Movie A Day!: Blood Face

After a week of sunny skies and spring temperatures, today finds the sky back to the gloomy grey that is Edmonton in the winter. Perfect weather for hermit-ting up with movies and other things to distract from the political climate.

This post is a real mess theme wise. Friends who followed my Snapchat during the horror movie challenge will know that one of the greatest boxsets of all time arrived on my door step near the end, SHOCK AND GORE: THE FILMS OF HERSCHELL GORDON LEWIS. After staring at it for months and frankly being intimidated by it, I finally broke down and cracked that sucker open. My plan was to watch one disc a week. Then the February pack from Vinegar Syndrome showed up three weeks early. And I’m still watching the Oscar best picture nominations. So your stuck with classy films, gore films from one of the worst directors of all times, and porno from one of the hardcore masters who literally helped create the porn industry.

This blog may be a psychiatric profile of a cry for help.


042 02/12 59th Annual Grammy Awards (2017) 3/5   I don’t know why I watch these but I always find a reason to. Ends up this year was pretty good. Katy Perry debuted a new song that’s actually kind of a clever protest, Lady Gaga performed metal with Metallica (my excuse to watch this years awards, her halftime show at the Superbowl was amazing) and aside from a dead mic on Hetfield, she rocked. Lady Gaga may be the the legendary performer of this generation. She can sing anything and do so convincingly. The real highlight though was oldie rappers A Tribe Called Quest who performed as an assault unit, attacking Trump (President Agent Orange, as dubbed by guest Busta Rhymes) and it was exhilarating. Oh, and Beyonce did a really artistic performance piece on black womanhood. I think. So yeah, despite all this fun, it still managed to feel like it would never end.


043 02/12 Blood Feast (1963) 4/5   Exploitation legends Herschell Gordon Lewis and David Friedman invented the splatter genre with this one. The effects are primitive at best, the acting not so great and while people always say Ed Wood Jr. was the worst director of all time, I think Lewis fits the crown better since there is a unenthusiastic workman like feel to Lewis compared to the glee in a Wood Jr. picture. That said, it’s an irresistible picture. I’ve forgotten how many times I’ve watched it, but I love it more each time. People joke about the effects, but they really aren’t that bad compared to the regular make-up. The grey hair on younger actors looks like they rubbed a bar of soap on their heads. That’s far more unforgivable than creating a more than decent tongue being yanked out of a girls head effect. I like to think so anyway. This one is a must see (along with the other films in the “Blood Trilogy”, I’ll get to those later) for anyone with an interest in horror history.

scum_of_earth_poster_01
044 02/13 Scum of the Earth (1963) 3.5/5   1963 was a pretty big year for Herschell Gordon Lewis. Not only did he invent the gore film, he was one of the first to put out a film that would be known as “Roughies”. Roughies were the horrible children of the “Nudie Cuties”, instead of wholesome nudist camps full of nubile innocents, roughies were more urban and had pervos creeping on and corrupting women. This one was about a porno photography outfit that hoodwinks High School girls into being models before getting them to shoot nude and then blackmailing them to do hardcore. It’s very innocent despite that description since actual porno wouldn’t be shot for nearly a decade and the brief nudity in the picture is actually sort of tasteful with the real rough stuff happening off camera. Shot in black and white it actually looks classier than it is, and ends up being one of Lewis’s more accomplished pictures. Sexploitation would keep on pushing after this one, Lewis would mostly drift into gore (which based on his final film, the hardcore Black Love, is a very good thing…). Well worth checking out as it doesn’t have some of the pacing issues Lewis’s films tend to have.


045 02/14 Lion (2016) 3.5   A young Indian boy gets lost and ends up adopted by Nicole Kidman’s terrible haircut that is a perfect representation of Australia in this Oscar pick. I quite enjoyed this one in that it sticks with telling the kids true story without getting too over the top with the melodramatics (I think) and without the “Forrest Gump-Ness” of Slumdog Millionaire. Don’t think it was best of the year stuff though.


