Movie A Day! 036-040: Indiegogo Playbook Confession

So this one features a couple of Vinegar Syndrome releases (not the best ones they have to offer, but two all the same). Anyone who’s read this blog should be able to tell, I’m a pretty big fan of this company. They are doing the big work protecting, restoring and preserving a genre of film, exploitation, from disappearing. They’re doing the work that most of the major studios refuse to do (See MGM and the protection of John Wayne’s THE ALAMO for an example) as an independent. They are introducing a new initiative this year, a streaming channel that will start off offering over 200 films, porn, horror, who knows what else, in a Netflix like service. They are currently offering an indiegogo campaign to get the project started. So if you’ve ever been curious about the films I review, but don’t want to purchase, it’s a great way to check them out, help them out, and keep the movies that influenced a generation of film makers alive. Click the link, share the campaign, and watch their video, it’s pretty cool.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/vinegarsyndrome-tv-instant-digital-exploitation/


036 01-29 An Act of Confession (1971) 2.5/5
The final film in this Peekarama edition (unless you count a soft version of CRY FOR CINDY) is a bit of a mixed bag. Barely released, never distributed in New York and thought lost, Vinegar Syndrome found a print of this Anthony Spinelli Nunsploitation in the archives of fellow porn legend, director Alex de Renzy. Sadly, it’s not fully uncut, but it is as complete as it’s likely ever going to be. I’m going to guess time wise this one came after Ken Russell’s THE DEVILS (still not released uncut by Warner Bros. despite a HD restoration) since it shares a similar look to whatever version of THE DEVILS I saw (a patched together uncut version from the UK). Explicit films based around nuns getting horned out due to erotic fantasies are always problematic I guess, whether it’s a porno or a Warner Brothers film. Anyway, this one isn’t that bad, and actually plays a bit arty instead of exploitative. Though it is exploitative, there’s a bit of hardcore thrown in/not fully cut out (?) and most importantly, the final scene with the main nun and Jesus(!) is mostly intact. That said, the constant Gregorian chants and rather uninspired plot leave it meandering a little bit, like a less interesting WAKEFIELD POOL’S BIBLE! (also by Vinegar Syndrome). So it’s more of an interesting curiosity than a proper “Good” film.


037 01-30 Silver Linings Playbook (2012) 4/5
It’s technically a rom-com with a stupid title, but I really enjoy this one. I think because it deals with mental illness in an open way, yet never makes actual fun of it. Humour comes from situations, but never the disease itself. Anyway, it’s good, and Bradley Cooper is about as good as he gets in it. Jennifer Lawrence steals the show despite Chris Tuckers attempts in a role that requires him to tone down his usual film persona. Good stuff all around this one.


038 01-31 The Comedy (2012) 2.5/5
I’m a big Tim & Eric fan, so I’ve been wanting to see Tim Heidecker’s dramatic debut for a while. Finally took the plunge, and it’s not great. Tim is fine, the movie is about a wealth fund kid kicking around New York being an asshole. The film is pretty much plot-less as a rambling character study that never really finds a point. Or I just didn’t get what they were trying to achieve.


039 01-31 Impact (1949) 3/5
A B-level noir starring Brian Donlevy as an industrial magnet who’s gold digger wife plots to have killed. The first fifteen minutes play in a burst of energy that would be the plot of most film noirs with the Donlevy’s attempted murder and a mistaken identity plot that then wanders for the rest of the film as Donlevy, presumed dead, lives a new life as a small town mechanic. Shave a bit out of the middle and this could of been a twisty, noir classic. As it stands, it wears out it’s welcome a bit, especially since the film could of ended at the twenty minute mark with a a single call to the police.


040 01-31 Oriental Hawaii (1982) 2/5
When Carlos Tobalina (JUNGLE BLUE) uses an assumed name on a directors credit, you know you’re in trouble since none of his films are all that great. This one is about a family who rents a couple of rooms to some asian university girls for some extra cash. That’s it. The most base of porn plots for a very base porn. This half of the Vinegar Syndrome Peekarama double feature is far from their best effort, though the actual transfer quality is right up there like all their releases. I’ll probably get to the more interesting second feature MAI LIN Vs. SERENA next week.

That’s about it for this one. Be sure to shoot a couple bucks over to the VS campaign if you have some extra bucks to shoot. They, and genre fans everywhere will thank you!

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Movie A Day! 021-025: “Gone, Really Gone, Girl!”

Here we are with two movies you might actually watch! Balanced with some filth and another Doctor Who.

