Movie A Day!: Kung Fu Scoundrels

I read this earlier today. Read it.

This one is bigger than I was expecting. Wrapped up The Wire, which left me a little short to post when I usually do. Now it’s a long read. In a couple weeks I start the Scary Movie Challenge. there will be too many posts. Not that I have any idea if anyone actually subscribes to this.

Kung Fu, porno, and classic Hollywood. Pretty typical.

265 09/05 Whiplash (1974) 3/5   Pei-Pei Cheng is back this time capturing a gang of bandits and forcing them to show her where they found some items of her father. It’s a kung fu adventure flick in the mountains with a hidden treasure, played for laughs with a song about boners. It’s one of those awful films that end up being kind of unbelievable and likeable. Hard to recommend, but I’d be tempted to force it on friends.

266 09/08 Sunny (1979) 3.5/5   Candida Royalle takes the title role in this one about a young woman hired to influence a young man but sets out to get his money for herself. It’s classy adult fare from Shaun Costello who manages to slowly add in some sleazy aspects as it goes on to keep the Time’s Square crowd interested. It runs short, which means it never tests your patience and works better than most from the era.

267 09/09 The Wire Season 5 (2008) 4/5   The series wraps up with season, and it’s great. This one shifts focus once again, this time including the media in the tangled web of politics, police works and what not and how the least of anyone’s worries is the people the civil servants are supposed to serve. It also finds McNulty fully succumbing to his obsessions. It’s great stuff, and a perfect ending to the series. I give the whole series a 5/5. Highly recommended.

268 09/09 One-Armed Boxer (1972) 4/5   Jimmy Wang Yu writes, directs and stars in this one, about a boxer who’s master and group is pretty much wiped out by the evil Iron Claw Gang and the evil gangs hired martial arts masters of different disciplines. It’s near non-stop fights, and the whole gang war thing starts over a dudes pet finch. It’s shithouse bonkers, with the one-armed boxers training being the most bonkers of many bonkers moments. It makes for an absolute gem of a kung fu film that has everything you are looking for in an Golden Harvest oldie.    

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269 09/10 The Tattooed Dragon (1973) 2.5/5   This Kung Fu flick can best be described as “serviceable”. Jimmy Wang Yu is back, this time as the Tattooed Dragon, a Robin Hood like character who keeps the thugs at bay. It’s starts off strong, but then does a hard right dealing with a duck farmer and a town’s gambling problems that features far too little fighting to hold any interest. When Wang is kicking the shit out of folks, it’s great! There’s just not enough of it.

270 09/13 Beach Party (1963) 3/5   After all these years, I have finally seen a proper Frankie & Annette Beach Party movie. (I’m not counting the classic Back To The Beach as proper.) It wasn’t really worth it. A bunch of teens are hanging out at the beach, surfing, with an anthropologist studying their habits being the excuse for the whole thing. It’s not a good movie, but it is charming in it’s own way which never makes it super annoying or anything. Dick Dale is sadly wasted, but the self awareness that this film is pandering to teenagers keeps it going. It’s goofy enough that I’ll watch more of these.

271 09/13 Beach of the War Gods (1973) 3/5   Jimmy Wang Yu is back writing, directing and starring in this one about a Chinese town fighting to keep marauding Japanese at bay. For the most part it works, it’s a little draggy in the middle but the last third of non-stop bananas action makes up for it.

272 09/14 Alias Nick Beal (1949) 3/5   An interesting twist on a political corruption story with Thomas Mitchell taking the lead as a crime fighting D.A. that gets a push to being a Governor. Ray Milland is the pusher, and he may be the devil. Lots of noir touches in this one, but it I found dragged bit in the latter half despite how great the leads (and Audrey Totter in a showy support role) are.   

273 09/15 The Man Called Tiger (1973) 3/5   Jimmy Wang Yu is back in the final film in the set I have. This time he’s in a contemporary setting and playing a kind of cool “Steve McQueen” type, only he’s not up to the part like Bruce Lee was. It mostly drags until once again, things go bonkers in the last half with near nonstop fighting.

274 09/15 More Than Sisters (1979) 3/5   The second feature on the Shaun Costello disc that also featured Sunny, this one is the exact opposite. All the glossy style of Sunny is gone, replaced by an incredibly dark and seed psychological thriller that is closer to horror that porno usual gets. It makes for a nice surprise and speaks to Costello’s talent for using any budget to his advantage.

275 09/16 Farm Aid 2017 3.5/5   Spent the day watching this one. Margo Price continues to be a new favourite, but the real attraction for me is seeing what Neil Young is going to do. Young did a set with Promise of the Real and it was simply okay. Young didn’t seem to be into like he typically is. I’m hoping it’s road rust and not age. Willie Nelson wrapped the night up and it’s just a joy to see him out there.

276 09/16 Scoundrels (1982) 4/5   Since unexpectedly getting into porno chic thanks to the fiends at Vinegar Syndrome, Cecil Howard has been a name mentioned in the VS circles as one of the master of the genre. This is the first of his films that I have seen, and I have to say, they’re right. This one stars Ron Jeremy as a successful psychiatrist whose family is coming apart at the seams. Everyone knows Ron Jeremy, he’s a goof. In here he plays it pretty straight, and the film is quite serious in tone, and Jeremy is legit fantastic in this. Especially in the surreal clown bits. And it all works with the near constant sex scenes. A strong film that’s easy to recommend. The Blu-ray put out from Command Cinema with the help of Distribpix is a beauty. 