046 02/14 Carving Magic (1959) 4/5   This one is an industrial short about a guy hosting a dinner party and wows his dickhead friend with his turkey carving prowess. Why would I watch a carving instructional film? It’s on the Blood Feast blu-ray as an extra! It features Blood Feast star William Kerwin as the guy who learns how to carve, but more interesting is that Harvey Korman plays the dickhead friend, this being his first film role. I love Harvey Korman! Go watch Blazing Saddles again and see what I mean! This one was also legit educational, I think I might be able to carve a turkey properly now!


047 02/15 Moonlight (2016) 4/5   This one is about a kid growing up and navigating himself through Black Miami culture. I really liked this one in that it’s the kind of film that is usually made about white people in that it didn’t have any black genre trappings despite dealing with lower income/gang/drug culture. Dead solid performances that ring true in that they are frustrating to watch. There’s no hand holding the audience. I wouldn’t mind if this one won.


048 02/15 Slaughterhouse (1987) 3/5   1987 seems a bit late to try to pull a rip on Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but when it’s as fun as this one, why not give it a go? A bunch of cool kids decide to hold a party in a foreclosed slaughterhouse. Unbeknownst to them, the owner and his deranged son (who talks in pig-squeals) have decided to kill the people who fucked him over business wise. It’s all an excuse for some typical 80’s slasher mayhem and it delivers which is all you can ask.


049 02/17 Arrival (2016) 4/5   I really enjoyed this one. I had heard it compared to Contact (another one I really enjoyed) but Arrival really is it’s own thing. Aliens have come down and language specialist Amy Adams has to figure out how to communicate with them. It leads to a thoughtful Sci-Fi that is actually pretty rare in these days of action blockbusters. Good stuff, I wouldn’t mind if it won Best Picture.

050 02/17 Parochial Passion Princess (1975) 2.5/5  Depraved hardcore short from Alex deRenzy about a teen prostitute. No one does sleaze like deRenzy, you have to give him credit.


051 02/18 La La Land (2016) 4/5   Hollywood finally does a traditional musical. That’s how this one is billed. The opening number had me cringing since it was so modern Broadway in style, thankfully the film settles down and ends up being really good, and yes, pretty traditional. I don’t think it works quite as well as it wants to- it never reaches the insane dancing fever pitch of the classics- but it’s welcome all the same.


052 02/18 Babyface (1977) 4/5   Feature length film by Alex deRenzy about a guy who gets shanghaied into working in a brothel owned by women for women clients. One of the sleaziest films I’ve seen, it practically is checking off a list of triggers for things deemed politically incorrect and will make you feel squeamish watching it. It’s also done with so much showmanship and glee that it’s hard to be mad about it. deRenzy was a master at this stuff and this one was one is no exception.

So which one should win best picture? I honestly don’t know. None of them wowed me. None of them are bad films, more a case of none of them feeling particularity exceptional or memorable. The only one that really feels like a broken thumb is Hacksaw Ridge, and that’s due to the first half being so schmaltzy. The second half in the war is brilliantly over the top. If I had to pick one I’d go with Moonlight since it’s the only one that didn’t have something in it that made question the filmmakers choice, with Arrival, La La Land and Manchester By The Sea following. Yet despite that, I think I enjoyed Hidden Figures best but found the film technically problematic. It looks like this years Oscars will be mostly blah for me since I don’t have a horse in the race that I really  want to see win. It’s not the first time, and wont be the last.

Which is okay, I got more terrible movies and Gilmore Girls to keep me company.

Until next time.

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Movie A Day! 101-110: Easter Nostril Devil

It’s Easter Sunday as I write this. I have no religious reason to celebrate, it’s  a good excuse to have a fancier food is all. So on top of all the chocolate I’ve eaten the past few days, I also went all out and made a coca-cola ham. It was good, and now it’s late and I realize I forgot to update the movie blog. So I’m doing this before I go to bed and watch a documentary on British horror. So I’ll apologize in advance for any extra grammar and spelling errors you will find over the usual, I’m tired.

