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.

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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….)

Movie A Day! 408-421 – “The End?”

We made it to 2015. 2014 was one of the worst years I’ve had. Not going to lie. Starting 2015 in a rage after spending new years eve with extended family. Such selfishness abounds, it’s gross. Let’s all hope the rest of the year chills the fuck out.

Sorry, this one’s going to be a bit lengthy since I watched a bunch to end the year, and I have to total up the whole month. Straight to the movies!

408 12-28 The Killer Elite (1975) 3.5/5

James Caan and Robert Duvall star in this Sam Peckinpah actioner about a couple of CIA hitmen that come to odds with each other. This one seems to get panned a bit, but I really enjoyed it. There’s an extended sequence of martial arts training that is actually quite neat, and compliment the more briskly paced action bits of the latter half. Caan and Duvall are both good and the massive set piece ninja attack at the end is hilariously fun. So it may be lesser Peckinpah compared to his classics, but it’s still Peckinpah and worth a watch.

409 12-29 The Video Game Years 1977 (2012) 3/5
410 12-29 The Video Game Years 1978 (2012) 3/5
411 12-29 The Video Game Years 1979 (2012) 3/5
These are all available online via RetrowareTV youtube. Not the most studious history of video games that you will find, but a fun, nerdy one all the same. I get a pretty good nostalgia kick watching these since I’m ancient enough to have not only been around to play, but actually own a lot of the different machines and games on display.

412 12-29 The Ultimate Pleasure (1977) 2.5/5
Another Bonkers adult feature from Carlos Tobalina (JUNGLE BLUE). This one seems more straight plotwise, a wife is getting burned out and not wanting sex, so while her hubby goes to vegas to bang hookers for relief, she goes to a clinic. Then it takes a swerve into lala land where it becomes completely unclear as to if it’s actually happening or is all part of the drug induced therapy she is having. Then it takes another swerve into the weird with a massive dose of anti-consumerism rhetoric. Tobalina seems completely incapable of being coherent, which added to his piss poor directing where shots are out of focus, boom mikes are seen, and best of all, a crew member enters the frame to pull some wire out of the shot while a couple starts to get busy, this movie should be horrible. Yet, despite or because of all this, with the addition of a great cast of seventies adult stars like Annette Haven, Candida Royalle and John Holmes, it still manages to be entertaining.

413 12-30 The Video Game Years 1980 (2012) 3/5
414 12-30 The Video Game Years 1981 (2013) 3/5
415 12-30 The Video Game Years 1982 (2013) 3/5
416 12-30 The Video Game Years 1983 (2014) 3/5
Yeah, I really got hooked on watching these. Now I’m caught up since I stumbled on the series with the 1984 entry.

417 12-30 Zatoichi’s Conspiracy (1973) 4.5/5
So this is it, the last of the original Zatoichi films. It was a good one too, with Zatoichi returning to his home village to discover that a childhood friend is screwing over the town to profit on his own. Katsu is perfect as Zatoichi at this point, managing to be lovable and terrifying within the same shot. This set from Criterion is easily one of the finest purchases I have made in the hobby, and is highly recommended.

418 12-30 Loony Tunes Platinum Collection Vol 2 (2012) 5/5
This is a 3 disc set of blu-rays featuring hi-def remasters of Looney Tunes cartoons that I’ve been watching on and off since September or so. To say it’s mamoth is an understatement. The first two discs are all Looney Tunes with extras, covering fifty shorts each. Disc three though is the really good stuff. You get two documentaries on Tex Avery, a collection of cartoons done by Friz Freleng for MGM, and best of all, eleven cartoons done by Tex for MGM that manage to be about 100% more laugh out loud funny than the previous two discs. Why there isn’t a definitive Tex Avery collection out by now is beyond me. Add in some PRIVATE SNAFU toon’s made for the army, and dozens more bonuses and this set is fantastic and a must own for classic cartoon fans. My only nit pick is that it repeats cartoons from the Golden Collection DVD series, disc three isn’t in hi-def, and volume 3 is going to be the last volume since Warners bailed on the series, the assholes.