021 01-15 Touch Me (1971) 3/5
Cracked open another one of Vinegar Syndromes PEEK-A-RAMA sets. This one features three films (CRY FOR CINDY, TOUCH ME and the previously lost ACT OF CONFESSION, 4 if you count an alternate version of CRY FOR CINDY. Those VS folks really know how to deliver the seedy goods) by Anthony Spinelli who did such good work on SEXWORLD. This first film pre-dates DEEP THROAT and is in the “classic”, for it’s time, educational style. A psychiatrist is introducing the viewer to the form of therapy known as “Encounter Groups” because the stress of the modern world and Vietnam has us all hung up man! It’s all an excuse to eventually getting around to showing people having sex, with the BS documentary form in place to try to give the film merit so the makers don’t get chucked in the clink for being dirty pornographers. Anyway, this was one of the best of this type that I’ve seen with the writing more sincere than these typically are (no “professors” telling their students to whack off to playboy like in the Ed Wood written one) and the Doctor, while a total quack (and not actually a real doctor of course) actually coming off as concerned for the mental health of the “patients”. It’s also in form with others from the era where it’s mostly a softcore picture with hardcore inserts, until the final reel or so anyway. So as a porn flick, you can do better on a tube site. As a relic of a forgotten era though, it’s a fun watch.

022 01-16 Gone Girl (2014) 4/5
Finally got my hands on the latest David Fincher film and it didn’t disappoint. Technically perfect like all his films, I loved this noir throwback. The less you know the better, go with the ride and you’re in for a real treat as this one could sit quite comfortable at the table with VERTIGO and LAURA. Affleck has never been better, we can stop shitting on him for PEARL HARBOR and ARMAGEDDON, he’s the real deal. Rosamund Pike is no slouch either, and I’ll leave it at that out of fear of spoilers.

023 01-17 Doctor Who S02E02 (6parts) – The Dalek Invasion of Earth (1964) 3.5/5
This is the story that should have been the season opener! The Doctor, FINALLY get’s the group back to contemporary London at their regular size, only to find London decimated by a Dalek invasion! The Daleks are enslaving humans, turning some of them into cyborg guards, to mine into the earths core so they can get their hands on the magnetism. I mean come on, how badass are the Daleks? Anyway, the Doctor solves everything, but the most notable aspect of this one is, he leaves his granddaughter Susan behind with only one shoe! She’s fallen for some guy, and he thinks it’s best for her to stay, even though she doesn’t want to! The Doctor is such an asshole! Looking forward to the next one now since I’m curious if they acknowledge the Dalek decimation of Earth as cannon or some dumb alternate dimension type thing.

024 01-17 Rush (2013) 3/5
This movie proves that even one of the most boring sports to watch, auto racing of any type, can make for an exciting movie. Or it’s just me oddly enjoying movies based on sports I hate. Anyway, this tells the true story James Hunt and Niki Lauda, sport rivals in the Formula 1 circuit in the 70’s. Ron Howard does a good job on his second car picture (GRAND THEFT AUTO was his first, it’s arguably better), and the actors are fine I guess. I mean, Thor plays the handsome Brit playboy Hunt and some guy no one’s heard of plays the miserable German, it’s about as base and stereotypical as two real people can be. Still, it’s a good one worth checking out, though admittedly I’d rather just watch an actual documentary.

025 01-17 Cry For Cindy (1976) 3/5
Anthony Spinelli goes for tragedy in this adult film from the porno chic era. It tells the story of Cindy, a girl who gets into hooking to help get her boyfriend through doctor school. It’s told as a remembrance from the people who knew her, since the film pretty much starts with her suicide. Hits all the plot points you would expect, but manages to hold your interest. Not for least the near constant queefing of Cindy on the soundtrack. Drinking game!

After a few days, if you think too hard about GONE GIRL it doesn’t make a lot of sense. But like Fincher’s THE GAME, it’s still a hell of a ride, plot issues or no. I’m already itching to watch it again. I also knocked half a star off RUSH. I really would rather just watch a documentary on the two racer guys. They lived a public life, their races were all taped. Just make a fucking documentary already!

That’s about it for this posting. I’m exhausted and can’t think of much to write.

Movie A Day! 001- 010: “A New Beginning”

Decided to keep this going since I track what I watch (and read) anyway, but I’m having second thoughts and it’s all due to formatting. Depending on the browser I use, it adds spaces that I don’t want between the move number title thing and the mini-review. It’s ridiculous and drives me crazy. I have to go into the weird text editor and delete spaces added from the copying and pasting. Nice job, stupid website! So much for for finding an easier way to do this.

A weird hodge-podge of porn, cartoons, Shakespeare and special features to start the New Year.

001 01-01 I Am Always Ready (1978) 1.5/5
This is the second feature on Vinegar Syndrome’s PeekaRama disc with THE ULTIMATE PLEASURE, and boy, was it the lesser film. Another Carlos Tobalina title, this one is about a woman who comes into some cash and decides to make a porn film so she can meet John Holmes, and that’s just the opening 3 minutes! I thought I was watching the trailer! The rest of the film is scene after uninspired scene of the porn being shot. It’s dull with nothing to elevate it and will have you reaching for the fast forward button since the horrendous wigs and set dressing are more entertaining.

002 01-01 The “Scanners” Way (2014) 4/5
I watched all the special features on Criterion’s SCANNERS blu-ray that I watched last October. They’re all really good, the main doc going into all aspects of the filming, including the legendary head exploding scene (achieved via SHOTGUN BLAST!), and the rest featuring new and classic interviews with the key players. You typically can’t go wrong with Criterion, and this is no exception.

