Movie A Day!: 390-396 -“Work? I saw a baby blown apart at my ‘Work.'”

How is everyone doing? Everyone holding up? Christmas and the holidays are descending like a fog and it’s hard not to get caught up in it. I continue to not feel the spirit. Maybe it’s from being old, single and childless, but in the “take it or leave” it side of Christmas, I could leave. Except for the turkey dinner, I like that part. I’m going to try to get out a bit over my Christmas week off work and hopefully not get totally despondent like I usually do. Hopefully all of you do the same.

Here’s my last week of films, some really good ones!

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390 12-15 Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman (1943) 4/5
I’m rating this one higher than a non-fan of the series would. This was the first big monster meetup picture for the Universal Monster series, and as such acts as a sequel to THE WOLFMAN and THE GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN. That said, it’s more of a sequel to Wolfie since it largely follows the story of Talbot and his werewolf curse. Anyway, it totally delivers and manages to be a really dark picture as far as tone goes. It’s also notable for being the only time Bela Lugosi would play Frankenstein, and he does a pretty good job other than they fucked him over. Carrying on from GHOST, the monster was supposed to talk in this one, but the studio thought it looked corny and cut all the dialog. So you have poor Bela stumbling about with arms flailing looking a bit wonky when he’s actually playing the monster blind, which you will never know since they cut the dialog explaining the blindness. Still, in the end, it’s a hell of a lot of fun, I just wish Universal would get off their asses and restore these since the print used on the DVD is the worst one in the set, so far.

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391 12-16 Michael Buble’s Christmas in New York (2014) 2.5/5
12-16 A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) 5/5
12-16 Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales (2002) 1.5/5
Yup, I’m still getting rooked into Christmas specials. This year, 2014, is the year in which some new singer named Ariana Grande is on every TV special. Some how dopey Canadian crooner Buble roped her into singing on his special. Grande is technically a good singer in that she hits the notes, but she’s one of those soulless, mechanical singers that appear to be reading a phone book, with no care or effort happening, that always spooks me and makes me not like them. This special is also the second special to feature the legendary Rockettes kicking their legs all over the place. I don’t get them either. Give me some tap dancers and I’m in. This corny revue stuff leading into leg kicking is a bunch of bullshit. The highlight, and the reason I’m giving it 2.5 stars. is Buble sings “Baby It’s Cold Outside” with Miss Piggy, with Miss Piggy taking the rapist part that the guys usually sing. Awesome!

A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS is a classic that you should have seen by now. The other one was terrible, featuring gaggy vignettes that I’m guessing were taken from the actual daily strips. It didn’t work as a cartoon special, and actually put me off getting some of the beautiful strip reprints that Fantagraphics have been putting out.

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392 12-17 Captive Wild Woman (1943) 3/5
Ever wanted to see a movie where a mad scientist turns a gorilla into a beautiful woman that can control lions and tigers to help a circus act? Here’s your chance! This is as wonky a Universal Horror title as you will find, and a heck of a lot of fun. To a point, and that point is to be found in how much animal mayhem you can enjoy before thinking thay should leave the poor wild beasts alone. Seriously, nearly half of the 61 minute running time is tiger and lion taming, and it’s just inherently cruel right? At least they got to be in the movies so we could enjoy their torture forever and ever. Right? Hello? Still with me?

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393 12-18 Zatoichi in Desperation (1972) 4/5
Zatoichi star Katsu directs this one, the second last film in the original series, and holy shit is it a dark one. At this point, Zatoichi is pretty much running on instinct and barely able to live with himself after all the constant failures of redemption and killings that go with them. It’s got the typical, trying to help people and gets mixed up with the Yakuza plot, but everything is gritty, poor and brutal. Katsu does some unnecessarily flashy flourishes in the directors chair, but it doesn’t take away from the naturalistic feel of this one. One more film and I’m done. I DON’T WANT IT TO END!

394 12-19 Noah (2014) 3.5/5

Maybe it was low expectations due to this one getting a critical thrashing but I really liked it. It’s a gonzo version of the Noah’s Ark story, but I’m fine with the filmmaker taking liberty with the source material, especially if it’s Darren Aronofsky. Visually impressive like all his work, and the film moves at a pretty quick pace. Russell Crowe and the rest of the cast are just as good, and it’s nice to see a Bible film deal with the real world ramifications of “miracles” in a more realistic way (despite this being a fantasy picture) than in wonder and awe of how amazing things are. If that makes sense.