419 12-31 Almost True: The Noble Art of Forgery (1997) 2.5/5
420 12-31 Paradise Regained – The Making of Phantom of the Paradise 3.5/5
I watched the special features on a couple of discs I watched earlier in the year. ALMOST TRUE is from the fantastic Criterion release of Orson Welles’ F IS FOR FAKE that I loved so hard last month. It’s a more typical profile on Elmyr de Hory, the art forger covered in F. the rest of the features on the disc are equally good, a great interview with Welles on Tom Snydor, a profile on Clifford Erving on 60 Minutes, and a second doc on Welle’s that I still have to watch.

PARADISE is the main doc that comes with the Scream Factory release of PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE, and along with all the additional interviews and outtakes included, it tells you everything you would want to know about the film, and is entertaining too.

421 12-31 Dick Clarks New Years Rockin’ Eve Live 2015 (2014) 2.5/5
not much to say, pop stars since and a ball drops. It ends up that I like Taylor Swift now, and Charli XCX is the singer I liked on the AMA’s earlier in the month that I thought was a band called Crystal Head. This one get’s a half point knocked off for having crazy asshole Jenny McCarthy as a co-host.

Right, there it all is. I warned you it would be long! Now, let’s see my totals for the month:

45 Watched, 37 First Timers, 0 Theaters

Surprisingly big month! Lot’s of hour long things though to balance out the films so I guess that’s why it added up. Plus it’s cold out and I don’t like to leave the house. Let’s compare to last December:

33 Watched, 32 First Timers, 0 Theaters

Huh, this I think only the second month that I watched more than I did in 2013. Neat.

Now for the scary part, the year end numbers. 2014:

399 Watched, 335 First Timers, 1 In Theaters

I managed to watch more than a movie a day! It was looking a bit dodgy early on, but I made it. Yay me. 2013:

505 Watched, 435 First Timers, 15 In Theaters

Now there’s some movie watching for you! I used to have regular movie nights with friends where we would power through 4 or so movies once a week. Ah, those were the days. Funny thing, the theater experience has gotten so annoying with pre-sold tickets and cell phones that I don’t really miss it. This year we saw a new David Fincher film come out, GONE GIRL, as it was the only film of his I missed in the theaters. Between the experience and finding myself less and less interested in the franchise blockbusters, who knows how often I’ll bother to go in 2015.

My favourites of the year:

THE PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE – The movie is just such a hoot with great music. Well worth a spin

ZATOICHI THE BLIND SWORDSMAN – Obviously the massive Criterion boxset was going to be oo here.

THE ART OF KILLING – Disturbing documentaries are the best.

THE SWIMMER – Grindhouse releasing went odd and put out a Burt Lancaster film that ended up being the lost Twilight Zone episode that should of been.

BREAKING BAD – I’ll watch it all again, nuff said.

THE ERNIE KOVACS COLLECTION – The dawn of television comedy that beats most of what’s aired today.

ACE IN THE HOLE – A film about the media that ended up being prophecy.

RAW FORCE – the gonzo zombie, kung-fu, Hitler movie from Vinegar Syndrome. Actually, Vinegar Syndrome as a whole was a favourite, treating porno, sexploitation, exploitation and underground arthouse titles with the type of love the major studios don’t give their Alfred Hitchcock titles.

F FOR FAKE – I wont talk about this one a third time, I loved it but I can see it annoying the hell out of people.

Well, that’s about it. Maybe I’ll continue, maybe I wont. If I do continue, I might change it up a bit so it’s less time consuming to compile. We’ll all have to see.

Thank you to those who stuck around through my past year of movies, your reading and comments were and are appreciated!

The End.

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! : 256-257 – The End of September!

Here we are, a couple of days late but it’s time to wrap up September! I only got in two films since last blog, but they were pretty great. Let’s have a gander!

256 09-28 Gravity (2013) 3.5/5
The simplest way to describe the plot is to say it’s about astronauts trapped in space but you would be really doing a disservice to the film describing it so plainly. That said, to get into all the things going on in the film, some subtly and others more in your face, would spoil it. So let’s just say that it’s one of those rare special effects heavy films that not only looks impressive, but has great characterization and performances to go with it. Like the best sci-fi, it’s not really about science fiction but about humanity. Great stuff and one that would absolutely benefit from being seen on the largest screen possible.

