Movie A Day!: The Story of Running

Late posting this one despite not getting any movies in since the weekend. Put my back out and any sitting and typing was just not going to happen. Finally caught up today.

End of November and I hit 450 titles. Not bad.

Dzieje grzechu Poster
440 11/22 The Story Of Sin (1975) 3/5   Walerian Borowczyk follows up Immoral Tales and the still shocking The Beast with this one, a quieter picture about a young woman who falls for a man, and keeps falling, pretty much out of society. While not as explicit as the previous two films, the look of this one is gorgeous and despite not finding it the most exciting film pacing wise, I have to admit it’s sticking with me. I’ll be revisiting it in the future.

Possessed Poster
441 11/23 Possessed (1947) 4/5   Joan Crawford takes the lead in another cracking noir, this one playing almost like a horror film. Crawford plays a woman obsessively in love with a man who is not in love with her in return. It feels a bit against type for Crawford, seeing her playing a weaker role compared to the man eaters she is typically known for, she’s fantastic. This one is well worth your time.

Stranger on the Third Floor Poster
442 11/24 Stranger On The Third Floor (1940) 3.5/5   A young reporter is the prime witness at a murder trial, and has doubts about his testimony that leads to a conviction. Then Peter Lorre shows up. This one was a tight film noir dripping with paranoia and suspense. Lorre doesn’t get much to do, but steals his scenes anyway, but the real treat is how good John McGuire and Margaret Tallichet are who are the actual leads in the film. I’m not familiar with them, but they carry film. Pack in a ton of style with the direction and this one is short, sweet and suspenseful fun.

Next up, a series of short films from Gorman  Bechard, the director of Psychos In Love and found on the Vinegar Syndrome Blu-ray.

443 11/25 The Only Take (1985) 2/5   Short film from that is more of a one joke sketch. It is what it is. To tell anymore would ruin the joke.

444 11/25 Bartholemew (1982) 2/5   A short about a man having a breakdown due to an overbearing mother. Nothing too exceptional.

445 11/25 Objects in the Mirror Appear Further Than They Appear (2001) 3/5   Decent short that tells the story (all told in narration) of a prostitute that runs into trouble. Told mostly in stills, it’s creative and works.

Next up, the first animated short films from Walerian borowcyzk and found on the Arrow Academy Blu-ray of Story of Sin.

446 11/25 Once Upon A Time (1957) 3.5/5   A really fun, colourful and creative cut-up animated short from Walerian Borowcyzk.

447 11/25 Dom (1959) 3/5   More experimental and surreal cut-up short than Once Upon A Time, it’s a huge step forward for Borowcyzk.

448 11/25 School (1958) 2.5/5   This one features a soldier all filmed and animated from still photographs. It’s impressive but not as full fulfilling as Borowcyzk’s other shorts.

Snowpiercer Poster
449 11/25 Snowpiercer (2013) 4/5   Finally got around to this one and loved. Deals with some big ideas, big ideas that feel like prophecy as each day passes, while maintaining an action hook that never lets up. My second South Korean film watched this year that takes place completely on a train, I never would have guessed I’d be such a fan of this genre.

Long Time Running Poster
450 11/26 Long Time Running (2017) 3.5/5   Documentary following the Tragically Hip on their last tour after Gord Downey was diagnosed with Cancer. It’s good and worth watching but I can’t help but feel there’s a better, longer form documentary to be had to tell their story.

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Movie A Day!: Split Anorexia

Another week of non-stop news horror. Apparently everyone involved in the media industries I love are scumbags. I mean, I figured as much, but the level of it is getting ridiculous. Here’s the latest bunch of stuff I watched. Mostly special features from discs watched in October and some documentary things.

Split Second Poster
431 11/14 Split Second (1953) 3/5   Tight noir about a couple of killers holding hostages at a nuclear test site on the eve of a nuclear test. It’s good, but I found it couldn’t hold the tension once it became a one room deal.

Bygone Behemoth Poster
432 11/14 Bygone Behemoth (2010) 3/5   Fun animated short about a past its prime monster that can no longer get Godzilla like movie roles. It plays mundane which helps make it special and the stop motion animation is top notch.

