Movie A Day! 011-020

So in typical fashion during the holidays, some dumb family stuff went down. I nearly made it through unscathed, but New Years day, people decided to get shitty for all the wrong reasons. I wont get into details since none of it really directly effects me, but it made me realize that I hated hearing the drama and I don’t really need to hear it. Which got me thinking about social media. Do I really need to be plugged into Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and whatever else all day and all night long via my cellphone? Especially since I spend all day on a PC at work, and more than a fair share at home. So I decided to pull the plug on social media on my cell phone. So when I’m away from the computer, I am away from the “noise”. Sounds good right?

It sucks. Twitter is pretty much “The News” now, if you follow the right feeds. I’m so use to being plugged in that my brain is all short circuited by not having all the feeds at my finger tips, and the convenience of instagram to look at cat pictures, or check out Vice news while standing in a line or on the bus. And this disconnected “What am I Missing?” panic is while still regularly checking in on all of it throughout the day. It’s weird right? This must be what addiction feels like. Have any of you tried cutting the computer cord as far as social media goes?

Movies! (and television specials)

011 01-05 Son Of Dracula (1943) 3/5
Okay, I’m giving this a three out of five which in my ratings means it’s pretty good and I’d probably watch it again. I’m going to watch it again because it’s from the Universal Monster cycle and I’m always watching these films at some point, but it really isn’t that good of a movie. Lon Chaney Jr. get’s a crack at playing a vampire, as he stars as Count Alucard, the son of Dracula. See what they did there? I told you it wasn’t that good of a movie. The thing is, it’s so wonky, it could have been a good movie but the casting stinks. Chaney Jr. is a terrible Dracula, but Universal wanted him to be a “Man of a Thousand Faces” like his old man so he got the push. Frank Craven (don’t worry, there’s no need for you to have heard of him, I had to look him up) as the Doctor that figures things out is so homespun and folksy that it doesn’t help any either. So you get a dopey, miscast vampire picture with a some good ideas (like DRACULA’S DAUGHTER, this one too has a women that ultimately takes control) and some cool effects that is fun but really just doesn’t work. So a good “bad” film it ends up being, but certainly not essential.

012 01-06 41st People’s Choice Awards (2015)1.5/5
Stumbled into watching this one. It was boring. A bunch of people I barely recognize from shows I don’t watch got awards. It was hosted by the stars of MOM, some sitcom I’ve never even heard of but one of them is Anna Faris from the SCARY MOVIE series. I like her, but she is a terrible host. Favourite movie was MALEFICENT, so that’s about enough said about this one.

013 01-08 Elvis (The ‘68 Comeback Special) (1968) 5/5
014 01-08 Elvis – 1st Sit Down Show (2004) 4/5
It was The King’s birthday, so we spun this one. The “Comeback Special” has to be one of the most electrifying things to have ever aired on TV. Elvis performs in front of a live audience for the first time in 8 years with everything to prove, and he completely succeeded in relaunching his career after becoming a parody of himself (not for the first time) making those dopey movies. The final performance of “If I Can Dream” completely holds up today message wise. Forget all the jokes, the jumpsuits and stories, and check out the link and see an artist perform with the type of complete conviction rarely seen.

The sit down show is one of many special features on the DVD set. Elvis recorded two “informal jam” sit down performances and two “Stand-up” solo performances in front of studio audiences while recording the special. This is the complete footage of the first sit-down show, finding Elvis reunited with DJ Fontana and Scotty Moore who he performed and recorded with in 1956. It’s raw, it’s messy, and it’s staggering to see Elvis stumble over stories and then effortlessly turn it on and nail a song.

015 01-09 The Raid 2 (2014) 4.5/5
So how do you top one of the best action films ever made? You don’t, you go “The Godfather Part II” route and create a film with more depth. It shouldn’t work in the action genre, but fuck me, these guys managed to add a twisty turny, noirish gangland plot without compromising all the kickassery that you can find in the first film. It’s pretty much the perfect martial arts movie and highly recommended.

016 01-10 August: Osage County (2013) 3/5
This one kept getting trailered at the start of blu-rays (new word alert! When a trailer for a film is constantly being shoved at the start of a DVD/Bluray, it’s getting “Trailered”. Someone write Webster!) and got me interested enough that I decided if I ever saw it on sale cheap I would pick it up. Mainly due to being a long time fan of Juliette Lewis. Anyway, it popped up for $5, which is as cheap as it gets these days. It’s good. It’s a southern drama based on a play that manages to not feel too much like a play while you watch it. It’s rather soapy and melodramatic, but everyone is really good in it, and I’m biased to think Lewis was really good in a smaller but complicated role as the little sister. Oh, it’s about a bunch of sisters reuniting with their bitch mum over a family tragedy. Juliette Lewis plays the little sister. Did I mention Juliette Lewis was in this? It was good and fan fave Benedict Cumberbatch is in it too.