395 12-20 Prisoner of Paradise (1980) 3/5

Adult auteur Bob Chinn takes on WW2 with John Holmes with this one. Holmes washes up on a deserted pacific island, only it’s not deserted after all. Nazis have set up a secret listening post, run by a porky dude, and two wicked female guards, one of them porn legend Seka. Everything is set-up to be some prime, gonzo Nazisploitation, but Chinn plays it more like a straight WW2 actioner with porn in it, so it never really takes off despite the cast all doing a pretty decent job acting. Seka as the nasty bitch head guard and Holmes as the burned out navy survivor steal the show, but there isn’t much to steal in this one.

396 12-20 Out Of The Furnace (2013) 3.5/5

This one seemed to sneak out last year with no one really talking about it. Christian Bale stars as a steelworker who is trying to keep his family together after a brief prison stint for a DUI accident. It plays like the character study type noirs that came out in the seventies, in a good way. Pitch perfect performances abound with Casey Affleck as his troubled little brother, Willem Dafoe as a small town gangster and Woody Harrelson as a violent, hillbilly sociopath. This is such a different film than what typically comes out these days with a cast like that, it’s well worth a sit down to watch.

There it is, not a huge week compared to some I’ve had, but all the films were good so I’ll take it. OUT OF THE FURNACE is really sticking with me, two days later. Definitely one I’ll spin again at some point and will recommend.

This is probably my last until Christmas, so have a happy one doing whatever you do or don’t do around the holiday you may or may not recognize. To quote Paul F. Tompkins;

“Don’t get drunk and fight each other.”

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Movie A Day! 383-389 – White Guys In Peril

Another short week. Well, short based on my usual standards. I’m still playing around with my PONO player (LOVING IT) and staying on top of the holiday stuff. I don’t go big on holidays, but there always seems to be some little, dumb stuff to do and it all takes time. I still have to wrap presents. I’ll get to it one night. I hope. Blurgh.

On with the movies. I seemed to have a “White Guys in Peril” thing going this week, only one of them was really good. As fate has it, I watched the good one first.

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383 10-07 Dallas Buyers Club (2013) 4/5
Finally got around to seeing this one, and I don’t have much to say about it. Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto are as good as everyone says they are in it, and they manage to tell the story straight forwardly instead of trying to hammer you over the head with the emotional stuff like most films of this type. For a film dealing with AIDS, that’s a rare thing. I give it a recommend.

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384 10-08 Night Monster (1942) 3/5
Another loopy “Old Dark House” style mystery/horror from Universal. A paraplegic rich guy and his crazy sister have invited a bunch of Doctors over who tried to save his limbs after some accident, and they start getting knocked off by some mystical creature from folklore. The doctors get knocked off, not the rich guys limbs. Like I said, it’s loopy, but well done with a neat mix of science and hoodoo to the whodunnit aspects to keep you interested. Sadly, Bela Lugosi is completely wasted in the role of “Butler”, but thankfully a swami is able to “will” a skeleton holding a chest of jewels into existence, WITH THIS MIND!

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385 10-09 Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer (1964) 5/5
I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t watch this one at Christmas. You’d think it would be corny, but I’m constantly entertained by Santa Claus, and how much of a total asshole he is in this. Fun stuff, and every person currently employed in the field of CGI should watch this one as a masterclass in restraint in animation. Sure it’s due to a low budget, but the puppets in this display about a billion times the personality that the majority of CGI characters with their 10 trillion strands of independently moving hair have.

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386 10-11 Zatoichi At Large (1972) 4/5
Another week, and Zatoichi. This one has Zatoichi stumbling upon a pregnant woman who has just been robbed, and taking charge of delivering her newborn baby to her husband’s village when she dies in childbirth as an excuse for Zatoichi to get mixed up in Yakuza subplots. At this point, Zatoichi as a character is pretty much reviled by all, so there’s a constant sense of dread that really ups the plots and performances. So yeah, I’m still loving this series.

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387 10-11 Eric Andre Show Season 2 (2013) 4/5
Breezed through these 10 episodes. It helps that they’re less than fifteen minutes each, but more importantly they continue to be deliriously hilarious. Even when bits flop (and a bunch do), it’s still dead on funny. Episode 10 has got to be one of the strangest, most demented twelve minutes of TV to have aired.

