The first, CRY WILDERNESS, is terrible. It’s about a boy who has befriended Bigfoot, though no one believes him because why would you? The boys off in a boarding school because his dad is a forest ranger and has no time to raise him. Bigfoot shows up in the middle of the night as a weird vision to warn him that his dad is in danger, so the kid hitchhikes to the forest and who cares. It’s a feel good family film about a boy and bigfoot that manages to just be strange since everyone is overdubbed in a most horrendous fashion. This makes for many scenes of adults laughing at animals like raccoons making a mess of a kitchen like they are on a strange acid trip. Why was this film made? Why is it over dubbed when the actors are speaking english? Why would VS release it? These are all questions I can not answer.
IN SEARCH OF BIGFOOT is a straight up documentary about a guy who has seen bigfoots all over the god damned place and fuck it, he’s gonna catch a Squatch and prove the haterz wrong! As far as gonzo documentaries from the seventies go, you can do a lot worse. It’s hilarious, but the dudes commitment to catching a bigfoot is so strong, that when it all ends in tears it’s kind of touching. In true seventies fashion, they have to have a wet t-sirt waterfall frolic for the grindhouse pervs. Awesome.

228 08-31 One Hour Photo (2002) 3.5/5
229 08-31 Lensing ‘One Hour Photo’ (2013) 3/5
Spun this one for a second viewing. Probably not the greatest film to watch of Robin Williams since it’s so incredibly dark, but fuck it, he’s amazing in it. You’ve seen the film so I won’t explain it other than to say that if you think it’s dated due to the fact that no one uses film in their cameras anymore in the digital age we live in, you can pretend it’s an early assignment of Agent Coulson’s from before he was recruited to be an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D since he’s in it in a bit part. I’m including the documentary on this one too since it ended up being directed by Charles de Lauzirika and was as interesting as you would expect. It was also completely different in approach compared to the BLUE THUNDER one, which is why he’s so damned good at this making of stuff.

Few! That was a bunch of movies huh? I like that dumb SHIELD show and squeezed in an awkward Robin Williams movie in light of his passing. Let’s look at the numbers.

44 Watched,  32 First Timers,  0 In Theaters

Not bad, this is more on track to last year!

38 Films, 36 First Timers, 3 Theater

For the first time this year, I beat last years numbers! Oh, some might think I’m cheating counting a 8 minute silent film and “making of” documentaries on DVDs, but I also watched 3 TV shows! So I did good this month.

Best of August: THE ASSOCIATION and SILICONE VALLEY.

The End