017 01-11 Doctor Who S02E01-3 Planet of Giants (1964) 2.5/5
Since Who is so stand alone in it’s stories, and the BBC actually sell them as separate films instead of seasons, I figured I might as well count the classic Who as their own thing. This is the season 2 opener, and it was ambitious in scope but just didn’t work. The TARDIS futzes while landing on contemporary earth causing it and it’s passengers to arrive about ant size. This sets off a plot about someone who’s developed an insecticide that is capable of killing all insects. It’s just too much of a collision of two different plots and just never works.

Tina Fey, Margaret Cho, and Amy Poehler.

018 01-11 72nd Golden Globes (2015) 3/5
The only reason to watch this is for Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. They nailed the opening like no others have nailed an award show opening before. Sadly, as the show dragged on, they appeared less and less which made the show less fun to watch.

019 01-12 The Invisible Man’s Revenge (1944) 3/5
Yup, still watching the old Universal Horror films. Down to one a week, they’ve taken the place of my beloved Zatoichi. This one makes zero sense as far as the Invisible Man series goes since while the Invisible Man has the name “Griffin” like his predecessors, he is no scientist and ends up getting invisibility via a mad doctor played by John Carradine. If you can get past that, it’s pretty damned good. Griffin was ripped off, possibly thought killed by partners in a diamond mine deal gone wrong. It’s years later and he’s recovered his memory, and is looking for his cut. A very noirish plot for a horror film, that’s balanced by some really wonky comedic elements and the best special effects yet. Sadly, this is the last of the Invisible Man cycle, he’ll only show up on comedy bits now, which we’ll get to eventually.

020 01-13 Charlie Brooker’s 2014 Wipe (2014) 3/5
Pretty self explanatory this one. Charlie takes a look at the news year that was 2014. If you don’t know who Charlie is (if you’re outside of the UK you probably don’t, I learned of him from The Farwall.) you should acquaint yourself with his work since he’s arguably doing some of the best TV, period. Anyway, this one wasn’t as funny as past years, and frankly, that it was funny at all is a miracle when you consider the constant horrors that seemed to be coming weekly last year. So it’s worth a watch, plus Shitpeas and Chunk are back and brilliant, and the only misstep is the totally shit song he ends it with.

There it is. Instead of posting every Monday I thought I’d post every ten films. Ten seems too long though so I think I’ll do it every 5 films. Thoughts?

Movie A Day! : 204-213 “Big Hunka Love”

Two posts in one week! You lucky lucks! This one catches up the rest of the films I watched during the last week when I wasn’t posting due to the cloud of moodiness. I ended up watching quite a bit due to throwing my back out and being barely able to walk around by the time I got home from work. Nothing enables movie watching like sickness or physical pain. I mean, I’d rather lay about and watch movies anyway. When you’re healthy and watching movies, you’re lazy. If you’re sick though, you’re getting better and doing the right thing. Let’s all get incurable but non-fatal diseases so we can be empowered to watch more movies!

https://i0.wp.com/www.elvis-history-blog.com/images/ThatsTheWayPoster.jpg

204 08-17 Elvis : That’s the Way It Is (Special Edition) (2001) 3.5/5
This is a concert film documenting Elvis’s return to live performances via his opening week in Las Vegas. It’s great. Elvis is a bundle of nerves, and the energy is contagious when he gets going. His voice is fantastic and he really does look like a King. You could argue that he is at his peak here, from here on it’s all a slide downhill into drugs and poor health. This version concentrates more on performance and cuts a bunch of the interview type material that made the original film from 1970 fun but severely dated. On another note, every poster for this sucked. Look at that fucking outfit, why not show him in the dazzling white suit he’s seen in the film in?

https://russonabus.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/3d0f3-elvis-thats-the-800-75.jpg

See? Already a better picture for the poster despite the doof on bass behind him.

https://i0.wp.com/ia.media-imdb.com/images/M/MV5BMTczNTY3OTE0Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTAyODIyMTE@._V1_SY317_CR6,0,214,317_AL_.jpg

205 08-18 Zatoichi’s Pilgrimage (1966) 3.5/5
This one finds Zatoichi again grappling with the morality of killing hundreds (thousands?) of men, so he decides to begin a pilgrimage to the 81 temples to find enlightenment. Guess how it goes? Another fantastic edition, that also featured one of the best scenes yet of his swordsmanship in the opening.

https://i1.wp.com/deneroff.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/windowslivewriterlifemagazinephotosonline-e87cno-time-for-sergeants-on-broadway-thumb.jpg

206 08-19 No Time for Sergeants (1955) 4/5
Based on the introduction, this was Andy Griffith’s debut on live television (via the United States Steel Hour), and his first experience acting in a play. It’s an absolutely amazing performance, and you can literally see his star being born. From here he would move on to winning a Tony for the Broadway adaptation, then his TV series. The play itself is hilarious, and a rare example of comedy being performed on live television as opposed to the typical dramas.

https://i2.wp.com/cineplex.media.baselineresearch.com/images/355664/355664_full.jpg