257 09-30 Zatoichi and the Fugitives (1968) 4/5

This one features Zatoichi running foul of a band of fugitives that are hiding out at a Yakuza boss’ compound. So it sounds like all the other Zatoichi films, but god damn was this one good! This is the eighteenth film in the series, and Katsu continues to keep getting better as Zatoichi. This one manages to move at a good pace both action and suspense wise, and is pretty much in flat out spaghetti western mode. This set continues to be one of the best I’ve bought.

See? Two really good movies! I really classed this blog up after that horrid Ed Wood Jr. porn film last time. Let’s look at my totals:

28 Watched, 24 First Timers, 1 In Theaters

Not bad. I expected a dip since I started watching all that Doctor Who and Star Trek. I’m definitely down from September 2013:

39 Films, 33 First Timers, 0 Theater 

So down eleven films for the month, and just over a hundred movies total. I was at 357 titles at the end of September 2013. how could my eyes stand it? I got some catching up to do!

Best film of the month, I’m going to go with GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. It might of been low expectations, but it hit all the buttons for me. Runners up will be HER and the MS .45 revisit.

Worst film, obviously THE PURGE. I’m still getting mad thinking about that piece of shit! Give me a million THE UNDERGRADUATES to watch over another PURGE!

Which brings us to October. Friends might recall that I participate in something called the “Scary Movie Challenge” in which one tries to watch as many scary movies as they can in the month of October. I’m participating in it again this year, so expect lots of posts since I tend to do a blog either by the week or when I get to around ten films. Hope you like scary movies! There might be some non-horror stuff to, so don’t be too scared.

Please do share this with any movie loving friends, and comments are always welcome and appreciated. Feel free to chirp in with any scary movie faves you may have!

The End

Movie a Day! : 243-247 – “I can see you in his eyes!”

People, some days you wake up angry for no reason and as the day goes on it just keeps getting worse. That’s where I’m at right now. It’s the worst! Feeling mad for no reason. I’m wondering if it’s stress or something since the day this is posting is another month to the day that my dad passed away. Do we have subconscious things like that? Is the brain that horrible to us?

Let’s look at the movies I watched this past week.

243 09-16 The Purge (2013) 1.5/5
I came into this one with the lowest of expectations and it managed to be one of those films that is even WORSE than you thought it could be. Everything about this one is inept. The concept, that for twelve hours out of the year you can commit any crime, including murder, and as a result there is no crime for the rest of the year because anger has been “purged” from your system, is easily one of the stupidest things that has ever been conceived for a film. Don’t believe me? Would you rape someone if you knew there would be no repercussions? If you answered “No” like a base human being, then you realize how stupid this film’s concept is. If you answered “Yes”, then go away. You are NOT welcome at my blog. I don’t want you here. Anyway, dumb concept aside, it could still be an okay movie right? Yes it could, except it is not. It hits every dumb, modern cliche. There is nothing to see, no suspense, every plot beat can be completely telegraphed. It doesn’t make sense in the world it’s taking place in: There’s a bit where the family is threatened in the house, and a kid is watching people in masks via live feed acting like assholes outside and it’s cut like something out of PARANORMAL ACTIVITY or something to be scary, because that’s scary right? Creepy masks and flash cuts? Except these people aren’t ghosts, they are fucking PEOPLE and they can’t flash in and out of moving video! To make matters worse, as horrendously nihilistic the concept is, basically saying every person is a raging murderer, the big flip at the end (that you can guess before it’s revealed like everything else in this piece of shit), actually manages to make the concept even WORSE. Look, you’ve read this blog, I like and enjoy some heinous shit. This movie was fucking awful and that they made a sequel… someone reading this watched and liked it enough to justify a god damned sequel and you should be ASHAMED OF YOURSELF! You have no idea how mad I am, days later, reliving this fucking movie for this dumb blog! RAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWAAAARRRRRGGGGG!

244 09-18 Zatoichi Challenged (1967) 3/5
Dear Zatoichi, even though this one, where you get mixed up with another Yakuza plot while trying to get a kid to his father after his mum dies, isn’t your best film, I still really liked it. You’re a pretty amazing guy, even if your singing the theme song is kind of weird, and you didn’t fill the film with guys with limbs cut off crawling around in agony, you still made a very beautifully shot film. The final scene where you face off against the samurai in the snow was clearly an inspiration for Tarantino in KILL BILL VOL 1. Thank you for being awesome. I love you Zatoichi.

245 09-19 Being John Malkovich (1999) 4/5
Revisited this one via the latest Criterion Collection blu-ray and I think I liked it even more. I remembered it being a quirky comedy, and it still is. Now though it plays almost like a cautionary tale. With social media, the internet, and personal privacy constantly being unknowingly invaded, it’s hard not to see a movie about a guy that discovers a tunnel that allows you to literally be in John Malkovich’s head not as a cautionary tale. It also deals with gender roles and other current issues. Perhaps a little clumsily, but it’s trying. All while being consistently funny. So it’s nice that it holds up just fine, is looking better than ever on blu-ray, and has a cool extra with John Hodgeman interviewing Malkovich himself about the film.

246 09-19 Hot Honey (1978) 2.5/5
This is the second half of the Billy Bagg Double Feature (see my look at VIOLATIONS OF CLAUDIA here) and the second porn that cult hero William Lustig admits to having made. I found it to be the lesser picture. There’s nothing wrong with it really, it’s shot well, performances are good enough and what not. It’s more a case of this one is pretty much a wall to wall sex film so it’s missing any type of plot to really elevate it like CLAUDIA has. That said, Lustig certainly keeps things moving and there’s lots of neat stolen shots of 42 Street that are a lot of fun to see. There’s also one twisted scene with Jamie Gillis that helps to make the film more sleazy than it would of been and unforgettable. The disc itself is pretty fantastic. The first film is worth it alone, both films are looking good and pretty great for films of the genre and era with minimal damage and I’m presuming framed properly. Both films include a commentary that is well worth listening too since Lustig is a great story teller, and host Nicolas Winding Refn does a great job keeping the stories coming. There’s also a bonus podcast with Lustig which I’ll listen to later. So once again an independent porn company is doing better work that a major corporation with a DVD release!

247 09-20 Her (2013) 4/5
Spike Jonze’s latest is another modern masterpiece. The easy plot description is to say it’s about a guy who falls in love with his phone. It’s selling the film short since it’s really about loneliness and relationships in the digital age. The setting is a tiny bump into the future, but it never feels like science fiction since we are so close to living in that potential reality of the film. Joaquin Phoenix probably should of won the best actor Oscar for this since he is perfectly “ultra-human” acting opposite a voice and computer props. Not much more to say other than there is a lot to absorb in this one, and I’m going to need a second viewing

There we go! Another week of movies. I’m still binging on TV stuff which is why it’s relatively light compared to previous blogs. Another warning that OCtober will probably be more blog than any of you can handle. Please don’t get scared away!

 

A favour please. If you’re subscribed to this and reading it in a reader application, can you click on the blog to actually go to this page? I’m curious how many people are actually reading it. Thanks in advance!

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Movie a Day! : 052-062 – The First Half of March

Well, I’m a day late on this one since I had the day off Monday and was so stupidly busy I didn’t get a chance to post. Not a single person reached out to me to check that I hadn’t died. So that’s where we stand huh readers? All 3-5 of you? Not to alienate, but I had higher expectations. I’ll forgive you for now. You can make it up to me by sharing the blog!

Since I can wrap up March in two posts, I’ll post today and hopefully Thursday this week. A lot of good movies in this batch, and one of the most distressing things I’ve ever seen.

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052 03-01 Anatomy Of A Psycho (1961) 2/5
A low budget thriller that has a really great title. The set-up is good, a guy goes bonkers after his brother get’s the electric chair. The problem is he never goes full out psycho, but more of an out of control delinquent. So it never really delivers what you hope with that awesome title and poster. Speaking of which, the guy in the “Shocking” box sure looks like Dennis Hopper, but it’s not him.

