Movie A Day!: The Red, Mad, Mad World

I’m a day late posting this thing this week. Sorry film fans, it’s a long weekend up here in the Great White North and it ends up that there is a never ending amount of plants and crap that need to be dug up, dug in, and replaced. I like the sun and outdoors, I’m not great at bending over so this weekend has been more chore than joy.  Here’s all the movies I watched up to this very moment since I finished the last one this morning.


145 05/15 The Red House (1947) 3.5/5   Edward G. Robinson stars in this one as the patriarch of an out of the way farm who absolutely does not want you mucking about in his woods and going near the Red House. The whole film is about what terrors may lie in those woods, and aside from some pacing issues it manages to be pretty tense stuff that fills you with a sense of doom and dread. Part country noir, part horror film, it’s certainly worth a look.


146 05/16 The Night Porter (1974) 3/5   I’ve been hearing a lot about this one for ages so it was nice to finally give it a look. Dirk Bogarde is The Night Porter, working in a hotel when he recognizes customer Charlotte Rampling as the women from the concentration camp he was abusing while working there during the war. It’s interesting and well done, but at the end of the day it’s really just an arty, serious take on “Love Camp 7” and all the other Naziploitation that was out at the time, just elevated with some fine direction from Liliana Cavani and the performances. It’s well done if not a little slow.


147 05/18 Monkey Kingdom (2015) 4/5   Disneynature hits it out of the park again with this one following a pack of macaque monkeys, centring on “Mya” and her journey from the lower class life. I knew monkeys had Alpha Males that ran the pack, but I had no idea it was a proper class system that dictated who could eat what. It was pretty bonkers and made the film even more interesting than it would of been since Monkeys are hilarious. Oh, and Tina Fey does a great job with the narration too.


148 05/19 O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) 4.5/5   The Coen brothers take on Homer’s Odyssey and it couldn’t be better. Setting it during the great depression and filling it with folk music is a stroke of genius. George Clooney is perfect in the lead, the comedy rings true and the film flies by. I love this movie and it’s soundtrack. Highly recommended.


149 05/20 Walk The Line (2005) 4/5   Bio-pic on the life of Johnny Cash tracks his story from childhood to his success with the “Live At Folsom Prison” album, but it’s really the love story of Johnny and June Carter falling in love. Joaquin Phoenix does as great job as Cash, and Reese Witherspoon is a whirlwind as June. They also sing the songs and are flat out great despite nobody being able to truly mimic Cash’s voice. Get past that and this one is a real winner.


150 05/20 Pussycat Ranch (1971) 2.5/5   Star power can’t elevate this one above being pretty standard adult fare for the era. Billy the Kid needs a hideout and Mama needs cash for the ranch so they team up and turn it into a brothel. It’s played for laughs, and it mostly works, it’s just not that interesting.

151 05/21 Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961) 3.5/5   I’ve been avoiding this one. The poster art and pictures of Audrey Hepburn and that stupid long cigarette holder bugged me, and I knew Mickey Rooney portrayed a horrible Asian stereotype. Ends up that this one was a pretty enjoyable romantic comedy. Hepburn and George Peppard are enjoyable as the leads and the only issue I had is it felt a little long. That said, there is no possible excuse for Rooney. That this kind of portrayal of a Japanese man was once considered even remotely acceptable is horrendous.


152 05/21 Here Comes The Bride (1978) 2/5   The second feature on the Vinegar Syndrome’s Peekarama disc is also by John Christopher and is even more unexceptional than Pussycat Ranch. This one finds a couple celebrating their wedding anniversary and the wife remembering all the guys she was with while pretending to be a virgin to her husband. It’s draggy and if not for legendary star Samantha Fox it wouldn’t have gotten even 2 stars.


153 05/22 It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (Extended Edition) (1963) 4/5   First time watching the roadshow version and I enjoyed the film even more. Most of the footage that was cut from the Roadshow to the general release is lost, so the fact that they were able to restore it to this level is remarkable. That said, it is a bit of a mess with photo’s and subtitles subbing in for some of the lost footage. I didn’t find it as distracting as I expected to find it and on a whole it’s really improved the flow of the movie. It’s truly “kitchen sink” film, completely jam packed with jokes and cameos, it’s well worth checking out regardless of the version you can get your hands on.

 

There it is.

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Movie A Day! : 161-167 – “Invasion of the Bees”

Another week, another blog. I’ve managed to stick to my 3 times a week workout as discussed previously. It’s slow going, but good. The eating part isn’t going as well sadly. I feel the need to eat the snacks I own so you know, FAT! I’m off work the next couple of weeks, just a staycation. I had some plans, but I feel like scrapping them. I’m used to being alone and whenever I have time to myself I just hermit. It’s got to be depression right? I’m not SAD, but I’m not happy either. Just nothing. Let’s fill the void with movies! HUZZAH! I managed to watch two different movies largely about bees. Accidental theme week!