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! : 230-237 “I have returned from hell!”

An exciting week on the ol’ Movie A Day blog this week. I made it to the theaters! I watched a Zatoichi! I may start a second, side blog! Read on!

230 09-01 Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) 4/5
I finally made it out of the bunker to the cinema to view a film! This one I had little interest in since the trailers all left me flat. So this might be a “low expectations” case but I really loved it. James Gunn hasn’t made a bad picture (and made one of the best superhero films with “Super”), so it shouldn’t be a big surprise. I’m going to credit that since this one is based on a garbage comic book that no one read, it’s free of all the baggage that follows the other Marvel films. It also has actual heart, the stupid raccoon kept making me cry. So yeah, a winner that helps ease the pain that we will never see Edgar Wright’s ANT-MAN.

231 09-01 The Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) 4/5
Seeing how Wes Anderson films are all so overly designed and staged, it seems inevitable that he would take a crack at not only an animation feature, but a stop motion animation film. Based on Roald Dahl’s book and featuring many of his regular cast doing the voices, the film is simply a fun joy that isn’t the broken thumb in his filmography that it could have been.

232 09-01 Doctor Who: Tales From the TARDIS (2013) 2.5/5
I’ve decided to watch the new season of Doctor Who, so I thought I’d start of with this special from last year to get myself up to date. It has some fun behind the scenes stories from all of the surviving Doctors, but did nothing to really get me up to date so that plan was dashed. Anyway, Season 8 with the new Doctor sounds good regardless after the teen idol Doctors I couldn’t bother watching (and the clips contained in here confirmed my decision) so I’ll still give the series a go. Tempted to do side posts tracking the separate stories since Doctor Who is so episodic. Any interest?

233 09-02 Bang the Drum Slowly (1956) 3.5/5
Another live broadcast from the Golden Age Of Television set, this one stars a pre-fame Paul Newman in the whirlwind roll of a baseball player/writer who deals with a teammates diagnoses of a fatal disease. It was everything you would hope it to be with stellar performances and a genuinely touching story.

234 09-03 The Whole Town’s Talking (1935) 3.5/5
This one is a real oddball. A comedy of mistaken identity that’s directed by John Ford, who specialized in westerns, and starring Edward G. Robinson, who was known for his tough guy persona. It works though since Ford was a master craftsman, and Robinson one of the greatest actors in film. Robinson has no problems in the dual role playing both the meek clerk who get’s mistakenly identified as a murderous gangster, and shows surprising for the period subtlety in his handling of both characters. Jean Arthur (Mr. Smith Goes To Washington) is solid as usual in the supporting role, and man, I need a Jean Arthur in my life.

235 09-04 Zatoichi the Outlaw (1967) 4/5

This one is the first in the series to be produced by star Katsu and holy shit was it good! At first it had a cheaper look, seemed kind of blown out on the blu ray transfer. It could be age related though. Once the film got going though, the big change was the tone is way darker, even a bit sleazy, and it made the whole, typical Zatoichi mixed up with Yakuza bosses plot all that much more gripping. Plus they’ve added in blood and special effects so limbs are flying off. It was awesome! It’s ridiculous how much joy I get when there’s bonus gore in a film! I’m sick!

236 09-05 The Violation of Claudia (1977) 3/5

Before making a name for himself as a master of cult-horror with titles like the amazingly brutal MANIAC and the MANIAC COP series, William Lustig got his start in porn with this one, his first film. Going by the name “Billy Bagg”, this one is basically a hardcore version of Bunuel’s BELLE De JOUR. Sharon Mitchell stars as the affluent housewife being ignored by her husband who is looking for some adventure in her life. Fortunately her tennis instructor (played by Jamie Gillis) is a pimp on the side. It’s not as stupid as it sounds, and for the large part it works as a proper movie, more in the elevated Henry Paris style than typical porn. The commentary on this one, hosted by director Nicolas Winding Refn (DRIVE) is as entertaining as the film, with Lustig having many stories to tell, and proud of his humble beginnings. Lustig’s other porn, HOT HONEY is included, I’ll probably watch it next weekend.

237 09-06 Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) 4/5

Another dead solid Marvel movie to wrap up the week! This one feels more like a true follow up to THE AVENGERS than the stupid IRON MAN 3 did. Basically Cap deals with an insidious plot to undermine SHIELD that manages to give closure to the first Captain America film while pushing the whole universe of stories forward. This helps clear up some of the odd bits of MARVEL’S AGENTS OF SHIELD that had me thrown while watching season one. Good stuff all around, Marvel really has these movies figured out. (Aside from IRON MAN which is the only series that seems to get progressively worse.)

So there we are! Not a bum movie in the bunch! So what do you think, do you want to see Doctor Who run downs? I’ll post them here if you like. Answer the poll! Actually, there is no poll, when I click “Add Poll” on this stupid thing the screen goes grey and nothing happens. What a piece of shit! So let me know in the comments. You should all be leaving me comments on how great I am anyway. What, do I sound like I have a lots of self esteem or something? To hell with all of you!

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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