Movie A Day!: The Story of Running

Late posting this one despite not getting any movies in since the weekend. Put my back out and any sitting and typing was just not going to happen. Finally caught up today.

End of November and I hit 450 titles. Not bad.

Dzieje grzechu Poster
440 11/22 The Story Of Sin (1975) 3/5   Walerian Borowczyk follows up Immoral Tales and the still shocking The Beast with this one, a quieter picture about a young woman who falls for a man, and keeps falling, pretty much out of society. While not as explicit as the previous two films, the look of this one is gorgeous and despite not finding it the most exciting film pacing wise, I have to admit it’s sticking with me. I’ll be revisiting it in the future.

Possessed Poster
441 11/23 Possessed (1947) 4/5   Joan Crawford takes the lead in another cracking noir, this one playing almost like a horror film. Crawford plays a woman obsessively in love with a man who is not in love with her in return. It feels a bit against type for Crawford, seeing her playing a weaker role compared to the man eaters she is typically known for, she’s fantastic. This one is well worth your time.

Stranger on the Third Floor Poster
442 11/24 Stranger On The Third Floor (1940) 3.5/5   A young reporter is the prime witness at a murder trial, and has doubts about his testimony that leads to a conviction. Then Peter Lorre shows up. This one was a tight film noir dripping with paranoia and suspense. Lorre doesn’t get much to do, but steals his scenes anyway, but the real treat is how good John McGuire and Margaret Tallichet are who are the actual leads in the film. I’m not familiar with them, but they carry film. Pack in a ton of style with the direction and this one is short, sweet and suspenseful fun.

Next up, a series of short films from Gorman  Bechard, the director of Psychos In Love and found on the Vinegar Syndrome Blu-ray.

443 11/25 The Only Take (1985) 2/5   Short film from that is more of a one joke sketch. It is what it is. To tell anymore would ruin the joke.

444 11/25 Bartholemew (1982) 2/5   A short about a man having a breakdown due to an overbearing mother. Nothing too exceptional.

445 11/25 Objects in the Mirror Appear Further Than They Appear (2001) 3/5   Decent short that tells the story (all told in narration) of a prostitute that runs into trouble. Told mostly in stills, it’s creative and works.

Next up, the first animated short films from Walerian borowcyzk and found on the Arrow Academy Blu-ray of Story of Sin.

446 11/25 Once Upon A Time (1957) 3.5/5   A really fun, colourful and creative cut-up animated short from Walerian Borowcyzk.

447 11/25 Dom (1959) 3/5   More experimental and surreal cut-up short than Once Upon A Time, it’s a huge step forward for Borowcyzk.

448 11/25 School (1958) 2.5/5   This one features a soldier all filmed and animated from still photographs. It’s impressive but not as full fulfilling as Borowcyzk’s other shorts.

Snowpiercer Poster
449 11/25 Snowpiercer (2013) 4/5   Finally got around to this one and loved. Deals with some big ideas, big ideas that feel like prophecy as each day passes, while maintaining an action hook that never lets up. My second South Korean film watched this year that takes place completely on a train, I never would have guessed I’d be such a fan of this genre.

Long Time Running Poster
450 11/26 Long Time Running (2017) 3.5/5   Documentary following the Tragically Hip on their last tour after Gord Downey was diagnosed with Cancer. It’s good and worth watching but I can’t help but feel there’s a better, longer form documentary to be had to tell their story.

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Movie A Day!: Salome Brain Damage

Only thing worse than the news is family thinking that all the horrible people are correct.

Salome Poster
420 11/06 Salome (1973) 2.5/5   Experimental short film from Clive Barker is just that. Didn’t make any sense but had some nice visuals.

421 11/07 The Forbidden (1978) 2.5/5   Another experimental short film from Clive Barker that is bigger on ideas and image than actually being fun to watch.

The Blue Sextet Poster
422 11/11 Blue Sextet (1971) 2.5/5   Directed by the man who brought us I Drink Your Blood, this one find a group of people meeting up to remember a friend who passed away, only to discover what a total bastard he was. It’s an ambitious softcore film that emphasizes plot but didn’t really hold my attention.

