Mobee a dai: Is This Real Life?

I meant to get back into the sleaze since I got a big Vinegar Syndrome package, but I’m hooked on documentary films! Plus a few other things…


176 06/18 Mommy Dead and Dearest (2017) 4/5   A true crime documentary. Best you go in knowing little. A young woman is charged with the murder of her mother. It’s more complicated and sad than you can imagine.


177 06/18 De Palma (2015) 4/5   This one is little more than the director sitting down and going through his filmography with the appropriate clips showing as needed, but holy mackerel, it ends up being one of the best documentaries on film making that I have seen. Mainly due to De Palma not being shy to mention and acknowledge complaints. There’s an honesty to it that’s largely missing from these things, especially since they typically end up as special features on DVDs as opposed to feature in their own right.


178 06/20 Better Call Saul Season 3 (2017) 4/5   The prequel to Breaking Bad continues to be possibly better than the series that spawned it. It’s fun, but also one of the most emotionally brutal shows I’ve seen. Season 4 should prove to be very interesting. The performances continue to be razor sharp, it’s one of the best show’s I’ve seen.


179 06/20 Jodorowsky’s Dune (2013) 3/5   Interesting documentary about Alejandro Jodorowsky’s attempt to adapt Dune into possible the greatest film ever back in the 70’s, only to have it fall apart after pre-production was done. It’s good, but the end result is of course, “Wow, that would have been some movie, huh?” which makes it a little overkill. That said, you can’t help but get caught up in Jodorowsky’s dream and film philosophy.

Image result for beware the slenderman poster
180 06/21 Beware the Slenderman (2016) 2.5/5   True crime documentary about two 12 year old girls that attempted to kill one of their friends after becoming obsessed with the “Slenderman” urban legend. The tone of this one isn’t right. It’s a terrible crime based on some incredibly stupid internet folklore, a folklore that is never spoken of in the film as corny and stupid. You can’t look at a Slenderman youtube vid without thinking how goofy it is, so to treat it as an actual threat seems dishonest. The filmmakers also spin the wheels to pad the film. You could easily cut 30 minutes out and it would be a better, tighter film. The victim and the suspects deserve to have their story told in a better fashion.

Image result for electric boogaloo 2014
181 06/22 Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untamed Story of Cannon Films (2014) 4/5    In many ways, Cannon was the perfect studio of the 80’s. None of their films were very good, but all of them were pretty awesome if you were a kid with a hunger for goofy action movies and what not. I have fond memories of many of the trashy films profiled here and the telling of the story behind them is pretty much perfect with no one pretending that they were cranking out amazing art. Well worth checking out.


182 06/23 Menendez: Blood Brothers (2017) 2.5/5   Lifetime takes a crack at a true crime biopic with Courtney Love of all people playing the mom. It’s not terrible, it is sleazy which makes it fun. It’s just not executed very well.


183 06/23 Never Sleep Alone (1983) 2.5/5   A not bad crime hardcore about a swinger couple in an open marriage that gets infected by jealousy. It’s not bad, it just kind of runs out of steam despite Joanna Storm stealing the film.


184 06/24 Bagboy (2015) 3.5/5   Dr. Steve Brule takes a stab at a sitcom comedy and it ends up being one of the greatest sitcoms ever produced.  


185 06/25 The Last Laugh (2016) 3.5/5   Can the holocaust be funny? The answer is no, but this doc ends up going deeper and with the help of tons of comedians really gets into joke structure and what makes something funny. It’s also great that Mel Brooks appears as ground zero for breaking all the rules.

186 06/25 Austin City Limits: Iggy Pop (2016) 4/5   My only issue is it’s edited down to an hour long episode. It’s great seeing Iggy with a band that can play anything.   

I keep thinking about that Dune documentary, and Jodorowsky’s thought that civilization is based on stories from the Bible, The Koran, The Life of Buddha, why not a movie? Why can’t a movie transform people?

Mooooveee a day!: Immortal Epic

Thin week this week, film fans. Been going through the extras in that Twin Peaks boxset and catching up on other things, but if you read to the end you will find an absolutely fantastic documentary series that recently aired on PBS/BBC4.


171 06/12 The Immortal Story (1968) 3/5   This one was Orson Welle’s final completed fiction film, and his first in colour. Technically it’s perfect like all his films. It starts strong but I found the story wandered a bit halfway through.


172 06/14 Twin Peaks: The Missing Pieces (2014) 3.5/5   A collection of deleted scenes edited by Lynch is pretty interesting stuff and a great compliment to the main film. That said, this isn’t a film in it’s own right. It fleshes out some ideas but the main draw is that it catches up with a bunch of the cast from the TV series that didn’t make it into the film. If you’re a fan of the film and series, it’s worth a watch.


173 06/15 A Slice of Lynch (2007) 3/5   This one finds Lynch sitting round table with actors Madchen Amick, Kyle MacLachlan and producer John Wentworth as they discuss all things Twin Peaks. It’s fun and interesting, but also slightly awkward. I would have preferred solo interviews.

174 06/16 Return To Twin Peaks (2007) 2.5/5   Another short found in the complete mystery boxset is about the fan convention. It is what it is.


175 06/17 American Epic (2017) 4/5   This is a four part series documenting the birth of American Music. In the 20’s, record recording left the big cities and went rural, and by focusing on artist as diverse as The Carter Family and Charlie Patton, the story is told. Part four features Jack White and T-Bone Burnett bringing in artists to record sides on the only surviving machine. It’s fantastic stuff, but I am biased since I have loved this music since discovering The Anthology of American Folk Music 20 or so years ago.