101 04-01 Revenge of the Creature (1955) 3/5
102 04-02 The Creature Walks Among Us (1956) 3/5
The final two sequels to CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON. Neither of them are as good as the first one, and the second one has a modified suit that looks crap in the water (air bubbles come out of the top of the Gil-Mans head!) but both are enjoyable in their own way. REVENGE has the Gil-Man captured and put on display in a water park. WALKS has a team looking for the Gil-Man in the swamps, with the purpose of manipulating it’s DNA into becoming a super human that can be shot into space. So they are both wonky, but WALKS is the better movie with a great nighttime attack scene. REVENGE is probably most notable for having an unbilled Clint Eastwood in his second film doing a bit in a lab with rats.

103 04-02 Nympho Cycler (1971) 2.5/5
104 04-03 Shot On Location (1972) 1.5/5
A pair of borderling hard core features generally credited as being directed by Ed Wood Jr. NYMPHO was the better film, mainly due to actually having Wood in it as a the leads pervo husband who gets off taking sexy photo of her while he’s dressed in drag. Wood is hammy as hell, and the years of booze show. It’s a pretty sad site, but fascinating all the same. Once Nympho takes off, you never see Wood again and it becomes a rather tedious affair. SHOT ON LOCATION is guessed to have Woods involvement, but there’s nothing in it that worth watching, just the typical stupid grind and moan to be found in the cheapest of sexploitation, which both of these are.

105 04-03 The Nostril Picker (1993) 2.5/5
Super cheap shot on video slasher. A pervo learns the art of being a changeling (original title was THE CHANGER) from a homeless guy, and takes the form of a missing highschool girl so he can befriend some cheerleader types and kill them. Lowbrow in every way, from acting, to effects, but it all adds up to being kind of fun since they really go for it premise wise as opposed to being stupid with it.

106 04-03 Interstellar (2014) 4/5
I don’t think Nolan was completely successful in what he was going for with this, I’d have to watch it again. That said, he goes big with this one, not just in scope but in ideas, and I’ll take that a billion times over some garbage TRANSFORMERS or FAST FURIOUS film. The cast is all great, the films moves like it should and I didn’t find it had the pacing problems some have bitched about. Again, it’s attempting to tackle the big questions, I found the “downtime” just as interesting as the spectacle. That said, I’d be okay with Matthew McConaughey maybe having a time out for a few big films.

107 04-04 Decker: Port of Call: Hawaii (2015) 4/5
Between this, ON CINEMA AT THE CINEMA and their twitter accounts, Tim Heidecker and Gregg Turkington (Neil Hamburger) are doing some of the best satire to be found, period. It’s going to go down in the history books, so catch up you dummy’s! It can all be streamed on the net! Anyway, DECKER 2 was as brilliantly stupid as the first series, and I never want it to end since it’s a billion times more entertaining and creative than SHIELD WALKING DEAD.

Day of Anger Movie Poster

108 04-04 Day Of Anger (1967) 3.5/5
My ARROW VIDEO subscription has started to arrive, so expect to see their titles appearing again and again in this blog like you do Vinegar Syndrome. This first one is a Spaghetti Western, and a solid one at that. Giuliano Gemma (never heard of him either, he’s big in Europe) plays a bastard child that grew up in a shithole town and is now the towns slop boy, literally carting their poo away, dreaming of being a gunslinger and forcing their respect. Lee Van Cleef (THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY) arrives, and ends up taking the boy under his wing, being the father he never had. Only with lots of killing. If you like westerns, you should like this one, and the blu-ray looks great

109 04-04 Three Ripening Cherries (1979) 2/5
Another Carlos Tobalina snoozer porn. This one is about three sisters (?) who fantasize about what their first sexual experiences will be after learning sex ed in school. That’s the first ten minutes. The rest of the film are lazy, dull group sex scenes that Tobalina apparently never figured out how to film in an interesting way. I’ll watch the second feature on the Vinegar Syndrome disc next weekend.