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053 03-01 The Lonely Sex (1959) 2.5/5
This is the second feature on Vinegar Syndromes Drive-In disc, paired with the above “Psycho”. It’s also the better picture. This one it pretty much a no budget picture, about a pervo who kidnaps a girl. The cheap look actually helps the picture and it ends up delivering a bit better than the main draw.

Vinegar Syndrome deliver yet another great value pack. Both pictures have their issues with print damage and scratchy soundtrack, but they’re both more than watchable and I can’t imagine them looking much better since I’m guessing original negatives are long gone.

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054 03-01 So Dark The Night (1946) 3/5
This is the first picture on the latest “Film Noir Classics” set from TCM. It’s a real doozy, about a Parisian detective forced to go on vacation who gets wrapped up with a girl and a murder in a small French village. The only thing more ridiculous than the big plot twist is that it actually works and the whole picture doesn’t fall apart because of it.

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055 03-08 The Suckers (1972) 2.5 /5
Just look at that poster! Obviously this is the greatest movie ever made! Sadly, it’s a cheap-o sexploitation version of “The Most Dangerous Game”. A rich big game hunter hires and hunts a few models. It’s too caught up on the softcore sex scenes which are all ridiculous compared to the much more fun action of the hunting finale. Good for a laugh, and to see how ball heavy films were during the transition to full on hardcore porn, but not much else.

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056 03-09 The Corner (2000) 4/5
Prior to “The Wire”, Simon did this mini-series telling the true stories of junkies and other people living on one of the main drug slinging corners in Baltimore. While not necessarily a happy film, it’s a damn fine one.

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057 03-10 The Love Garden (1971) 2/5
This one is the second feature of the Vinegar Syndrome “Drive in Collection” that also featured the previously reviewed “The Suckers”. This one is a softcore feature about a guy obsessed with getting a girl who moved into his building. Spoiler alert: The girl is gay, and surprisingly, the film deals with gay politics surprisingly well for the era. That said, it’s cheap and a bit plodding in it’s melodrama.

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058 03-11 Johnny O’Clock (1947) 2.5/5
This one is a gangster/noir genre picture, about a gambler club manager trying to stay ahead of a business rival and the women who are actually controlling his life. Dick Powell is the title character, and despite playing many tough guys in his career, I never buy him in those roles. So despite being solid plot wise and shot in the wonderful noir style, I never really got into it.

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059 03-14 King of the Hill (1993) 4.5/5
060 03-15 The Underneath (1995) 3/5
These are Steven Soderbergh’s third and fourth pictures, and both his first studio pictures. Both were lovingly released recently by the Criterion Collection, so you know they look and sound great. “King of the Hill” remains as wonderful as I remembered, telling the true story of a kid living on his own during the depression. A beautifully shot film, with some fantastic child acting.

“The Underneath” is Soderbergh’s first crack at a caper film. I know I’ve seen it before, but I couldn’t remember it at all. It’s not bad, a bit plodding and over stylized, but still pretty solid.

One of the best parts of the set are the interviews with Soderbergh where he candidly slags off both films as being mostly failures in retrospect. If only more “failures” could be this good.

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061 03-15 The Erotic Memoirs of a Male Chauvinist Pig (1971) 3/5
What do you get when a convicted felon with a long career of forgery, smuggling and abuse charges makes a porn film? Something that should be more interesting than this one ended up being. Granted, it was made before all the above felonies happened, and it is pushing the envelope for 1971. It’s just never really gets as dark a comedy as it’s aiming for so it kind of plods along.

062 03-16 Box Ball (1977) 4/5
This is a porn loop found on the above “Pig” disc, and holy crap is it cringe inducing. It’s ten minutes of a woman twisting up a guys nut sack in ways you would not believe. Not for the faint of heart, it packs into ten minutes what “Pig” missed accomplishing in it’s feature length.

I continue to have random panic attacks from “Box Ball” to this day.

The End