Movie A Day!: Master Falstaff Peaks

Last night I had a dream that I went to the secret Chinese food restaurant at West Edmonton Mall. Secret because it’s where the old China Town part of the mall used to be. Just down from Bourbon Street, and to get to it you had to go through double delivery doors beside the Fuji Banana Frosty stand. The restaurant is much nicer than it sounds, with classy, modern decor. This is the third time in about 16 years I’ve gone to the restaurant. The same guy is running it and pulling customers through the delivery doors like a club hawker, leading them down the maintenance hall to the restaurant proper. The food is good, though I can tell they are on hard times. The visibility is terrible after all. You have to look for it. The wait staff were sneaking pieces off of my plate. I left without paying. None of this is real, none of this existed in the past, but I have strong memory of it. My brain takes this as “Happened”, not “Dreamed”.

Thin on the movies this week, for reasons apparent in the reviews.


167 06/09 Twin Peaks Season 2 (1991) 4/5   People consider this one as going downhill compared to the first season but I really enjoyed it this time round. It’s true, it goes for a bit of a wander once the Laura Palmer stuff winds up, but once the Windom Earl plot ramps up it’s just as good as that as what came before. The final episode is one of the best in the entire series that absolutely drips in an almost Lovecraftian horror.


168 06/10 Chimes at Midnight (1965) 3/5   I’m really torn with this one. I’ve been wanting to see it for ages, one of the final fictional films Orson Welle’s completed and a Shakespeare adaptation to boot. Technically it’s wonderful, the acting it perfect, Welles is fantastic in the lead as Falstaff. The look of the film, shots, editing, all what would expect from Welles and not hurting from a limited budget. Halfway through the film is one of the best medieval battles I’ve ever seen. The problem is I couldn’t understand it. It took me three sessions of watching, backing the film up to re-watch, I just couldn’t follow the plot. I don’t know if it’s the time of night I was watching or I’m just too dumb about Shakespeare but I couldn’t tell you anything about it plot wise. I’m giving it three stars since I think it’s better than I found it and I will give it a second chance some day.


169 06/10 Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992) 4/5   Time has been kind to this one. I remember how hated it was when it came out and looking at it now, I’m guessing it’s due to not being fun. Instead it’s a terrifying look at the last days of someone suffering from serial abuse from a parent and the film looks at it while asking “What if the evil that men do was an actual entity that could control us?” It’s more horror film than anything else and the only sour note I have is Chris Isaak is way over his head in the opening scenes.

170 06/11 MasterChef Canada Season 4 (2017) 2.5/5   More of the same. The nice guys finished first.

My Letterboxd profile is currently caught up and reviews appear their first now. I’ll probably shutter this blog. Be sure to follow there if you are interested in movies.

Movie A Day!: Naked Alien Double

A day late posting this one. Were you concerned for my well being? Huh? No? FINE!

My dip into snooty Criterion land continues with a side journey watching some De Palma and a actual trip to a theater to watch a first run film! What a week!


160 05/28 Naked Lunch (1991) 4/5   David Cronenberg tackles William Burroughs classic and instead of trying to replicate the novel he uses it as a framework to tell the biographical story of Burroughs life. I think it makes for a better film, and it’s as much a sci-fi/horror hybrid about the creative process as it is anything else. Peter Weller is fantastic as “William Lee”, the Burroughs cipher for the film, and the practical effects remain gooey in typical Cronenberg fashion. It all adds up to making an inspired film.


161 05/29 The Hidden Fortress (1958) 3.5/5   I primarily knew this one due to it having inspired George Lucas to create C-3P0 and R2-D2 in Star Wars. (It’s true! He says so in a special feature on the Criterion disc!) When I first saw it it left me flat, re-visiting it I really enjoyed it. It’s basically about a couple of peasants obsessed with gold, and is more of a comedy adventure than a Samurai epic starring Toshiro Mifune that I was first expecting on my first viewing. It’s as well done as anything Kurosawa has directed and is a lot of fun.

Alien: Covenant Movie Poster
162 05/31 Alien Covenant (2017) 4/5   Ridley Scott is back, continuing the story begun in Prometheus. I really enjoyed this one. It’s exploring some big ideas, faith over science, creation over compassion, it’s a Frankenstein film in mirror image, and the action bits deliver too so it never got bogged down. I’m looking forward to revisiting this one.


163 05/31 A Man Escaped (1956) 3.5/5   Blind bought this one on the cheap since it was a Criterion Collection title and I really enjoyed it. Basic plot is a french resistance fighter is imprisoned in Vichy France and tries to escape. What makes this one special is it is all the prison escape, meticulously shown in all it’s stages with no fat to stretch it out. It’s lean, and worth checking out.


164 06/02 Dressed to Kill (1980) 3.5/5   Fun revisiting this one. Brian De Palma at his most Hitchcock-ian, it holds up well despite from really messy gender politics for modern times. Regardless, the films moves and Nancy Allen is really good.


165 06/04 Scarface (1983) 4.5/5   Easily one of the most over the top films ever made, it shouldn’t work as well as it does. I think it’s because everyone plays it straight. Pacino is legit brilliant as rage-monster lead Tony Montana, and updating the old gangster film to modern day (well, early 80’s now) Miami was a stroke of genius. The three hour run time breezes by and this might be De Palma’s most perfect picture.

Image result for body double 1984 poster
166 06/04 Body Double (1984) 3.5/5   De Palma is back in Hitchcock-Land with this Rear Window/Vertigo mash-up that takes place in Porno-Land LA. It’s not as sleazy as I expected it to be, and I’m rating it probably lower than I should mainly because I didn’t care for the lead. That said, it’s a clever thriller that’s as much about the fake-ness of movies as it is anything else.

 

Until next time.