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433 11/15 Louis Theroux Dark States: Heroin Town (2017) 4/5   Theroux starts his new documentary series with this look at how prescription medicine has resulted in 1 in 4 people being addicted to heroin in Huntington West Virginia. It’s bleak stuff, but presented well as always.

434 11/16 Louis Theroux Dark States: Trafficking Sex (2017) 4/5   Theroux looks at prostitution in Houston, talking to both the women and the pimps. Another rough look at life but fascinating to see.

A Fish Called Wanda Poster
435 11/17 A Fish Called Wanda (1988) 3/5   I saw this one back in the theater and recall it being hilarious. It still is, but it’s weird that the Americans are funnier than I recall Cleese and Palin being. It still works, but the whole thing feels a little slow and the soundtrack dates it badly. Not to mention the casual joke plot that reeks of homophobia in this age. It’s hard to be mad at though since Jamie Lee Curtis and Kevin Kline are so good.

Rogue One Poster
436 11/18 Rogue One: A Star Wars Tale (2016) 3.5/5   This one tells the unnecessary story of what happened immediately before episode four. I found it superior to The Force Awakens. The plot moves better, cast is great. Only real problem is the digital recreation of Peter Cushing and Carrie Fisher is monstrously creepy. Let’s keep the digital actors to those who have never existed in real life.

437 11/19 Re-Animator: Resurrectus (2007) 3/5   A fine documentary on the making of the film that covers all the bases.

438 11/19 Louis Theroux Dark States: Murder in Milwaukee (2017) 4/5   Theroux’s latest documentary series ends with a look at gun violence in Milwaukee, a city that has a disproportionate amount of gun violence based on its population. As always, it’s dead solid and this whole series is well worth your time. The brilliance with Theroux is that he is there to learn and understand, as opposed to opine and judge, and you end up getting a better understanding of complicated issues that have no easy answer. Just watch all his damned docs!

439 11/20 Louis Theroux: Talking to Anorexia (2017) 4/5   I’m presuming this one was filmed in the same period as DARK STATES, but aired separate as it’s not about an american issue. It’s a tragic look at what anorexia really is to those who suffer from it, and shows how complicated it really is. All without judgement.

 

Movie A Day!: Salome Brain Damage

Only thing worse than the news is family thinking that all the horrible people are correct.

Salome Poster
420 11/06 Salome (1973) 2.5/5   Experimental short film from Clive Barker is just that. Didn’t make any sense but had some nice visuals.

421 11/07 The Forbidden (1978) 2.5/5   Another experimental short film from Clive Barker that is bigger on ideas and image than actually being fun to watch.

The Blue Sextet Poster
422 11/11 Blue Sextet (1971) 2.5/5   Directed by the man who brought us I Drink Your Blood, this one find a group of people meeting up to remember a friend who passed away, only to discover what a total bastard he was. It’s an ambitious softcore film that emphasizes plot but didn’t really hold my attention.

The Keepers Poster
423 11/11 The Keepers (2017) 3/5   A Netflix true crime series about the murder of a nun is actually a disturbing outing of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. It’s easily two episodes too long, and a massive trigger warning to anyone who survived abuse. The death of a nun bit almost seems like a trick to get you to watch.


424 11/11 Kinky Tricks (1977) 3/5   Okay look, this is probably a one-day wonder as far as porno goes, but star Candida Royalle is a firecracker of personality and the short run-time helps to keep it fun. It also delivers “kinky tricks” and is generally lighthearted. For what it is, it’s pretty good, but no must see.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Poster
425 11/12 Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) 2.5/5   I enjoyed this one more the second time but it still relies way too much on nostalgia for the past and what they have done with “The Force” is horrendous. It’s a shame since the new cast is great.

426 11/12 China Lust (1976) 1.5/5   Low rent porno quickie that barely has a plot and no real star power to make it stand out.

Next are a pair of short films from Emiliano Rocha Minter.

Inside Poster
427 11/13 Dentro (Inside) (2013) 2.5/5   A short film that manages to pack in a ton of style into its running time and has a good sense of dread as two people build a mysterious thing in the woods.