The Keepers Poster
423 11/11 The Keepers (2017) 3/5   A Netflix true crime series about the murder of a nun is actually a disturbing outing of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. It’s easily two episodes too long, and a massive trigger warning to anyone who survived abuse. The death of a nun bit almost seems like a trick to get you to watch.


424 11/11 Kinky Tricks (1977) 3/5   Okay look, this is probably a one-day wonder as far as porno goes, but star Candida Royalle is a firecracker of personality and the short run-time helps to keep it fun. It also delivers “kinky tricks” and is generally lighthearted. For what it is, it’s pretty good, but no must see.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Poster
425 11/12 Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) 2.5/5   I enjoyed this one more the second time but it still relies way too much on nostalgia for the past and what they have done with “The Force” is horrendous. It’s a shame since the new cast is great.

426 11/12 China Lust (1976) 1.5/5   Low rent porno quickie that barely has a plot and no real star power to make it stand out.

Next are a pair of short films from Emiliano Rocha Minter.

Inside Poster
427 11/13 Dentro (Inside) (2013) 2.5/5   A short film that manages to pack in a ton of style into its running time and has a good sense of dread as two people build a mysterious thing in the woods.

428 11/13 Videohome (2014) 3/5   This one feels more like a warm-up to images the director will explore in WE ARE THE FLESH, but manages to be impressive all the same.

The Window Poster
429 11/13 The Window (1949) 4/5   A real spooky film noir about a young boy who witnesses a murder only no one will believe him. The boy is Disney wunderkind Bobby Driscoll who manages to carry the film without ever being annoying. It makes what happened to him in later life all the more tragic. Everyone else is great as well and really makes this one worth checking out.

430 11/13 Listen To The Light: The Making of Brain Damage (2017) 3.5/5   Really well done documentary on the making of the film despite missing the directors input. Can be found on the recent Arrow Blu-ray.

Movie A Day!: Desperate Hellraisers

Another week of film, film fans! Catching up on special features from discs I watched in October, but snuck in a few films.

Desperate Poster
410 11/01 Desperate (1947) 3/5   Better than average noir about a truck driver that gets roped into committing a crime and has to clear his name. Main issue is that lead Steve Brodie is completely overshadowed by heel Raymond Burr, so you find yourself waiting for Burr to show up instead of getting wrapped up in the main story. Still good time though.

Train to Busan Poster
411 11/01 Train To Busan (2016) 4/5   South Korea proves once again that they are one of the best at producing genre movies. If there’s a tired genre, it’s the zombie film. Having a contained outbreak on a literal train is a bit of a stroke of genius, and the film completely delivers not just the action, but enough humanity that you may find yourself tearing up.

Ronin Poster
412 11/03 Ronin (1998) 4/5   It’s a film that’s  completely driven by a MacGuffin, but it’s so well done it’s hard not to love it. The car chases are great, but what really keeps it interesting is the film never feels like it has to give everything away as far as the characters go, as well as the purpose of the plot. Makes for a tight action film and at a level with John Frankenheimer’s other classics.

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413 11/03 The Sinful Pleasures of Reverend Star (1977) 2/5   A cult is using hypnotism to prey on young women in this poverty row porno. Not much to make it stand out.

Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy Poster
414 11/04 Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy (2010) 4/5   Massive, four hour documentary going into the complete Elm Street history and featuring nearly every major person involved. If you’re interested in the history of the series, this one is for you since it’s made for the fans.

The Strange Love of Martha Ivers Poster
415 11/04 The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946) 3.5/5   Film noir about three childhood friends who cross paths as adults. Barbara Stanwyck is Martha, and neither Van Heflin or newcomer Kirk Douglas are a match for her. Stanwyck really is just the best.

Document of the Dead Poster
416 11/04 Definitive Document Of The Dead (2012) 3.5/5   Documentary on George A. Romero. Starts off strong, going pretty deep in the process with Dawn Of The Dead, but starts to wander later on. Still well worth a watch.

Leviathan: The Story of Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser II Poster
417 11/05 Leviathan: The Story of Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser II (2015) 3.5/5   Massively detailed and long documentary on the making of the two films that manages to tell everything you want to know, without the participation of Clive Barker. Which means that despite how packed with info and stories it is, you can’t help but feel like you’re missing something.