110 04-05 Mark of the Devil (1970) 3.5/5
Another ARROW VIDEO release, this one was one of the more notorious features to be on the VIDEO NASTIES list in the UK. I watched a crappy download of it a few years ago during one of the horror challenges, and I have to admit, I got more out of it watching it properly restored in it’s correct aspect ratio. Anyway, it’s about abusive witch hunters in England, and takes a serious look at what was going on which means it’s filled with graphic torture and beatings with lots of blood, so it’s pretty great! An insanely young Udo Kier is the star, and that creepy Reggie Nalder who showed up in DRACULA SUCKS is great as the abusive witch hunter. This one is well worth a watch, not just due to it’s place in British Horror, but it’s actually a good movie instead of just relying on shock.

Thanks for reading.

Movie A Day! 096-100: Walking Hazard

Last Friday I had a rare night out, went to a show with the boss to see White Buffalo. He’s a folk singer. I don’t know if that’s his birth name, he was good. In an even rarer event, I ran into someone I know but haven’t seen in at least a couple of years. Someone who really helped me out over the really rough years while I was helping to care for Dad as he fought cancer, someone who probably knows more about me than anyone in my current, hermit life. Circumstances changed, and well, we were unable to see each other anymore. It was cool though. And catching up with her, albeit briefly was really nice. She married, has a kid, a nice career. I’ve lost all my friends the past couple years, my fault, and while she left my life for completely different reasons than the others, it was great to see her and felt good to know she was doing good. Typically bump ins like this throw me into a jealous loop and my ego rages for days. I guess I’m finally getting my shit together emotionally. I’ll probably never see her again, and that’s okay, it’s the deal. She was incredibly kind to me, and it’s nice that I wasn’t my usual dick-self bumping into her at the show.

Another late blog, I didn’t realize I had hit five titles due to some of them being TV shows wrapping up.


096 03-28 Comic Book Men Season 4 (2014, 16 Episodes) 2/5
Possibly the most scripted “Reality” show of them all, it’s gotten even worse. The storylines/celeb guests are all annoying, and the PAWN STAR bit is so insanely seeded it’s ridiculous. The real problem is the men of the title are a bunch of assholes, and in many ways personify everything wrong with comic book shops. But it’s a Kevin Smith show, so I doubt it will go away anytime soon. I’m basically watching it out of laziness, it’s become a habit after watching Walking/Talking Dead.


097 03-29 The Young Marrieds (1972) 3/5
The last film directed by Ed Wood Jr., and he goes out in a bit of a whimper. This porno is the last film he wrote and directed. As a porn, there’s not much here to recommend, but as an Ed Wood Jr. film, it’s got many of the touches that made him famous. Manly a wonky, self righteous narration that’s similar to GLEN & GLENDA, and a hilarious plot twist to challenge homophobes. Not entirely fun and doesn’t hold a candle to his 50’s period, but it’s good enough.


098 03-30 Dark Hazard (1934) 3/5
Edward G. Robinson plays a degenerate gambler trying to play it straight to please his fuddy dud wife who rescued him from the gutter. It’s pretty standard early thirties fair that rises above the typical preachy due to Robinson’s exuberance, and quite possibly the greatest twist ending* I’ve seen outside of a TWILIGHT ZONE EPISODE.


099 03-30 The Walking Dead Season 5 (2014) 3/5
100 03-30 The Talking Dead Season 4 (2014) 2.5/5
Quite possibly the weakest season of the Walking Dead finds the majority of the characters behaving completely against they way they have in previous seasons. The best example being the story of leader Rick who has spent the past four seasons trying to keep his family together and safe becoming obsessed with wanting to fuck a married woman at a compound they find to the point of wanting to kill her husband. Yeah, that sounds about right for a guy who has valued family about everything else. All for visceral “shocks” intended to keep the audience guessing. It’s stuff like this that undermined the whole series, and while the season finale helped to right some of the wrongs, I get a feeling this one is going to suffer the fate of most US television by going on too long and getting increasingly shitty. Of course, they’re planning a second series which means there will be two shit series to follow.