428 11/13 Videohome (2014) 3/5   This one feels more like a warm-up to images the director will explore in WE ARE THE FLESH, but manages to be impressive all the same.

The Window Poster
429 11/13 The Window (1949) 4/5   A real spooky film noir about a young boy who witnesses a murder only no one will believe him. The boy is Disney wunderkind Bobby Driscoll who manages to carry the film without ever being annoying. It makes what happened to him in later life all the more tragic. Everyone else is great as well and really makes this one worth checking out.

430 11/13 Listen To The Light: The Making of Brain Damage (2017) 3.5/5   Really well done documentary on the making of the film despite missing the directors input. Can be found on the recent Arrow Blu-ray.

Movie A Day!: Desperate Hellraisers

Another week of film, film fans! Catching up on special features from discs I watched in October, but snuck in a few films.

Desperate Poster
410 11/01 Desperate (1947) 3/5   Better than average noir about a truck driver that gets roped into committing a crime and has to clear his name. Main issue is that lead Steve Brodie is completely overshadowed by heel Raymond Burr, so you find yourself waiting for Burr to show up instead of getting wrapped up in the main story. Still good time though.

Train to Busan Poster
411 11/01 Train To Busan (2016) 4/5   South Korea proves once again that they are one of the best at producing genre movies. If there’s a tired genre, it’s the zombie film. Having a contained outbreak on a literal train is a bit of a stroke of genius, and the film completely delivers not just the action, but enough humanity that you may find yourself tearing up.

Ronin Poster
412 11/03 Ronin (1998) 4/5   It’s a film that’s  completely driven by a MacGuffin, but it’s so well done it’s hard not to love it. The car chases are great, but what really keeps it interesting is the film never feels like it has to give everything away as far as the characters go, as well as the purpose of the plot. Makes for a tight action film and at a level with John Frankenheimer’s other classics.

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413 11/03 The Sinful Pleasures of Reverend Star (1977) 2/5   A cult is using hypnotism to prey on young women in this poverty row porno. Not much to make it stand out.

Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy Poster
414 11/04 Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy (2010) 4/5   Massive, four hour documentary going into the complete Elm Street history and featuring nearly every major person involved. If you’re interested in the history of the series, this one is for you since it’s made for the fans.

The Strange Love of Martha Ivers Poster
415 11/04 The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946) 3.5/5   Film noir about three childhood friends who cross paths as adults. Barbara Stanwyck is Martha, and neither Van Heflin or newcomer Kirk Douglas are a match for her. Stanwyck really is just the best.

Document of the Dead Poster
416 11/04 Definitive Document Of The Dead (2012) 3.5/5   Documentary on George A. Romero. Starts off strong, going pretty deep in the process with Dawn Of The Dead, but starts to wander later on. Still well worth a watch.

Leviathan: The Story of Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser II Poster
417 11/05 Leviathan: The Story of Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser II (2015) 3.5/5   Massively detailed and long documentary on the making of the two films that manages to tell everything you want to know, without the participation of Clive Barker. Which means that despite how packed with info and stories it is, you can’t help but feel like you’re missing something.

Django, Prepare a Coffin Poster
418 11/05 Django Prepare A Coffin (1968) 3/5   I’ve not dived into the Django films, which means I was honestly lost for most of the set up to this film as I’m guessing there’s a presumed familiarity at play with it. Once it got going it ended up being a good but not particularly memorable spaghetti western.

419 11/05 Hell On Earth: The Story of Hellraiser III (2015) 3/5  Significantly shorter documentary by the team that brought you Leviathan. It’s the story of Hellraiser III which sadly never mentions cult porn legend Flame as one of the dancers, but tells you everything else you need to know about the film.

Scary Movie Challenge 2017: The End

Here it is! The end of the scary movie challenge. Final total was 113 films with 80 first time viewings. I’m pleased. More first timers this year than any previous year, and more recent titles too. Anyways, this means this blog will start posting once a week again, maybe less since I plan to catch up on special features from the piles of physical media I watched. Here’s the last few films.

