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.

 

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Movie A Day: Death Heat

The week began with literal murder threats on loved ones and ended with the heat making it impossible to sleep in a house designed to have winters not kill you. Here’s hoping you all had more fun than me.

A mixed bag. I’m on a documentary/bio-pic jag with diversions into classic films and porno. So pretty typical, I guess.


187 06/25 The Snake Pit (1948) 3.5/5  Olivia de Havilland stars in this one about a woman sent to a mental hospital with no recollection of how she got there. A doctor helps her piece together her story and it’s a little hokey. The main reason to watch this is de Havilland is absolutely amazing in it.

188 06/26 Bill Cosby: Fall of an American Icon (2017) 3/5   A good recap of his history of abuse. It’s horrible to listen to the stories, of course, but valuable and not as exploitative as it could have been.


189 06/26 Bettie Page Reveals All (2012) 4/5   A really well done documentary with Page (via voice over interview clips) telling her own story. There will never be a more iconic pin-up model and the doc does a great job of not only telling her story but packing in tons of pictures and footage. That said, the blu-ray disc is an abomination with one of the worst sound designs that I have ever heard. The music (which isn’t great to begins with) is mixed way too hot and often drowns out the people speaking, only to get even louder when they are not. I’m tempted to knock a star off the review but I’m guessing it’s a mix on the blu-ray and not on the film proper if viewed elsewhere. I’m hoping anyways, since it really is terrible.


190 06/27 Michael Jackson: Searching For Neverland (2017) 2/5   A made for TV biopic on the pop star’s final years as told by his bodyguards. It avoids all talk of child molestation and paints the bodyguards as saints. That’s really the problem with this one, it’s hard to root for Jackson to get back on his feet when you know he’s molested children, so fuck him and his money problems, right? Chad C. Coleman from The Wire is the main lead bodyguard and he’s great. Navi is shockingly, creepily good as Jackson, but it’s just not enough to make me care about a child molester.


191 06/28 In A Lonely Place (1950) 3.5/5   Bogart stars as a down on his luck screenwriter who gets wrapped up in a murder he may or may not have committed. Bogart is great in the role, getting to play a not as nice guy as he typically did at this point in his career and Gloria Grahame more than holds her own as the inspired love interest. It’s a good film but I didn’t find myself wrapped up in it.


192 06/29 Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds (2016) 3/5   This one was in the works just prior to both of the stars passing, so it’s a bittersweet affair that I wanted to like more. It shows their eccentric current life, but doesn’t go too deep in what brought them to this point. So if you go in not knowing too much about them, you’re going to be a little lost since they come off kooky. That said, what it does deliver, it delivers well.


193 06/29 I Always Said Yes: The Many Lives of Wakefield Poole (2013) 4/5   Really interesting documentary on dancer, choreographer, pornographer and chef Wakefield Poole. I know him from the porn, he’s arguably the greatest gay adult filmmaker of all time (with his “Bijou” easily one of the greatest adult films of all time.) It was interesting to see how close he was to the front lines of gay rights though, with numerous stories and encounters with Harvey Milk and other political heros. A really well done picture, and Poole seems like the sweetest man in the world despite having a bittersweet history.


194 06/30 The Times Of Harvey Milk (1984) 4/5   Great documentary on the first gay man to hold public office in California. I was familiar with him through Gus Van Sant’s film Milk, but it was great to see the real story. A bittersweet film considering how it all ends, you get a really great sense of who Harvey was and why it was such a tragedy.


195 06/30 Pleasure Maze (1986) 2.5/5   A rather workmanlike effort of an adult film about robot hookers and their testers which is all an excuse for 80’s futuristic costumes and run of the mill sex scenes one would expect of the era. The fantastic cast helps to elevate it, but it’s no classic.


196 07/01 Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau (2014) 4/5
Ends up the story behind the picture is as bonkers as rumoured. I’m not convinced that Stanley would of pulled the film off if he stayed on, but it is fun to think about. Sadly missing is Ron Perlman’s fantastic Brando story which can be found on Marc Maron’s podcast WTF. At any rate, this is one of the better documentaries on filmmaking and worth checking out.


197 07/01 Love & Mercy (2014) 3.5/5  Bio-pic on Beach Boy genius Brian Wilson uses the trick of casting Paul Dano as young 60’s Brian and John Cusack as 1980’s Brian trying to get his life together with the help of Dr. Eugene Landy. It sounds weird, but if you have ever seen a documentary on Brian, it makes sense. This one was well done, it goes pretty deep into both the music and Wilson’s troubles, though I could see a non-fan getting a little lost and wondering what the big deal is.

198 07/01 Lovers Lane (1986) 2.5/5   The second feature on the Peekarama disc from Vinegar Syndrome that featured Pleasure Maze is less inspired and even more workmanlike. Director Duck Dumont knows how to shoot, it’s too bad he doesn’t push himself in these two features. Then again, it could be the sign of competing with  SOV 80’s wall to wall porn. At any rate, the cast helps this one, but not enough to put it ahead of any other of its like.


199 07/02 A Band Called Death (2012) 4/5   Back in the early 70’s three black brothers were inspired to move on from their funk band and start a rock group. They called it DEATH, and they were punk as fuck before there was a proper name for punk. Not the cool New York punk either, but the edgy hardcore sounds that came out in the late 70’s early 80’s. Anyway, they were completely ignored, never got their record out and finally are getting their due. This documentary is really quite fantastic as despite their name, they are such positive people and seeing them finally get some of their due is wonderfully inspiring. It’s as much a family story as it is a music doc and really worth checking out.


200 07/02 Heat (1995) 4/5   Nice revisiting this one, my first time watching the “Director’s Definitive Edition”. One of the best heist crime movies ever made, I have to admit that Pacino is as scenery chewing in this one as he is in SCARFACE. All acting sins are forgiven with the incredible LA shootout sequence that is one of the most perfectly shot action scenes you will see. It all holds up just fine and the cast listing is absolutely bonkers.