Movie A Day!: 364-368 – Not Quite A Movie A Day

Not a big week of movie watching this past one. I’ve been catching up on shows I fell behind on with the horror challenge, as well as had some evenings blown out.

Of course, the big movie news this past week was that it ends up that Bill Cosby is a horrible, serial rapist. I always find these things conflicting. I, like most people, grew up with Cosby, both with his stand-up and his TV shows like Fat Albert, that magic pen educational thing, The Cosby Show. God damn it Bill, why did you have to be a monster? I nearly bought the complete Fat Albert a while back, and part of me still want’s to re-watch them, but I don’t want to give him my money. Kind of like how I always planned to watch all of Woody Allen’s films, and now will probably steal copies rather than buy the discs, if I bother to even do that. Not that I’m so morally high minded, I’m still picking up Roman Polanski discs. Does the weakness of the creators invalidate their art? I don’t know. I’m not the only hypocrite though, that fucking monster Mike Tyson continues to get movie roles, and now a cartoon series on Adult Swim. Why is he given a pass?

I hate this decade. It seems like for the past few years, every week has some new horror happening. The movies have mostly gone to shit too.

364 11-16 Doctor Who (2005) Season 8 (10 Episodes) 3.5/5
As some of you know, I was blogging recaps of these, so you know I was really enjoying them at the start. The first few episodes were pretty solid, and Peter Capaldi as the new Doctor is doing a great job. My issues were with baggage from the old series. Clara is awful, and the romantic stuff with here is equally awful. There was a few episodes, especially “Kill the Moon” that just weren’t as good as they could of been, and it was largely due to Clara being a dead-faced side kick, and the producers constantly bringing in kids for the Doctor to deal with. Too many fucking kids, frankly. Thankfully the two part finale rights most of the wrongs, so I’m still in for next season. Plus they prick-teased a Christmas special with Nick Frost as Santa Claus, so that’s a must watch.

365 11-16 The Wolf Man (1941) 5/5
Lon Chaney Jr. gets his starring role, creating the title monster on the Universal Horror classic. This one is really pretty great, even if Chaney Jr. is a bit miscast as Larry Talbot, returning to his home town to reconcile with his old man, the great Claude Rains. Once he gets werewolf-ed though, it gets great, and Chaney is great as the Wolf Man. This one has it all, Bela Lugosi as a gypsy, cool Wolf Man make up, foggy moors. On top of that, pretty much everything you know about werewolf’s comes from this movie. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

366 11-17 D.O.A. (1950) 3.5/5
I finally got around to seeing this one after seeing the remake from the late 80’s with Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan. I liked that one, and I liked this one. Edmond O’Brien is in the lead as the man who is poisoned and has 48 hours to find his killer. It’s good stuff, I just wish this one wasn’t public domain since the copy in the admittedly cheap DVD set I got is the pits and barely watchable.

367 11-22 The Last Hurrah (1958) 4/5
This one stars the great Spencer Tracy as a long running mayor looking for re-election. Since it’s 1958, the old ways of politics are fading away as television and photogenic candidates are becoming important. There’s some nice commentary in this one, as well as bits that get a little over melodramatic, as is often the case when director John Ford deals with Irish leads. That said, it never wanders or annoys, and the support cast featuring many John Ford regulars (and Basil Rathbone, who almost steals the picture) is top notch.

368 11-22 Purely Physical (1982) 2/5
This is the first film in yet another PeekARama collection from Vinegar Syndrome. This set features two films from Chris Warfield, a director I never heard from. The basic plot is a woman takes a job working the desk of a motels night shift so she write about the patrons. That’s it for plot, the film is basically loops and never all that interesting.

That’s it for this round-up. Next week I should hopefully get some more movies in. I can;t believe I didn’t get a Zatoichi in! I have to get them wrapped up, I just received a massive Bruce Lee set so I can re-watch all of his films. As a bonus I got a four film collection of Jimmy Wang films. No idea what those will be like.

The End

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Movie A Day!: 355-363 – “Bring Me Down I’m Scared!”

Right! Another week, another list! I didn’t get in a full ten titles this week. On Wednesday night I actually left the house and saw the wonderful Sadies perform. This is my third time seeing the band, and they are easily one of the the top five live acts I’ve seen. You have to be dead inside to not get swept up by them. Anyway, on with the films!

355 11-09 The Dollop – Live at Podfest (2014) 3/5
I’m kind of sneaking this one on here. This is one of my favourite podcasts, and they put this one up on YouTube to watch. If you like weird history, this is the podcast for you. While this episode isn’t as bonkers funny as some of their other ones, it’s still pretty fun.