That’s it! Below is a spoiler for DARK HAZARD, since none of you will watch it anyway, and it really is a great ending. So skip this next bit if you think you might actually see it (you know you wont).

*SPOILER ALERT!

So the great ending is this, Robinson has started looking after a dog racing track, and loses all his money gambling so his wife takes the last of it and moves back to Idaho. Robinson spends the next couple years trying to win back his fortune to pay back the wife and goes completely bust, having to hobo to Idaho on trains to get back to his wife. Unknown to him, the wife has had his child, and has been rekindling an affair with some local geek. Robinson tries to turn his life around a second time, and the wife goes along with it for the kids sake. So he’s working a legit job, and manages to get a way to by his favourite racing dog, Dark Hazard of the title. This sets his wife in another tizzy, and Robinson has a blow out with the geek, dropping him with one punch like the fucking hulk. The wife freaks, tells him it’s not going to work out. So what happens? Robinson fucks off with his dog, and in a montage starts hitting the tracks, winning huge pots, and rekindling a romance with a hot blond in which he ends up traveling the globe, blonde and dog in hand, betting at the best horse tracks in the world. Completely dumping the killjoy wife and kid! THE BEST “FUCK YOU” ENDING IN FILM! They don’t make ’em like they used to, kids.

Movie A Day! 258-265 – The Scary Movie Challenge Begins!

It’s Monday, and boy is it a “Monday” around the old P-Bunker. Work continues to prove that a lot of the humans we have to deal with are just the worst.

Here it is, the first batch of watched films for this years scary movie challenge! The rules are broad, I’m not getting into them here, just know these all count and oddly, don’t look much different than my usual lists. I guess I like sleazy, violent movies! I began with a slasher, because you should always begin horror marathons with a slasher.

258 10-01 Graduation Day (1981) 3/5

Started my scary movie challenge with a first time viewing of this one. You can tell by the title that this is another slasher knockoff of HALLOWEEN, and it’s certainly the ugly stepchild to HALLOWEEN and FRIDAY THE 13th. Maybe it was because I hadn’t seen it, but I really enjoyed it. Sure, it’s basically a killer attacking high school kids, but it actually has a bit of a plot to try to give it some mystery as to who the killer is. The gore effects are cheap and pretty crap compared to what Tom Savini was doing in FRIDAY THE 13th, but the overall look and editing of this one is really good and helps elevate it. I watched this via the new blu-ray from Vinegar Syndrome, and it’s looking and sounding great. If you’re a fan of the film, this bluray is for you. A word of warning though, once you Gangster Rock, you will never not Gangster Rock.

259 10-02 Guru, the Mad Monk (1970) 2/5
I’m probably being generous with the 2 out of 5 since this is not a good movie. Written and Directed by cult legend Andy Milligan, it stars Neil Flanagan in the lead role of the crazy monk who has a vampire mistress for an old lady and deformed hunchback serving him, trying to keep control of his church posting in 15th century Europe. The best thing I can say is Flanagan is pretty good and keep the film together. I had previously seen him as the mincing transvestite hooker in Milligan’s “Fleshpot on 42nd Street”, and he’s still a bit camp in this. Otherwise, the film is that type of delightfully terrible that is just plain fun to watch. You get 1970’s New York, complete with cardboard garbage and mini scooter in the exteriors subbing in for a European Island, mannequin hands and ping pong balls being severed with a blood that makes a Herschel Gordon Lewis film from the same period look like a Tom Savini film and a plot so bonkers it’s not worth repeating. At 56 minutes or so, it doesn’t overstay it’s welcome. So if you’re into this kind of psychotronic trash, you can download it for free (among other goodies) from Vinegar Syndrome!