207 08-20 A Brief History of Time (1991) 4/5
Errol Morris is a master of the documentary, and this one is no exception. Spending equal time with Stephen Hawking’s biography and theory explanation, it manages to never be boring and surprisingly accessible to people like me whose brain starts to sing “LA LA LA LAAAA”  when physics are being explained. I guess the only knock you can have against the film now is that it’s twenty plus years out of date, and I think the theory presented has been disproved, or changed or whatever happens with the science. Fucking science, always changing. They’re redoing Cosmos now! Fucking kids and their new science!

https://i2.wp.com/www.fulltv.com.ar/images/peliculas/este-es-elvis.jpg

208 08-22 This Is Elvis (Extended Video Version) (1981) 4/5
Elvis week continues! This one is a straight up documentary detailing his life. The good is that it features a whole bunch of clips of Elvis, mostly of song performances. The bad is that they have actors recreating parts of his life, and a guy narrating the film as Elvis in the first person but kind of from the afterlife. It makes it unnecessarily weird, especially the opening scenes of his last night alive in Graceland. That said, you do get a good picture of his life, and they don’t hold back on the negatives either. If all you know is “Fat Elvis” of popular culture, you owe it to yourself to see some of this stuff to see why he was the King. Plus theirs priceless footage of him stoned out of his skull, kicking members of his Memphis Mafia in the nuts during a karate demo. Seriously, MUST SEE STUFF!

https://i0.wp.com/img18.imageshack.us/img18/8302/dt1e.jpg

209 08-23 The Dragon Tamers (1975) 3/5
At first glance, this one is a typical Kung-Fu picture about some guy wanting to challenge some other guy to see who’s the better fighter and getting mixed up in some school clash. What separates this one though, is it’s the second picture directed by John Woo. Being a huge fan of THE KILLER and HARD BOILED, two films that I would put at the top of any “Best Of” list, it was fun to see Woo working in the Golden Harvest trenches. Even at this point you can see his style coming to form, with slow motion and other style tricks. The plot too, with heavy emphasis on loyalty and friendship fit solidly into the Woo cannon. The opening girl fight in the mud though, not so much, that bit seems more at home in a women in prison film. Which isn’t a bad thing.

Machete Kills Movie Poster

210 08-23 Machete Kills (2013) 3/5
I liked this one much more than I thought I would. Don’t get me wrong, I obviously love trash, and I’m a big fan of Robert Rodriguez and his homemade films. It’s more of a case of just how good can the second film of a series based off a fake trailer be? Ends up nearly as good as the unlikely first film. I think it would of played better a smidge shorter on a double bill, which really is how these films should be seen but never well since GRINDHOUSE shit the bed at the box office. Shame on all of you who skipped seeing that one in the theaters. Anyway, it’s big, it’s stupid and it leaves a big smile on your face. I really hope they do the MACHETE KILLS IN SPACE movie, that one looks amazing.

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8067/8251693716_89655b3c6d.jpg

211 08-23 Candy Goes To Hollywood (1979) 3/5
This is the sequel to THE EROTIC ADVENTURES OF CANDY, and is the better film. Thora Birch’s mom Carol Connors is back in the lead role, this time heading to Hollywood where she gets hooked up with a sleaze-bag agent played by John Leslie who sends her out to numerous shows to get taken advantage off. The spoofs of the Tonight Show and The Gong Show are pretty fun, and John Leslie is actually a really good actor who could of had a career outside of porn. The real cult draw, and the reason why I had seen this one previously, is the appearance of pre-Plasmatics punk legend Wendy O. Williams shooting ping pong balls out of her pussy during the Gong Show spoof. So obviously this one is on the very top of all of your “Must See” lists. Another winner, double feature from Vinegar Syndrome.

https://russonabus.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/37b33-hippieposter.jpg

212 08-24 An American Hippie in Israel (1972) 2/5
This one is considered a cult classic, but it left me completely flat. It’s what the title says, an American hippie arrives in Israel and starts preaching his hippie horseshit. It’s funny and of it’s time, but it’s more BAD bad then fun bad, with constant preaching about “The Man” and the evils of war. It just never worked. I picked it up since the company that did the blu-ray, Grindhouse Releasing have been dead solid in the past. Oh well, you can’t like everything.

https://i1.wp.com/www.jackasscritics.com/images/movies/life_aquatic_01.jpg

213 08-24 The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou (2004) 4/5
More Wes Anderson guys! I’m not going to get too into it other than to say that once again I was surprised at how good it was. It’s such a goofy premise, some guy hunting down a shark that killed his first mate, but the cast is so good, and the script so tight, and Bill Murray so perfect that I just loved the shit out this one.

There it is! What’s left to say? I’m really enjoying the Wes Anderson films on the second go round. Elvis is awesome and who doesn’t love ping-pong? This really is the greatest blog, you should tell all your friends to follow me. Maybe I’ll get a sponsor? That’s how you get rich on the internet right? I mean, my webcam shows aren’t doing anything, this is all I got!

 

The End