356 11-09 Marvel 75 Years – From Pulp To Pop (2014) 2.5/5
Typical, back slapping PR kit style profile about how great Marvel Comics is, with none of the real story in it. So if you want to hear the official, super happy fun-guy version of where the characters came from, and how they were exploited into a movie franchise, then this is the one for you. Those of us wanting a more truthful look at Marvel will have to keep waiting. My favourite bit: Stan Lee being celebrated for challenging the Comic Code despite Marvel being one of the founders of said code, which was created to put EC Comics and other publishers out of business since Lee and his shitty monster books couldn’t compete. They didn’t mention that later bit…

357 11-09 Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo (1970) 4/5
This one was ridiculously good. The plot is basically what the title says, the blind swordsman meets Yojimbo, the classic character from the film YOJIMBO by Akira Kurosawa that inspired A FIST FULL OF DOLLARS which kick started the “Spaghetti Western” genre. Got all that? You did realize that Samurai and western films are all connected right? Now go watch KILL BILL again. Anyway, Zatoichi and Yojimbo are both in town and after a score of gold being hidden from Yakuza bosses. It’s an incredibly complex, twisty plot, and it works like gangbusters. There’s only a few of these films left in the boxset, and I’m going to miss them when I’m done.

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358 11-10 Red River (Theatrical Version) (1948) 4/5
This one is Howard Hawks other classic western that isn’t called RIO BRAVO. This one also stars John Wayne, and it’s the first time that Wayne played an anti-hero. His character here is an embittered rancher that is obsessed with driving his massive herd of cattle up the Chisholm trail to market. Walter Brennan plays his old partner, and Montgomery Clift plays the younger partner that Wayne took in as a child. So really, it’s a generational story of three men, their roles and how their relationships change with age. It’s a great film, the cattle scenes are amazing, and the character interplay is even better. I plan on watching the preview version sooner than later since I think this is one where you get more out of it each time you see it. This was one of my dads favourite films, so it was a shame a decent version took so long to come out not that he’s not here to see it.

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359 11-11 Wreck-It Ralph (2012) 4/5
Finally got around to the Disney film that couldn’t have been more made for me. It’s flat out “TOY STORY” but with video games, and it couldn’t be any better. John C. Reilly is great in the title role as the bad guy wanting to be a good guy, and Sarah Silverman is equally great, maybe surprisingly great in a role that doesn’t allow her to say “Cunt” repeatedly. Anyway, they nail the world that had to create for the story to make sense, and all the cameos of classic game characters was a fun trip down geek memory lane.

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360 11-13 The Black Cat (1941) 3/5
This is another Universal Horror that is named THE BLACK CAT and it has nothing to do with the previous film of that title, despite Bela Lugosi being in it in a small role. This one is basically a “Old House” type mystery. An old woman is reading her will, and now people are getting knocked off. It’s notable for it’s ridiculously strong cast of Basil Rathbone (Known for the Sherlock Holmes series), Broderick Crawford (ALL THE KINGS MEN) and Alan Ladd (SHANE) in an early role. Sadly, a lot of this one is played for laughs, mostly at the hands of comedian Hugh Herbert whose schtick doesn’t hold up very well today. It’s still a fun watch though.

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361 11-14 Tropic of Desire (1979) 3/5
This is one from the later “Porno Chic” era by Bob Chinn. It’s a pretty ambitious piece, set during the later part of WW2, about the goings on of a whore house in Hawaii. It’s all played surprisingly serious, and while sex is obviously at the forefront, it’s not really at the expense of characterization. It’s hurt a bit from typical porn budget production values, but not enough to kill it’s ambitions. Plus it has a recreation of a classic smoker that has some startling acts that’s more than worth the time to watch as the sort of freak show you don’t usually see in movies anymore.

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362 11-15 Rolling Stones From The Vault – Hampton Coliseum 1981 (2014) 4/5
The Stones are opening up their archives and seem to be pumping out releases faster than ever. I think this is the first one “From the Vault”, and thankfully it’s pretty great. This was the first concert sold as a closed circuit pay-per view, and the Stones are in fine form supporting their most recent album TATTOO YOU. The highlight is Keith Richards clobbering a fan across the head with his guitar when the fan rushed on stage at Jagger. Richards doesn’t miss a beat and they finish the encore “Satisfaction” as if nothing happened. So yeah, greatest rock ‘n’ roll band in the world, right there.

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363 11-15 Fantasy World (1979) 2.5/5
This one is the back-up feature on the same disc that TROPIC OF DESIRE was on, and also directed by Bob Chinn. It’s good, but it’s basically a loop carrier. The skimp plot is some Navy sailors are on leave (using the same boat sets and costumes found in TROPIC, so I’m guessing these were filmed back to back) in San Francisco who are looking for a live sex show. They enter Fantasy World, and proceed to watch and participate in the stage show/fantasies. The porn is fine, but there’s not much to note since none of them get all that weird despite Chinn’s artistic ambitions. The most notable thing ends up being legend Paul Thomas going back to his pre-porn JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR days (he played Judas in the film), writing and performing the theme song “If Wishes Were Horses”. All said in the end, this is yet another PeekARama disc from Vinegar Syndrome that offers some good value for the price.

So there it is. Even the dog films were pretty good this past week. Red River really was great, I might bump it to 4.5 on a second viewing. The theatrical is the directors preferred version, but he had to trim the ending. That ending is on the longer preview version. So the actual directors cut would be the theatrical with the preview ending. Oof! It’s kind of weird watching though since I know dad would of loved seeing it looking so good on blu.

Anyway, that’s enough until next week. Going to try to finish up the season of Doctor Who this week, on top of the usual movie watching.

The End