260 10-02 The Jekyll & Hyde Portfolio (1971) 2.5/5
What do you get when you combine the Hyde mythos with seventies astrology, sexploitation and gore? This! It’s an odd mish mash of sexploitation horror that is more ridiculous than it should be. A killer is killing girls in a nursing school, that seems to be turn of the century but it’s hard to tell since it’s another cheap-o horror so they don’t really have the budget to pull it off. It’s light years ahead of that GURU: THE MAD MONK though as far as production design goes. Anyway, it’s pretty much by the numbers, the main draw being the HGL type gore and ample nudity, some of it supplied by cult legend Rene Bond. I’m knocking it a bit for having a bit too much of a preoccupation with dissected frogs (complete with fake blood). Don’t worry though, it’s not CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST type animal cruelty, I just like frogs and critters. 😛 I watched via the limited edition Vinegar Syndrome blu-ray and while the print is in rough shape, I can’t imagine it ever looking better since I don’t think it ever found it’s way on home video before this. It is available in a DVD version, and is backed with another film from the company, A CLOCKWORK BLUE which has nothing to do with Kubrick’s film, and everything to do with being a crappy Russ Meyer’s type comedy knock off without the comedy.

Screamy!

261 10-02 Dracula (1931) 5/5
Not much to say other than I love this movie. Sure, its got some pacing problems. Bela Lugosi makes up for it. You can’t even read his name without your brain doing that Lugosi accent. That’s how amazing he was in this, and the picture holds up even though David Manners is a terrible Harker. Worse than Keanu Reeves. I said it and I’m sticking to it. Anyway, if you haven’t watched this than get on it already!

262 10-03 The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake (1959) 3/5
Ages ago I picked up one of those cheap discs that Shout Factory put out via “Timeless Media” that has four movies on one disc. I fired that sucker up, and this was the first movie. Now, when you pay $10 for four movies, you have low expectations. So when I say this one is pretty great, you might not believe me, but you would be wrong. It was fucking great! Basic plot is a couple of older brothers are trying to figure out why their family is cursed. When the men hit 60 years old, they die of heart attacks and their heads go missing. What the hell right? The curse is corny as hell with shrunken heads, but man, they really go for it and works. Surprisingly graphic for the day, some neat ideas, and a set of fingerprints with skulls in the patterns mean this is a hell of a movie. I still have 3 movies on this disc and it’s already $10 well spent!

263 10-03 Frankenstein (1931) 5/5
Not much to say about this one other than it’s one of my all time favourite movies, Karloff is perfect as the monster, the rest of the cast are perfect in their roles and while it manages to be pretty brutal and intense, it’s also sad. I love this movie and the blu-ray is beautiful.

264 10-03 Necromania: A Tale of Weird Love (1971) 2/5
This is a lost Ed Wood Jr. porn film, and I’m learning quickly that the thought of watching a “lost” Ed Wood Jr. skin flick is more fun that actually watching one. I’m a big fan of Wood’s classics since while they are “bad”, they are delightfully goofy bad that are fun to watch since you can tell he’s trying really hard but just doesn’t have the talent. This one though you can tell he’s not trying. Basic plot is a couple seek guidance for their love making problems by signing up to see a Necromancer. There are some Wood tropes, mainly in the goofy witch plot and setting, but it’s mostly a run of the mill, patience testing skin flick. I watched the “cool” version recently put out by Alpha Blue Archives, and while it looked pretty good, it’s hard to recommend. The disc included the XXX inserts as a “bonus” (along with 3 other shorts that all look terrible), I don’t see the film improving by being the “hot” version. It’s a shame, plot wise it sounds like it could have been good, and I think this is the last film he directed. It’s based on a book he wrote, I can’t imaging that book. I might have to track it down since there is barely any plot in this movie.