161 07-14 Wings of Life (2011/2013?) 3.5/5

One of the jewels in the Disney crown, back when Walt still ran the show, was the TRUE-LIFE ADVENTURES series of feature films and shorts. Basically nature documentaries that told fun little stories of the animals depicted. What they may of lacked in hard science they more than made up for in entertainment and won the studio a slew of Oscars. All but abandoned, in the past 10 or so years Disney relaunched the series under the DISNEYNATURE banner, and every release has been really great. If you love the critters, and boy do I love critters, these dumb movies will have you squeeing all over the place, probably with tears in your eyes. This one wasn’t as good though. It looked like it was going to tell the story of bugs and butterflies and what not, and it does, but it’s all centered from the flowers point of view. Which is cool and novel, but it all gets a bit much in the narrative department and there’s never the tense, dangerous moments to really stir you up. That said, the photography is absolutely astonishing, and even the heavy handed environmental message (about the bee situation that actually is as dire and deserving of heavy handed attention as any ecological threat) makes it all work. It’s just no AFRICA CATS which has you going out of your mind watching lions raise their kittens. (All baby cat like things are kittens, I don’t care what anyone has to say about it.)

162 07-14 Ernie Kovacs: Take A Good Look (1959-1961) 4/5

This was a bonus disc included with the previously reviewd 6 disc set. It features nearly 3 hours of episodes from Kovacs TAKE A GOOD LOOK game show. It’s a panel show where three celebrities have to guess who a special guest is, based on three sets of clues. Kovacs had free range to produce the clues as skits, and you’ll never see more baffling surreal clues in a game show. It’s genuinely hilarious, and I could easily watch this 50 year old game show every day.

163 07-16 Zatoichi and the Doomed Man (1965) 3.5/5

Another fine installment. I think this one is film 11, so I’m not quite halfway through the initial series. This one see’s Zatoichi getting wrapped up in more yakuza troubles after being forced to help an innocent man sentenced to death. Not much more to say, the plot is a bit simpler than the previous one, but it’s still a fine film. The character continues to grow, he actively tries to avoid getting mixed up in all the intrigue, it’s pretty much a force of fate that guides him. The swordplay is typically excellent, this one featuring even longer takes of the flashing blade that genuinely makes things breathtakingly exciting. I’m going to continue to ration these to one a week, but I could easily binge watch this set.

164 07-19 Invasion of the Bee Girls (1973) 3/5

I think this one is a knock-off of “The Stepford Wives”, though it beat the film version of the book to the box office. It’s a pretty goofy Sci-Fi horror about a town where men are winding up dead after having sex, due to Bee Girls which behave like queen bees and fuck men to death. It’s pretty sleazy, with most of the exploitation tropes of the era on full display, which makes it a fun watch. I have to admit, I’d fall for a Bee Girl, they’re pretty fabulous with their big sunglasses on.

Buzzz Buzzz!

165 07-19 God Bless Ozzy Osbourne (2011) 3.5/5

After the success of THE OSBOURNES, Ozzy became a pop culture joke. This documentary, produced by his son Jack, helps put him back into context as one of the most successful singers in music. It covers all the basics as far as a documentary goes, from his poverty riddled childhood right up to this 60th birthday and finally celebrating sobriety. In fact, the whole thing is really about his struggle with addiction. Since I only knew the very basics of his story, I found this genuinely interesting.

166 07-19 Bijou (1972) 4/5

This was Wakefiled Poole’s follow up to his hit film BOYS IN THE SAND. This one too is a hardcore gay porn, but the step up in quality is massive. Where as BOYS was basically a loop carrier of 3 vignettes, this one has a proper plot. A construction worker witnesses a woman get hit by a car on his way home, and snatches her purse that falls at his feet. Once home, he discovers a ticket to “Bijou”, and goes there. This one is silent like his other pictures, but the level of craft is surprising considered it was largely shot in his own apartment. His skill as a theatrical producer really shines, as well as his use of in camera double exposures and what not. So instead of playing like a porno for the raincoat crowd, it really feels more at home as an art film since the mood and shots allow for different interpretations. For example; you’re never sure if the lead is straight or gay. It’s things like this that elevate it. As per usual, Vinegar Syndrome put this out looking beautiful with some nice extras, including an introduction and commentary by Poole that was interesting and informative.

167 07-20 Jackass Presents : Bad Grandpa (Extended Cut) 3.5/5

Liked this one in the theater, and really enjoyed revisiting is with the extended cut. Not much different between the two I don’t think, just scenes playing out a little longer so you get more ball sack. If you like Jackass, I’m sure you’ll like this. If you hate Jackass, then you should probably skip it.

There we are! Not a bad week of movie watching. I just got a load of Criterion releases in the mail as I was prepping this, so theirs a chance we might be seeing some fancier movies in next weeks round up. You will come back to see right? Remember to share and like this if you can. Maybe I can get rich with a popular blog? HA!

The End