Django, Prepare a Coffin Poster
418 11/05 Django Prepare A Coffin (1968) 3/5   I’ve not dived into the Django films, which means I was honestly lost for most of the set up to this film as I’m guessing there’s a presumed familiarity at play with it. Once it got going it ended up being a good but not particularly memorable spaghetti western.

419 11/05 Hell On Earth: The Story of Hellraiser III (2015) 3/5  Significantly shorter documentary by the team that brought you Leviathan. It’s the story of Hellraiser III which sadly never mentions cult porn legend Flame as one of the dancers, but tells you everything else you need to know about the film.

Movie A Day! Snowden Beach-Fu

A full week for this post. Got in some newer films. Caught up on Beach pictures and took in most of Bruce Lee’s catalogue. Very satisfying despite being busy at work and catching another cold that wants to destroy my sinus cavities. Just read that North Korea is taking Trumps tweets as a declaration of war. Here’s hoping I get to have a horror movie challenge in October instead of Fallout 4: The Reality Show.

Here’s everything I watched.


277 09/17 Snowden (2016) 3.5/5   A bio-pic on epic whistle-blower Edward Snowden by Oliver Stone could have been a complete disaster. Stone plays it pretty straight considering the politics and it ends up being really good. On par with the Stone classics at any rate. I am a mark for Stone, jumping on and following his work since Platoon so I could be a little biased. Superb performances make this one a winner (Nicolas Cage in a character role!) It also helps that Stone presents the technical stuff in such a way that simpleton’s like me can understand it. I don’t know enough about the Snowden story to recognize if he’s as much of a perfect hero that Stone seems to be depicting, but the only real issue with this film is that there is simply no way to make computer stuff look exciting. You can juice up the soundtrack and use CGI all you want, but some twat typing on a PC is always going to look like a twat.


278 09/18 The Big Boss (1971) 3/5   Bruce Lee makes his starring debut in this one as a bumpkin that arrives at a slightly better town to work with some relatives. Seems he’s been getting into fighting trouble. Ends up the ice factory he works at is a front for heroin dealings. It’s almost frustrating how long they tease out Lee, I don’t think he throws a punch until nearly halfway through. When he does leap into action, he’s truly amazing. The difference between his style and those of the other actors, it’s apparent he’s the real deal. Which isn’t a knock on the other players. Golden Harvest mainstay James Tien does most of the heavy lifting in the first half, and he’s great. That said, the films a little rough around the edges. Directed by Wei Lo, he also did a few of the Jimmy Wang Yu films I reviewed the last couple of blogs, it’s pretty standard Golden Harvest stuff plotwise and the fights on the whole are no great shakes choreography wise. Lee makes everyone look better, including the direction, and the ample blood doesn’t hurt either to keep you interested. Ends up the minor Lee film is still well worth your time.


279 09/19 Muscle Beach Party (1964) 2.5/5   The second Frankie and Annette surf picture is plain terrible, and better than the first one. It’s terrible because Frankie and Annette are annoying. Frankie is a total douche-bag trying to play it cool and Annette is the most high maintenance girl friend I’ve ever see. It all smacks of Jersey Shore instead of California fun in the sun. It’s better than the last one because of the supporting cast. Don Rickles as a muscle man handler and Buddy Hackett as a countess’s business handler completely steal the movie from the main cast. Throw in a number from Little Stevie Wonder, and you forget how shit Frankie, Annette and their moronic friends are. Dick Dale deserved better.


280 09/20 Surf Party (1964) 2/5   Fox decided to get in on the Frankie and Annette craze by getting Bobby Vinton on a surfboard. The result is even worse than the other pictures. This is despite having actual surf instrumental music, better surfing scenes and an evil surf gang to contend with.


281 09/21 The Unfaithful (1947) 3/5   This one is a well done noir-ish tale about a woman who kills an attacker in self defense… or was it something more? Ann Sheridan stars and shows a quiet dignity in the type of role were actresses usually try to chew the scenery. Add in Lew Ayres as his typically high moral self as the lawyer/friends helping her and it’s a pretty casual film. It makes for a tight thriller and serviceable thriller.