265 10-04 Runaway Nightmare (1982) 2.5/5
I wanted to like this one more since I bought it blind via the limited edition blu-ray that Vinegar Syndrome had on offer, but I just didn’t. The plot sounds amazing; two worm farmers in Death Valley see some men bury a box in the desert. They dig it up to find a woman inside, and are quickly kidnapped by a female cult who force the two into helping them steal back some platinum that the mob took from them. Pretty great right? The positive for this one is the look. Considering how cheap it was, it looks great and I’m not just talking about the transfer. Shots are set up in such a way, and with the pacing, it really does have a dreamlike quality. Add in the strangeness, shots of a vampire woman, other oddness, and it should of been great. The problem sadly is everything else. It’s acted in a deadpan style, and the two worm farmers are basically presenting the film like an Abbott & Costello meet The Monsters update, and it completely falls flat. The deadpan just feels inept and awkward, which added to the slow pace, just makes the film crawl for eternity with little to no payoff. There’s not even any boobs since this is the directors cut, they included boob inserts from the VHS release that were added in later as a bonus.

I’m going to be going through a bunch of Universal Horror films. If you’ve never seen FRANKENSTEIN, DRACULA, THE WOLFMAN, etc, you really owe it to yourself to get watching them.

That’s it for now, there may be a blog tomorrow before the Doctor Who one on Wednesday, you lucky ducks!

The End

 

Movie A Day! : 248-255 “Sister!”

Right, lot’s of things going on in the ol’ bunker this week. So much that it’s a bit of a jam. Typically I post this MOVIE A DAY! blog on Monday, and I have started posting STAR WHO on Wednesday. Well Wednesday is the first day of October, which means I should post a month end wrap up of the Movie A Day blog on Wednesday.  I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO!! I can’t post two blogs in one day! Also, every October I participate in a “Scary Movie Challenge” in which I aim to watch as many horror type films as I can. So count this as a warning that there is going to be a bunch more posts happening around here for the month of October. It’s going to get crazy! Hope you like scary movies!

Here’s what I watched last week.

248 09-22 Days of Wine and Roses (1958) 4/5
This is another live play from TV’s golden age. It stars Cliff Robertson (CHARLY) and Piper Laurie (TWIN PEAKS) as an alcoholic couple trying to survive. It’s preachy and pro-alcoholics anonymous, but it’s also startlingly brutal and uncomfortable to sit through. Robertson and Laurie absolutely nail their roles, and that it was performed live on television just adds to the energy. Director John Frankenheimer by this point has mastered live TV, and the episode is pretty much flawless technically. This is the last show in the Criterion Collections THE GOLDEN AGE OF TELEVISION set, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

249 09-25 Gideon’s Day (1958) 4/5
This one stars the great Jack Hawkins (BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI) as Gideon, inspector for Scotland Yard. Considered to be a “B” picture for director John Ford, and a throwaway, it’s a hell of a film. The plot is dizzying in all it’s threads, with a sex murder, payroll theft and police corruption all playing for Gideon’s time, not to mention trying to wrap it all up in time to bring home some salmon for dinner before seeing his daughter play violin in concert. So there’s a hell of a lot going on, and Ford keeps it all moving while still adding some of the touches he’s known for with the family dynamic and humour. So for a throwaway, it ends up being one of my favourites of his. Sure, it’s no THE SEARCHERS, but it’s far from forgettable.

250 09-26 12 Years A Slave (2013) 3.5/5
It wasn’t planned, but for film number 250 I ended up watching last years best picture winner! It’s good. The movie I mean. I liked it. Steve McQueen makes good movies. The one’s I’ve seen anyway, like HUNGER. This one was good too. Performances were all top notch, and it was certainly deserving of all it’s awards. I didn’t love it though. The problem I have with it, and with films like it that deal with subjects like slavery or the holocaust or other equally horrible issues is that they concentrate on being sad. You’re constantly seeing awful things, and practically being told “isn’t it awful? Isn’t it sad how awful people were?” And it is awful and sad that people were like that and that it happened. And that’s MY problem with the film. It’s sad that it happened, but absolutely infuriating that it’s STILL happening in parts of the world, and the inherent racism that existed to allow it to happen is still a huge problem in western culture. Films like 12 YEARS A SLAVE ignore that, and I think that’s why I prefer films like DJANGO UNCHAINED which deals with the anger and rage of prejudice in a cathartic way. Wait, you didn’t think Tarantino’s DJANGO was a period picture about slavery, did you?