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388 10-12 Captain Phillips (2013) 2.5/5
Tom Hanks. As soon as you see Tom Hanks in a movie now, you know it going to be the type of film that tries to push you emotional to be a bit weepy. Tom Hanks though typically is really good and makes good films. This one, based on a true story about a cargo ship that is attacked by Somali pirates and the title Captain kidnapped for ransom, fits the bill of a “typical Tom Hanks” film. the problem with it is, the pirates are more interesting than the white guys on the ship, and Captain Phillips is such a fucking idiot making lousy choices that you never really care if he gets saved or not.

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389 10-14 Lone Survivor (2013) 2.5/5
This is a pretty typical modern day war film, in that they try to hit you over the head with the “ra ra BAND OF BROS!” bullshit before showing you the horrors of combat in an attempt to squeeze false sympathies from you. It can work (as it did in SAVING PRIVATE RYAN), it doesn’t work here. The actors are game, but director Peter Berg (BATTLESHIP) can’t handle the subtlety required, so despite it being a true story, you never really give a shit. That said, the combat bits, basically the last three quarters of the film, are pretty good and pretty gory so you at least stay interested, just not invested.

Some of these posters kill me. That CAPTAIN PHILLIPS, spoiler alert, but his tale of survival is nothing to write home about. In fact, you could argue that he was inept and the whole thing was his fault. The weirdest thing with that poster though, is you can’t help but think “Oh dear, black people on my boat!” I should dock this one another star, but I wont. This was also a rare week where I didn’t watch a single adult film. No naked penis or boobs in sight. I’ll have to double up next week!

Movie A Day! 369-376 – Grumpy Old Man

Here we are with the round-up! And it’s a month end one as well, hence I’m late posting it! Boy, November flew by. I got in a few movies, which is surprising since this was a busy weekend. It was Black Friday, which is an American Armageddon like event for shopping. We don’t really do it here in Canada, but the local record shops do participate in the Record Store Day event with exclusive releases. So this weekend has been a lot of record listening in my house. I also got notice that my PONO player will arrive early this week, so I have a feeling that movies will take a little slide this week too. Let’s look at what I watched, and be prepared for a bit of a bitch over the first one.

369 11-23 The American Music Awards, The Country Music Awards, The Hollywood Film Awards (2014) 1/5

I didn’t watch all of these on the one day, but over the past couple weeks. Part of looking after an older parent is you get to watch stuff that you normally wouldn’t watch. The Hollywood Film Awards has to be the biggest pile of back slapping bullshit I’ve ever seen. The winners know they won, so one of their friends gives an admiring speech and they accept the award. Ridiculous. The CMA’s was just god awful. Modern country music continues to sound like shitty hair metal power ballads from the 80’s and I hate it. The AMA’s were pretty much just as bad aside from a some good performances by Taylor Swift and some girl band I never did catch the name of, Crystal Head? I don’t know, but the rest of the acts were the shits. Give me my old garbage over this new garbage that features Lil Wayne honking like a duck with something caught in it’s throat.

370 11-24 Zatoichi Goes To Fire Festival (1970) 4.5/5
Film 21 in the series and holy shit did it not disappoint! Zatoichi is labeled to be killed by a blind Yakuza boss, and the battles of wits and swords is fantastic! There hasn’t been a single dog film yet in this collections, and this one was one of the best.

371 11-25 The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942) 3/5
This one is simply good enough. Bela Lugosi is back as Ygor, and he finds Frankenstein’s other son to get the monster going again. The current Frankenstein has figured out brain transplants so things get goofy. Lon Chaney Jr. gets a crack at playing the monster and he does a great job, as does Bela. It’s all just a bit too goofy in comparison to the previous films.

372 11-27 Two Rode Together (1961) 3.5/5
This is the last film in the John Ford Columbia Pictures Collection put out by TCM, and the only one in the set that is a western. Starring James Stewart as a total asshole marshal/bounty hunter who is hired up by Richard Widmark’s army to make a deal with some evil Indians to trade back kidnapped kids. Ford supposedly hated this one, and Leonard Maltin shits on it a bit in the extra features, but I’ve seen worse. Stewart and Widmark are both great in it which helps make up for the scripts shortcomings, like the annalistic racism that it’s riddled with. It’s definitely the ugly brother to Ford’s masterpiece “The Searchers” which deals with similar themes. In the end, it’s a Ford western, if you’re a fan, it’s worth checking out.