The Little Shop of Horrors Poster
396 10/28 The Little Shop Of Horrors (1960) 3/5   Roger Corman’s 2 day wonder has tons of charm but I don’t love it as much as others. Still a fun little film and Jack Nicholson’s bit is worth hanging around for.

The Hills Have Eyes Part II Poster
397 10/28 The Hills Have Eyes Part II (1984) 2/5   While I didn’t find it to be the worst film ever as some think it is, it’s far from good. Holding no comparison to the quality of the original, it’s a run of the mill “Teens stuck out in the middle of nowhere” type deal that has zero charm and just plods along.

A Nightmare on Elm Street Poster
398 10/28 A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) 4.5/5   Wes Craven’s classic hold up just fine. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve seen it, it always delivers though and manages to be scary.

A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge Poster
399 10/28 A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985) 3.5/5   I actually enjoy this one more now than I did back in the day. Clever switcher-oo with a boy being the one pursued instead of the girl

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors Poster
400 10/28 A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) 4/5   It’s not as good as the first one, but it’s my favourite in the series. I love the idea of the kids banding together to fight back. It’s also great catching up with the characters from the first one. It’s as if part 2 never happened.

Saturn 3 Poster
401 10/28 Saturn 3 (1980) 2.5/5   I haven’t seen this one since I was a little boy and watching it now as a big boy, it’s not good. A sci-fi film where you are lead to believe that Farrah Fawcett is in a consensual relationship with million year old Kirk Douglas, it also features the great Harvey Keitel sounding like you have never heard him before since they dubbed his voice. Directed by the great Stanley Donen – Singing in the Rain will always be one of my most favourite movies – and featuring a killer robot, it’s ridiculous how they get everything wrong. You know you’re in trouble when the opening shot references Star Wars and the music is like a Star Wars/2001 A Space odyssey blend.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master Poster
402 10/28 A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988) 3/5  I actually enjoyed this one more than I remembered liking it. Continues on from the last one, Freddy has sadly turned into a pun-machine. That said, it’s fun if not a bit forgettable.

A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child Poster
403 10/29 A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989) 2/5   Everything I’m willing to give a pass to in the fourth one gets far too annoying in this. The child stuff is corny, none of the characters are likable and not even Freddy can bring the fun.

Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare Poster
404 10/29 Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991) 2/5   You couldn’t ask for a worse ending, despite a good cast. It’s more goofy Freddy’s kid stuff and it’s simply a drag.

New Nightmare Poster
405 10/29 Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994) 4/5   The series goes meta with this one, finding the actors of the first film having to deal with Freddy in the real world. It works really well, but I find it runs a little long. That said, I’ll take this one over the last couple films any time.

Rabid Poster
406 10/29 Rabid (1977) 4/5   I really got a kick out of this one during this viewing. Cronenberg’s take on a zombie like plague has the body horror he’s known for and is admittedly a little corny in some of it’s stings. Not enough to annoy though, it’s always enjoyable.

Dead Ringers Poster
407 10/29 Dead Ringers (1988) 4/5   A story about identity between two identical twins that swap roles, it’s the kind of thing that most filmmakers would use as a surprise ending. Cronenberg starts the film with the “twist”, and then dwells on the ramifications for the rest. Lacking the graphic shocks of his earlier films, this one manages to be more disturbing. It might be Cronenberg’s best film, which is saying something considering how solid of a director he is.

Green Room Poster
408 10/30 Green Room (2015) 2.5/5   A punk band take a gig at a nazi bar and witness a murder. I just never got into it despite a great cast and a film that does everything right for the most part. I’ll probably revisit it to give it a second chance since I feel like I’m missing something.

Shin Godzilla Poster
409 10/31 Shin Godzilla (2016) 3/5   If you ever wondered how the Japanese parliament would deal with a giant monster attack, this one is for you. The monster stuff is amazing! Using CGI to build the ultimate “rubber suit” style monster to wreak havoc, it’s a stroke of genius and some of the best giant monster stuff you’ll see. Sadly it’s bogged down in never ending political bureaucracy that is so detailed in its minutia it’s ridiculous. Why no one can make a dead solid Godzilla film in this day and age is beyond me. That said, it’s light years better than the 2014 American film.