251 09-26 A Clockwork Blue (1972) 2/5
So based on the title you would think this is a dirty version of A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. And like me you would be WRONG! It has nothing at all to do with Kubrick’s film, and it’s a shame since it would of been a thousand times better. This one is about two horrendous racial stereotypes, one black, one Jewish, arriving in heaven. The black one, using a watermelon television, is able to spy on the Jewish guys great great great grandson or whatever and mess with his life. The grandson gets his hand on a time travelling watch, and that finally sets the stage for a bunch of comedic softcore vignettes. The humour all falls completely flat, and while the women are great looking (including adult legend Rene Bond), which is surprising based on the cheepnis of this, it’s all played like a shitty Russ Meyers film and just annoys you. So it’s basically a racist, piss-poor Russ Meyer knock off that’s not really worth seeing. I watched the limited edition blu-ray by Vinegar Syndrome that features the hardcore version, and a minute or so of harcore inserts doesn’t help the film at all.

252 09-27 The Monuments Men (2014) 3/5
George Clooney’s latest is typically solid. A great cast featuring Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman and others all show up and do some good work. The plot, about a group of art experts tasked to help save works of art during WW2 is both a true story and a good one for a film. It was fun to watch, I don’t know why I didn’t like it more. There’s something awkward about it. It’s kind of “hip” like the OCEANS 11 series, and at the same time it tries to be emotionally heavy like a more serious war or Oscar bait film. Huh, I guess I do know why I didn’t like it more after all! It feels like a film “done by the numbers” so even though it’s a first time viewing, it felt over familiar. I’d rather watch a proper documentary on the real Monuments Men instead.

253 09-27 The Undergraduate (1971) 1.5/5
This is one of those early hardcore porn films that’s disguised as an educational picture as a way to skirt obscenity laws. A class of university students are taking an essay test on sex and you get to watch their answers in weirdly cut porn vignettes. The narration is weird enough to kind of be entertaining, but at just over an hour even the weirdest bits (like the Professor advising the students to read Penthouse Magazine) aren’t enough to hold your interest. I picked it up since Ed Wood Jr. (GLEN OR GLENDA) has a writing credit on it, but you would never know it from watching since all his crappy but awesome trademarks are absent.

254 09-28 Ward Sex (1971) 1/5

This one is one of two or three additional films included on the THE UNDERGRADUATE dvd and it’s just completely artless porno garbage that barely qualifies as a smoker. The disc is put out by Alpha Blue Archives. I found out after the fact that they are basically bootleggers, and that quality shows on this disc. Thankfully I only bought this one and one other Ed Wood Jr. disc so they won’t ever see anymore of my money.

255 09-28 Ms.45 (1981) 4.5/5
Abel Ferrara’s cult film keeps getting better every time I watch it. It’s total sleaze, the story of a mute seamstress who gets attacked and raped twice in one day heads out on a DEATH WISH type vigilante spree against the men of New York. What’s so interesting is that it’s got a huge pro-feminism bent that is completely clouded due to being written and directed by men. So while it seems to be about female empowerment, it’s cloudy as hell and hard to tell if it’s a warning to men to change their way, or a warning to men to watch out for feminists. All that said, it’s fascinating to watch, and 17 year old Zoe Lund is absolutely incredible in the lead. She completely carries the film and further blurs the empowerment/exploitation lines. All the gender politics aside, it’s at it’s more base a kick ass vengeance film, and one of Ferrara’s best. It’s a shame that Lund didn’t do more, but her later collaboration with Ferrara, the script for his fantastic THE BAD LIEUTENANT, solidifies her place as one of the great missed opportunities in film. Sad. Oh yeah, I revisited this one via the new blu-ray from Alamo Drafthouse, and it’s worth every single one of your pennies.

So there it is. Not a bad bunch of films, and quite a few mainstream ones for once. That said, I can’t stop thinking about Ms .45. One hell of a picture, that one!

Now to figure out how to wrap up my blogging week. Until next time.

The End