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373 11-28 The Goonies (1985) 2.5/5
Re-watched this one for the first time since seeing it in the theaters back when I was 11 years old or so. Yeash. I didn’t care for it then, and I just don’t care for it now. This ones considered a bit of a classic these days, so I was hoping to be surprised. Nope. The kids are all great, especially Sean Astin and Josh Brolin. My problem is I have no tolerance for eight kids all yelling wisecracks at and over each other for two hours. If you don’t mind the racket, there’s lots to like in this one.

374 11-28 Pretty Peaches (1978) 4/5
After Vinegar Syndrome released Pretty Peaches 2 & 3 earlier this year, I figured this one would continue to go unreleased. Low and behold, they put it out as a limited edition blu-ray with a regular DVD coming next year. Looking fantastic, it was great to see the one that spawned the sequels. While the sequels felt more like loop carriers, this one feels like a proper film with a genuinely funny story that is still packed with sex. Desiree Cousteau makes her debut in this one as Peaches, and she is perfect as the pouting and perturbed amnesiac constantly being taken advantage of in every way possible. The rest of the cast is just as good, and this one makes it clear that prior to the video era, de Ranzy was up there with Henri Paris as far as being able to make quality films that happened to be porn. This Vinegar Syndrome blu also includes clips from the only known filmed interview with de Renzy, on top of a movie looking better on disc than most mainstream films from the same era. If you like the idea of a Russ Meyer movie done hardcore, this one is the one for you.

375 11-29 F For Fake (1975) 4/5
More of an essay than a documentary, this is Orson Welles looking at Elmyr de Hory, the worlds most notorious art forger who was biographed by Clifford Irving. While in production, it was discovered that Irving forged the infamous Howard Hughes Autobiography. Welles himself is a famous fake, responsible for the War of the Worlds hoax, so it’s a film about fakes, made by a fake. It’s a whirlwind of theory, editing, all solidly in Welles hands, and it breaks your heart that Welles never had a chance to have this much control on his films since it is a wonder to behold. Cheeky, funny, interesting, and all Welles, it’s highly recommended.

376 11-30 Invisible Agent (1942) 3/5

This one finds Griffins grandson trying to avoid his grandfathers horrible legacy of invisibility only to get swept up in world war two after nazi agents track him down and try to brace him for the formula. It’s straight up WW2 propaganda, but it mostly works and is a lot of fun, especially Peter Lorre playing a Japanese agent after being typecast from his Mr. Motto role. Oh yeah, it’s pretty racist and of it’s time to.

Not a bad week, or month really. No horrible films watched, aside from those dumb awards shows. Let’s look at the final numbers.

30 Watched,  22 First Timers,  0 Theaters

Actually nailed a movie a day! I think this is the first month. Still nothing at the theaters. I just have little desire to bother going. That said, I really need to see Interstellar in the IMAX.

Let’s see how I did last year:

31 Watched, 22 First Timers, 2 Theater

Look at that, one more watched and the same amount of new films! That’s never happened. This is creepy, let’s move on.

Best of the month is: F For Fake, Pretty Peaches, all the Zatoichi films I watched and Wreck-It Ralph.

No worst of the month, other than the award shows. And maybe The Goonies though it’s really not a bad movie, just too annoying with the kids.

That’s it for now, thanks, as always for reading.

The End

 

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

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

Movie A Day!: 331-339 – Son of the Scary Movies

Yup, I’m still not done with October. The next post will wrap up October, the Scary Movie Challenge and then you will finally get a break. Yeash, what mess stomach flu creates. This one is mostly classic slasher fare.

Friday the 13th Movie Poster

331 10-26 Friday the 13th (1980) 4/5

The first film in the series that was the most successful of the “Halloween” rip-offs. It’s pretty empty headed and barely makes sense even though they try to give it some twisty mystery. It’s still just an excuse to have a bunch of people killed in cool ways, and it succeeds. It’s nice that we finally got the uncut version over here since Tom Savini’s effects hold up just fine. In your face CGI blood!

332 10-26 Halloween II (1981) 4/5
I don’t know what I was thinking watching that TV version. It stinks compared to this one, and I liked this one a lot more than I initially did. It’s pretty run of the mill stuff, but Donald Pleasance saves the picture from being boring since it’s really more focused around Doctor Loomis than the first one that was focused around Laurie Strode. Also, the gore is pumped up a bit, probably to compete with Friday the 13th. Anyway, this could of been a disaster since it seems ballsy to do a sequel that is actually a flatout continuation of the first film, but it works. Is it me, or is Jamie Lee Curtis kind of the unlikely “Scream Queen”? She’s not bad in the first Halloween, but she’s damn right annoying in this one. I get it, her character is drugged and what not, but she’s a useless, simpering mess through the whole thing. I’m not sure she even says more than two actual lines.