003 01-01 Frozen (2013) 3/5
This is the Disney film about the Ice Queen, not the horror film about a trio of skiers stuck on a ski lift. This one was good, there are some fun characters and even better, a kickass “Girl Power” vibe. These Princesses don’t need no Prince Charming to save them and who new Veronica Mars could sing like that? My problem with the film is my typical one with modern animation. The CGI characters look ugly and generic with zero personality and there are way too many songs in the first three quarters. Disney seems to think animated features are the same as Broadway musicals. As a result, the story pacing is completely killed. I liked the little snowman guy, and his little music video summer song thing was cute, but completely unnecessary to the narrative. Cut half the songs (not “Let It Go”, that one was actually placed perfectly) and I’d add another star. The ski lift FROZEN also got three stars from me, in case anyone was curious. Also, the new Mickey Mouse short on the blu-ray was pretty great. Man, I miss “Rubber Hose” animation.

https://i1.wp.com/ih1.redbubble.net/image.15879118.1519/flat,550x550,075,f.jpg

004 01-01 Stereo (1969) 2/5
This is the last of the bonus features on Criterion’s SCANNERS blu-ray. It’s David Cronenberg’s first film! It’s simply not very good! It’s more of an experimental art film about a Canadian testing on telepathy. So it sounds like a prequel to SCANNERS, but it’s not. A group of people silently (there is no soundtrack) wander around a testing facility, communicating only by telepathy. The only spoken words are chunks of narration throughout explaining the technical experiments that aren’t really being shown. So despite being incredibly well shot and looking fantastic in stark black and white, nothing really happens and my brain just kept buzzing away.

005 01-02 Joe (2013) 4/5
Thanks to the internet and some whack-o parts in the past, people forget just how great Nic Cage can be. Like in this movie, which is one of the darker, more bleak films you see in the “Southern Gothic” genre. I’m guessing that’s what you’d call it. Anyway, Nic is the title character who helps out a kid in town whose dad is a degenerate drunk. A hell of a film that goes all the way, like films of this type should. As a bonus, Cage does a bit where he teaches the kid how to make a “cool face”, which when demonstrated, is the face Cage makes ALL THE TIME. (Make your face like you’re in horrible pain, then smile. That’s the secret Cage Cool Face, I expect pictures.)

Macbeth Movie Poster

006 01-03 The Tragedy of Macbeth (1971) 4.5/5
I’m no Shakespeare expert, far from it. Macbeth would be my favourite of the plays though, and this one is one of my favourite movies based on his works. Roman Polanski shoots this one like a movie, not a play, and with the sets and exteriors you forget you’re watching one of the most famous plays every performed and instead get swept up in the story of the doomed Scottish king. There’s not a single bad performance, the wordplay is accessible and since everything is done realistically, everything seems dripping in fog, dirt and blood. It actually plays as much like a horror film than it does a typical tragedy, and I highly recommend the new Criterion blu-ray that looks breathtaking, especially since my only exposure to the film prior was via a VHS dupe since this one seems to be one of the more forgotten films of Polanski’s filmography.

007 01-03 SexWorld (1977) 4/5
First there was WestWorld, then FutureWorld, of course there should have been a SexWorld since really, all those movies are about are fucking robots. This one is directed by legendary Anthony Spinelli, and he gets a higher budget than the porno chic films typically gets and it shows. Featuring many stars, including cult favourites Annette Haven and Kay Parker (her film debut), this one surprisingly hedges on the Sci-Fi elements (so after three films of robot sex, we never learn who has to clean the cum out of them) and instead deals more with the emotional aspects of being able to live your sexual fantasy. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nearly wall to wall sex scenes, but they’re presented in a way that it feels like a “proper” film instead of a loop carrier. So this is a good one, and the Vinegar Syndrome blu-ray puts to shame many legit releases from the major companies from the same period.

008 01-04 Toil & Trouble: Making “Macbeth” (2014) 4/5
009 01-04 Polanski Meets Macbeth (1971) 4/5
These are the main two documentaries on the Criterion blu-ray reviewed above, and both are exactly what you want to see. The first one from 2014 features recent interviews on the history of the film, while the other is a shot on set look at Polanski actually making the movie. They perfectly complement each other without being repetitive and are well worth watching on their own. The other extras, a couple of TV clips, one with the writer of the film on Dick Cavett and the other has Polanski debating Macbeth adaptations with a theatrical director are great as well. So in typical Criterion Collection fashion, this is about as thorough a set as anyone will need for this film.

010 01-04 Throne of Blood (1957) 4/5
Figured I go all out and watch Akira Kurosawa’s adaptation of Macbeth as well. They do a fantastic job adapting the play to feudal Japan, with some neat substitutions like evil spirits in the forest instead of witches. Otherwise, it’s “Macbeth” in plot and Toshiro Mifune is as god as ever in the title role.

Boy, just look at that Criterion cover art for MACBETH. Pretty great eh?

Well, there it is, a new year, an old blog, and more movies no one else is watching. Ten films in 4 days, though most were just around the hour mark so it’s a bit of a cheat. Fun? I hope so. Maybe this year I’ll make it out to the theaters a bit so there are actual current, helpful reviews. (Don’t hold your breath though….)