Movie A Day!: Pazuzu Nurses

So the first half of the month has wiped me out. Mum was in hospital for most of it, getting out mid this week. Christmas is cancelled while she recovers, which I’m okay with since I lost my Christmas spirit when I lost my marriage years ago.

Lots of variety this post, but be warned, my Vinegar Syndrome package arrived so it’s filthy and tawdry as well.

Pick-up Poster
462 12/11 Pazuzu (Pick-up) (1975) 3.5/5   A couple of hippy chicks get picked up by a guy in a mobile home, they stuck in the everglades and things get weird. This one is a bit of a mess, but it plays like a weird dream that is utterly captivating.

Orgy at Lil's Place Poster
463 12/11 Orgy At Lil’s Place (1963) 3/5   An old school sexploitation about a girl that heads to New York for fame and fortune and gets hooked up in some sleazy modelling. It’s incredibly chaste by today’s standards and one of those cheapies with a narration. It ends up remarkably charming.

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464 12/12 Two Seconds (1932) 3.5/5   Two seconds is the time the brain remains alive after getting the big jolt in the electric chair and it’s all the time the brain needs to recant Edward G. Robinsons terrible life. Ruined by a woman, Robinson is fantastic in this one, a twisted ball of torn nerves. Them 30’s big city dames were RUTHLESS! Eddy didn’t stand a chance, and you owe it to yourself to check this one out.

The Confession Tapes Poster
465 12/12 The Confession Tapes (2017) 3.5/5  A Netflix series of documentaries on cases where confessions in criminal cases appear to have been coerced as opposed to freely given, resulting in innocents being convicted. The opening two on an RCMP case was an eye opener for this Canadian, but all of them are disturbing for different reasons. Worth a look.

Seeds Poster
466 12/13 Seeds (1968) 3.5/5   I’m new to Andy Milligan, mostly new anyway. This one is restored to its original cut by the fine folks at Vinegar Syndrome and it’s an eye opener. What starts as a melodrama with an alcoholic matriarch having a fit that her families coming over for Christmas rolls into a bonkers exposure of the incestuous relationships and demons come out. It’s played at a fever pitch that rolls into horror and is absolutely captivating.

Vapors Poster
467 12/13 Vapors (1965) 4/5   This is the short film debut from Andy Milligan and it’s incredibly wonderful. A gentleman goes to the St. Marks Baths for companionship. It should be tawdry, but instead it’s remarkably tender and heartfelt, more about loneliness than gay sex, and frankly an eye opening progressive work. The Seeds/Vapors blu-ray from Vinegar Syndrome is a limited edition, so seek it out.

The Breaking Point Poster
468 12/14 The Breaking Point (1950) 4/5   The great John Garfield takes the lead as a boat captain down on his luck who takes a couple of dodgy jobs to pay the bills. Tight noir gets a little fat in the last half but is so damn good you can easily forgive it. Garfield is mesmerizing and the rest of the cast hold its own. Add in some progressing for the time racial casting and this one is all win.

Ice Cream Man Poster
469 12/14 Ice Cream Man (1995) 2/5   Competent but ultimately dull horror comedy about a killer Ice Cream Man! Clint Howard steals the film as the ice cream man, but it’s not enough. The film isn’t nasty or funny enough to elevate it from the cheap-o direct to video slum it wallows in.

Zodiac Poster
470 12/16 Zodiac (2007) 5/5   Hard to believe that this one is ten years old now. I think it’s David Fincher’s best work. The true story of the Zodiac killing that left San Francisco in fear, it’s dead on with the facts as laid out by Robert Graysmith in his classic book. What sets this apart is how deep it goes, and becomes a study on obsession as much as a crime procedural. Doing so shows the impact of crime touches more than the victims. A must see for crime fans.

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478 12/16 Nasty Nurses (1984) 2.5/5   Adult feature starring Herschel Savage as the lead surgeon of a small hospital finding his life spiralling with his cheating and hospital budgets going out of control. Typically hospital set porn is a lame excuse for nurse outfits and comedy. This one at least tries to have more going on, but doesn’t fully succeed despite the competent cast and production value.

 

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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.

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! 041-45: Deceptive Practice

A real mixed bag in this post. Regional sleaze, bikers, magic, and two very different noirs. Movies are fun guys!


041 02-01 Murder on the Emerald Sea (1973) 3/5
Vinegar Syndrome do it again, digging out a previously thought lost film, this time presented on an extremely limited edition DVD. Someone is killing the winners of the “Artists & Models” ball on the fancy cruise ship Emerald Seas, so a detective gets rooked into going undercover in drag to solve the mystery. This one might be one of the campiest films I’ve seen in a long time, and while it’s certainly cheap and goofy, it was pretty funny. Plus they somehow got Henny “Take my wife, please!” Youngman and Johnny “Tarzan” Weissmuller to cameo in it. Maybe if you’re lucky, VS will stream it on there streaming application when it goes live, see last blog for details.


042 02-02 Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay (2012) 4/5
Ricky Jay is arguably the best card magician living today. Most will probably recognize him from his acting career in such films as BOOGIE NIGHTS and the TV series DEADWOOD. I’m a huge fan, and as such I really enjoyed this documentary. It follows his path and career in magic. He’s cagey about personal details, says he left his family when he was seventeen but never explains the details. Instead he goes into the lives and experiences with the magicians he learned from. Lots of great clips, card tricks that will melt your brain in ways that flashy magicians like David Copperfield and even my beloved Penn & Teller never do. So it gets a recommend from me both as a look at Ricky Jay, and as a history of card magic.


043 02-05 The Stranger (1946) 4/5
Orson Welles directs this one, playing a Nazi war criminal hiding in a small American town, with with war crimes special agent Edward G. Robinson hot on his heels. This one is a top notch noir and Welles’ direction is stunning. Even basic set-ups are dazzling in composition. Add in a dead on cast (Loretta Young more than holds her own as Welles’ unknowing wife) and a tight script and this is one hell of a film. The only problem with it is that it slipped into public domain, so it’s tricky to find a copy that does the cinematography justice. The version I watched was shit transfer wise, but it’s such a damned fine film that you can look past it. I’ll have to track down a better copy.


044 02-06 Scarlet Street (1945) 4/5
Edward G Robinson is at his meekest in this noir directed by the great Fritz Lang. He plays a schlubby, lovesick clerk who runs into a girl one night, and ends up getting manipulated in typical Femme Fatale fashion. Lang pulls no punched, the film is desperate from the start and the fall seems never ending. One of the more emotionally brutal noirs you’ll see.


045 02-07 Angels From Hell (1968) 3/5
Pretty much a lost genre now, the biker picture. This one was quite fun though. A guy comes back to town, gets his bike gang back together and start hell raising all over town. It’s funny that they try to portray the gang sympathetically as people who just want to their own thing without hassle from society, man, a be free! The problem is, they’re a bunch of assholes. so you never really feel sorry for the guy as he tries to keep his gang together and what not. Still fun though.

It was interesting watching these. Edward G. Robinson was considered a leading man. I couldn’t imagine someone looking like he does being a leading man these days. Times sure have changed, we’re much more superficial right? I think the closest actor we have to him would be Paul Giamatti, who is about hundred times better looking, but rarely gets leading parts despite being amazing in everything he does.

A friendly reminder, it would be cool if you could kick some bucks to the Vinegar Syndrome crowdfunder I talked about last time since they are in their final week.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/vinegarsyndrome-tv-instant-digital-exploitation/