333 10-27 The Invisible Man Returns (1940) 3.5/5
This one is basically a rehash of the first film, but they flip stuff around enough to keep it interesting. Dr. Griffin’s brother (played by one of the worst actors yet that I’ve seen in a Universal Horror) uses the invisible serum to help a friend escape jail so he can prove his innocence. Vincent Price does a good job in an early role, and despite the whole thing looking cheaper than it’s budget, the effects are pretty outstanding.

334 10-27 Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981) 4/5
The gore’s not as cool as in the first one, but ever all I think this one is a better film. You get Jason’s debut, the girls are cuter and the emphasis is more on sex and violence.

Black Friday Movie Poster

335 10-28 Black Friday (1940) 2.5/5
Karloff goes all mad doctor in this, planting a gangsters brain into his professors friends head in order to find out where the gangster stashed $500,000. Ends up being a Jeckyl & Hyde rip that isn’t very good. Lugosi has a scene stealing bit part miscast as a gangster, but it’s not really worth the price of admission.

336 10-29 Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) 3/5
Right, so the Halloween without Michael Myers isn’t the shit show it was labelled as being, but it’s not the misrepresented classic some would have you believe either. It’s simply an okay horror film that has ambitions greater than the result.

337 10-29 Friday the 13th Part 3 (1982) 3/5
I continue to not be a fan of this one. The characters are all annoying, the 3D garbage is garbage and even for a F13 movie it barely makes sense. At least there’s ample nudity and they don’t mess around and get to knocking off people quickly.

338 10-29 Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988) 3.5/5
I remember liking this one back in the theaters when it came out, and it actually holds up pretty good. It might be a little slick, but the idea of Myers coming back to kill his niece is such a dumb idea that the movie should be terrible. They pull it off though, and of course, Donald Pleasence coming back as Dr. Loomis is a real treat.

339 10-29 The Mummy’s Hand (1940) 3/5
This is the first sequel to the Universal Horror classic “The Mummy”, and it’s simply okay. It has a new mummy threat, Kharis, who is basically a kill machine to be used by a high priest to kill people looking for his ancient tomb. It’s not bad, my only problem with it is the two leads are 10th rank “Abbott & Costello” routine that annoys the hell out of you. Kharis is pretty cool though, so that’s good enough once things get rolling.

Right, next posting will be a final wrap up for October. So hopefully some of the readers that got sick of it will come back since it should be business as usual for November!

Movie A Day!: 321-330 – Still With The Scary Movies!

It’s November 1st, so time to recap October. Except I’m still weeks behind in posting my movies due to getting the never ending stomach flu. So here’s more from last week.

321 10-23 Night of the Bloody Apes (1962) 3.5/5
I checked another one off the “Video Nasties” list with this one. Typically the nasties are pretty terrible, but this Mexican wonder was a hell of a lot of fun. It’s a total kitchen sink film, with women’s wrestling, mad doctor, monster, nudity, mondo surgery footage mixed with cheap gore and effects all add up to a film that will certainly hold your attention. This one is not for the squeamish, they use actual open heart surgery footage. Also, there’s only one ape-man, so the title doesn’t make any sense either.

322 10-23 The Son of Frankenstein (1939) 4/5
I’ve never loved this one as much as I have the previous two and I think I know why with this new viewing. This one features Basil Rathbone as the titles Son of Frankenstein, returning to the ruins of his fathers lab to take claim of his properties. Boris Karloff returns as the monster, the last time he will play the character in a Universal horror. Bela Lugosi is featured as Ygor, a hunchback with a broken neck from surviving a hanging from the towns people for his part in helping Frankenstein Sr. build the monster. This is where the problem lies with the film. As good as Basil is, and Karloff is, Bela is better. In fact, Lugosi is so good as Ygor that he steals the entire film to the point that when he’s not in a scene, you’re just waiting for him to show up. The movie actually suffers pacing issues from this. So while the movie’s not bad in anyway, it’s simply a case of not being as interesting as Ygor. So watch it for Lugosi, and not Karloff since the monster sadly get’s sold short both in plot, and sequence since they made him mute again. Such a shame since it’s Karloff’s last crack at the monster that the monster wasn’t more of the focal point. I mean, Ygor aside, the one armed Inspector guy is more interesting than Frankenstein and his monster.

