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?

Advertisements

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.

Movie A Day! 282-289

Another big weekend of movie watching due to the scary movie challenge. My eye’s are still in my head, and I’m barely functioning. Lots of good movies in this one so let’s have a look!

282 10-10 I Bury The Living (1958) 3.5/5

This one is about a guy who is appointed by a town council to take care of the cemetery. He accidentally uses a black pin signifying dead, instead of a white pin signifying reserved, to mark a grave that had been purchased by newlyweds on the map of burial plots in his office. The next day the couple are found dead. So it’s about a ouija like map in a graveyard. It sounds stupid on paper, but this one was really good, and most of that can be attributed to the rock solid direction that is full of style and gets the film looking downright surreal for the last third. This one was the third film on that disc I mentioned earlier I got for $10, so that means 50% of the films were really good surprises. I’ll try to watch the last one this weekend.

283 10-10 The Black Cat (1934) 4/5
This one features the first time Lugosi and Karloff would be featured in a film, and it’s a good one. Lugosi plays a Doctor who was imprisoned in WW1 for 15 years, returning to the confront his rival Karloff who was responsible for unspeakable war crimes, and the death of Lugosi’s wife. So it has nothing to do with the Poe story the title comes from, but don’t let that throw you. This one is a surprisingly twisted, satanic thriller with great performances by both leads, and a rare chance to see Lugosi play a good guy.

284 10-11 Blood Sucking Freaks (1976) 3/5
Ultimately this one is trying to be a satire of the New York theater. It’s not enough to actually elevate it since it’s basically just non-stop scenes of S&M, nudity, violence and some of the most ridiculous gore you will see. It’s all part of it’s charm. I have a weird history with this one. Old people like me will recall the 80’s VHS scene where fake documentaries like FACES OF DEATH were still being banned. A friend and I found a knockoff version of the FOD series, and on it were these ridiculous scenes of a midget cooking eyeballs and a guy drilling into a head and drinking the brains from a straw. Years later I stumbled on Blood Sucking Freaks and there were those scenes! I think because of that, I like this one way more than most people do. It’s definitely a Grindhouse classic, and Troma’s new blu-ray looks fantastic.

285 10-11 The Toxic Avenger (1984) 4/5
Figured since I watch Blood Sucking Freaks, I might as well watch my other Troma blu-ray. I’m counting this as a first time viewing since this was my first time seeing the whole thing. It’s crazy that I have never seen the Toxic Avenger films. I plan to correct that as they release them in blu-ray. Anyway, I won’t get too deep into this one. It’s basically a horror satire on super-heroes. It’s tasteless and goofy in the Troma tradition, but it works and is a hell of a lot of fun.

286 10-11 Phantom of the Paradise (1974) 4/5
Slowly but surely, I’m seeing all the films featured in that TERROR IN THE AISLES documentary that I’ve loved since seeing it on PBS or something in the 80’s. Another film I’ve been wanting to see for ages and never have until now. It was worth the wait. It’s first and foremost a musical, and a damned good one at that with some fantastic songs and performances. It’s also a great satire of the music business, and maybe not so much a satire but a critical look at the performer/audience relationship. As a bonus, it pays tribute to a whole slew of horror stories and films. Lots of fun and De Palma is in complete command of the whole thing. Recommended.

287 10-11 Dracula Sucks (1978) 3.5/5
This is one I’ve been wanting to watch for years, ever since David J. Skal praised it in his all things Dracula book “Hollywood Gothic” (which is a must read if you’re a Drac fan). First off, while it’s a porn, in the version I saw it’s barely hardcore and more of a gothic horror. It actually works, and Jamie Gillis is a surprisingly good Dracula. Sure, he’s doing the Lugosi voice, but he nails the performance. The rest of the cast are varying degrees of good to awful. for seventies porn fans though, this one might have the greatest cast ever assembled with legends Annette Haven, Serena, Seka, John Holmes and others. Anyway, production value wise, it’s all works, it’s kind of both a follow-up and remake of the original Todd Browning Dracula and the Vinegar Syndrome dvd is pretty great. You get the cut I watched, which as far as anyone can tell was never properly released, that features barely hardcore mixed with some cheap gore and kill scenes to be more horror, and the re-cut that cuts out all the killing, adds in more hardcore porn and tags on a happier ending that got more widely released as “Lust At First Bite” on a second disc. So if you’re a fan of this type of stuff, this is another VS disc well worth getting.

288 10-12 The Snake Woman (1961) 2.5/5
A woman in late eighteen hundreds England is given a medicine featuring cobra venom as a cure to her madness. She has a cold blooded baby, and 20 odd years later, people are going missing on the moors. This one never really gets going and putters along non-offensively until it’s conclusion. This was the last feature on that Timely Media 4 movie disc, so for $10 I got two really good movies; The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake, and I Bury The Living, and two stinkers. So I guess it’s still wasn’t too bad a deal.

289 10-12 Seizure! (1974) 2.5/5
An author with a heart condition is having bad nightmares that become a reality when his creations invade his home over a weekend. this is Oliver Stone’s first movie, so you hope that it’s better than it is and it’s just not. Even Herve Villechaize kicking the shit out of everyone and cult icon Mary Woronov running around in her underwear can help it as this one just plods along, never really succeeding as a thriller or campy fun.

That’s about it for this one. It’s a long weekend as I post this, and I’m burned out. I can;t handle massive family events like thanksgiving dinner was yesterday. They just completely, emotionally exhaust me. Even drinking free booze doesn’t help me handle it, I get full of anxiety and totally shut down. It takes me days to recover from it. Ridiculous, I should have a handle on this stuff at my age.

Until next time.