282 09/22 Fist of Fury (The Chinese Connection) (1972) 4/5   The first great Bruce Lee picture finds the star returning to China to attend his Master’s funeral only to get mixed up in a feud with the Japanese government and systematic racism. Lee is simply fantastic in this one, starting with an epic fight at a rival Dojo to ever escalating fights throughout. Watch it.


283 09/23 Way Of The Dragon (Return of the Dragon) (1972) 4.5/5   For my money, this is the best picture Bruce Lee did, and one of the best Kung Fu films ever made. Lee steps in to write and direct as well as choreograph the fights and it all shows. Surprisingly, the first 20 minutes are played as a comedy, with Lee himself being the brunt of a series of what are essentially fart jokes. It all helps to add to the fights, and not a single scene is wasted. The climax against Chuck Norris is a classic and it all holds up perfectly.


284 09/24 X-Men Apocalypse (2016) 2.5/5   My rating feels low since when this is good, it’s really good. I just found it hard to connect to. Too much CGI spectacle distracted from this one. Which is a shame since the entire cast in this are great in every way. The constant need to up the ante in every superhero film is starting to kill the genre.


285 09/24 Enter The Dragon (1973) 4/5   Lee made all his movies in a two year period, which is insane. This one was his one Hollywood co-production, and it shows in its slickness. It gives Bruce a chance to be a bit more James Bond than he has been, and the fights for the most part are pretty good depending on who’s fighting. It reaches too high and is saddled with some non-martial artists that while they are made to look mostly good, just can’t compete against Lee and it shows. Despite that, still a fine action picture.

Movie A Day!: Kung Fu Scoundrels

I read this earlier today. Read it.

https://www.theguardian.com/global/2017/sep/17/choosing-to-be-on-your-own

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: DOA Hara-Kiri

So the last week completely got away from me which is why this is so late in posting. I’m rushing this one, expect more spelling and grammar mistakes than usual.

I went on a Asian film kick aside from the usual noir films, I think this is going to continue for a bit so you’ve been warned on what to expect in the coming weeks.


232 07/23 High Wall (1947) 3/5   A man comes back from the war and believes he has killed his wife in this noir. A psychological thriller with Robert Taylor as the damaged soldier and Audrey Totter as the psychologist treating him to see if he’s fit to stand trial, this one is pretty good though I found the pacing a bit off.


233 07/25 Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow (1959) 2/5   I can’t believe I watched this one a second time. It’s not a good movie, basically a low rent teen picture with bad rock ‘n’ roll and the only interesting bit is the reuse of monsters from other AIP pictures. And the the tall in glasses, who I shall ever love.


234 07/25 Dead Or Alive (1999) 3.5/5   Takashi Miike’s yakuza cult hit starts off with one of the most glorious pre-credit sequences of sex and violence you’ll ever see. IT never really settles down either. This one features a Chinese gang and a Japanese cop both after the same Yakuza group. I have to admit, I found it a bit confusing, which I’m chalking up more to my horrid and exhausting work week as opposed to a problem with the film. Well worth checking out since it’s absolutely bonkers.


235 07/26 The Naked City (1948) 3/5   A really tight police procedural noir directed by the great Jules Dassin goes DEEP into investigating a murder of a girl. Like most noir, it’s best to go in cold. I found this one a little off, maybe partly to shooting on location in New York working against it instead of for it making for some dodgy sound design? That said, it is damned fine.


236 07/27 Dead Or Alive 2: Birds (2000) 3.5/5   This one features the stars of the previous film playing mostly different roles. Two hitman get end up on the same job and the film turns into a nostalgic look at family and youth. Which conflicts with the Yakuza stuff, and they grow wings… and I have to admit I was a bit lost with this one too but I liked it.


237 07/28 He Ran All The Way (1951) 3.5/5   Super tight noir starring John Garfield as a payroll robber where everything went pear shaped so he’s holed up with a family waiting for the heat to cool down. Garfield is outstanding in this one as a sweaty, paranoid mess and Shelly Winters holds her own as the wounded girl who gets sucked into caring for him. This one pretty much defines noir tropes and is recommended. Also worth noting, both Garfield and writer Dalton Trumbo were blacklisted in Hollywood at the time, being investigated by HUAC for communism. This would be Garfields last picture, he would die from a heart attack afterwards, his life in shambles from the investigation. History is fun!