323 10-23 The Neanderthal Man (1953) 2/5
This is basically a werewolf movie based around science. Some mad doctor type comes up with a serum that when injected reverts the subject back to his primal form. So cats become sabertooth tiger sand scientist become Neanderthal Men and you will probably be lulled to sleep if you watch this around midnight.

323 10-24 Gremlins (1984) 4/5
I hadn’t seen this one since the VHS days, I remember seeing it in it’s original theatrical run. Anyway, I had forgotten just how delightfully fun this one is! Dante absolutely nails everything there is to nail, and there’s a ton of easter eggs for horror nerds to dig. Not the sweet kiddie picture my brain had relegated it too, that’s for sure. I’m going to watch the sequel tomorrow night.

324 10-24 The Brain That Wouldn’t Die (1962) 3.5/5
I’m probably alone in liking this movie and rating it so high. I remember it mostly from “It Came From Hollywood”, and that image of the woman’s head is pretty much the poster child of a bad movie, so I never bothered with it. Ends up that the film is completely gonzo and a fun bit of sleaze too. A doctor saves his wife’s head after she is killed in a car accident, and the proceeds to prowl strip clubs, whore and photo club models to find replacement body. It’s a mix of Frankenstein meets Michael Findlay via Ed Wood Jr., and more fun than it’s probably given credit for.

325 10-25 Halloween Extended Edition (2000) 4/5
10-25 Halloween Unmasked 2000 (1999) 3/5
Well, it’s time to crack open the mammoth sized complete blu-ray boxset. I decided to start out with the first film as I’ve never seen it before. The extended edition is basically the theatrical with extra scenes shot to pad the television version cut into it. It’s actually really good, and does flesh out the film more. I’m thinking Rob Zombie was inspired by some of this added footage when he remade the film. It’s not better than the original, but it’s not a whole lot worse either. A genuine alternate version that’s worth a look. Halloween Unmasked 2000 is a pretty standard look back, interview type thing that doesn’t get too deep into the making of the film, but has some nice recollections and the warm fuzzies for the original that you would expect. I’m not counting it though since it was under an hour long.

326 10-25 Without Warning (1980) 3/5
Aliens are in the woods, with flying pepperoni tentacle things killing people. It’s patently dumb, and the alien and pepperoni’s are crap but… you get two of the finest character actors in film. Watching Jack Palance and Martin Landau out crazy each other by playing their bonker roles completely straight actually helps make this one pretty good. You forget how stupid and cheap it is and end up enjoying the rise. Plus you get egomaniac David Caruso in an early role playing a cocky douche bag that you know he will end up mastering in real life. I might be projecting.

327 10-25 Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990) 3.5/5
This one I seem to think had the reputation of being terrible. I know I didn’t care for it when I saw it the one time in the theaters or the week it came out on VHS. All these years later, it’s not so bad. It’s not an “ahead of it’s time” type thing, but a case of a film being so completely nuts that they sabotage the actual film. It plays like the ultimate tribute to “Looney Tunes”, and a good Tex Avery Loony Tune at that, with a base plot designed to be an excuse of barely contained chaos. It’s also packed once again with lots of easter eggs for genre fans. So yeah, as much fun as the first one, that works as a parody of the first films success and as it’s own bonkers thing.

 

328 10-25 Red Heat (1976) 2/5
Ray Dennis Steckler solidified his place in the cult cannon with his film “The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-up Zombies!!!” LIke his grade-Z Contemporary Ed Wood Jr., the seventies found him dabbling in porn to make ends meet. Which is where we find him with this one. It’s got a weird, documentary like narration but the basic plot is a porn starlet is killing guys while some weirdo on a motorbike is robbing people. This barely sensible plot basically holds together crappy porn loops. It’s weird, but not necessarily good weird.

329 10-26 Halloween II (TV Version) (1981) 3/5
The added scenes are neat, but the real problem with this DVD is it literally is the TV version. So violence and language is cut. If they edited the extra footage into the theatrical, it would probably improve the movie.

330 10-26 Halloween (1978) 4.5/5
You know what, I should of watched this one before the extended edition because I kind of miss those extra scenes! Don’t get me wrong, the extended scenes are kind of redundant since Loomis basically tells the cop guy what happened in them, but they are still nice. Anyway, this one is a classic, it kicked off a wave of slasher films that few could match and I still have a crush on P.J. Soles. Totally.

That’s it for  today, a weirdo Saturday blog no one will read. Oh well, you should have me subscribed so you can read me Monday morning anyway, you fiends!