238 07/29 Suicide Squad (Extended Edition) (2016) 3/5   Finally caught up with this one. It’s not a bad as everyone was letting on. I mean, it’s not a classic but as far as these superhero things go these days, they’re all pretty much the same. This one managed to take itself a bit serious and be goofy at the same time. The soundtrack didn’t help. The producers also realized the only interesting thing early on, so it’s basically a Harley Quinn movie and Margot Robbie steals the picture. That said, it’s still a bit of a plodding mess, but not a total disaster. This is the only version I watched so I can’t compare it to the theatrical though I’m guessing some weird plot things are do to stuff being added. Who cares, superheros fuck shit up. That’s all that really needs to happen.


239 07/29 Dead Or Alive 3: Final (2002) 3.5/5   The stars of the first two films return in this one, and the series goes back to being a bit bonkers like the first one. This one takes place in the future and deals with Replicants. The type of Replicants you would find in Blade Runner. It’s all a bit cheeky, but it works and ends up being a pretty strong film in its own right. It’s interesting the Miike has done two trilogies now that share cast but not narrative. Good stuff.


240 07/30 Star Trek Original Series Season 2 (1968) 4/5   I’ve been watching this one off and on for three years now so I don’t have any deep thoughts to hit you with. It’s a great season, with many iconic episodes like Amok Time. Mirror Mirror, The Trouble With Tribbles, the only real downer ep was the season finale Assignment:Earth which is actually a backdoor pilot and not very interesting. Otherwise the series holds up just fine and is worth a watch.


241 07/30 Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai (2011) 4/5   After watching two trilogies of Takashi Miike, I figured I might as will give this one a go too since it’s been on my shelf. You would think that someone who is so modern and genre defying with Yakuza pictures would be out of step with a period drama but you would be wrong. Miike dials everything back in this one, a story of a Samurai who arrives at an influential house to commit suicide, and it makes for a scathing look at Japanese caste system and history while focusing on more familiar themes like an outsiders family. Great stuff.

Lets take a moment to be thankful for that tall nerdy girl with the glasses, whomever she may be. I hope she had a fulfilled life, as I do you.

Movie A Day: Secrets Of The Triad Women Ups

Moving into the third week of Summer Cold and now trying not to spiral into depression over it. It’s been tough, I’m covering the warehouse at work, it’s tough when you can’t breath. Anyway, movies!

223 07/16 Secrets from Another Place: Creating Twin Peaks (2007) 3.5/5   A really well done documentary on the making of the TV series. Talks to pretty near everyone that should have been in it, with the exception of David Lynch which isn’t much of a surprise.


224 07/17 The Two Mrs. Carrolls (1947) 4/5   Humphrey Bogart stars as an painter who may be poisoning his wives for inspiration. Bogart is fantastic in this one, and Barbara Stanwyck more than holds her own opposite him. She plays an absolutely lovely woman, which only seems strange when you’ve seen her in dozens of pre-code films playing gloriously manipulative bitches. Man, I love Stanwyck. Anyway, this one is pretty great and worth your time.  


225 07/18 Hail The Conquering Hero (1944) 4/5   Preston Sturges nails another movie. This one about a small town boy who flunks out of the Marines, but ends up being hailed a hero against his will upon his return. Every joke lands, the political commentary is razor sharp and holds up, star Eddie Bracken is perfect in the bewildered lead and I fell in love with Ella Rains. What more can you ask for in a movie?


226 07/18 Shinjuku Triad Society (1995) 4/5   You might think an early Takashi Miike Yakuza picture would be a bit run of the mill and you would be wrong. Really wrong. This one is as bonkers as his more well known films, only playing with Yakuza tropes. Basic plot is the old standard where a cop’s brother has started working with a gang specializing in organ harvesting. There’s more than that going on. The first in a trilogy, I’m hoping the others are as good.


227 07/19 The Clock (1945) 2.5/5   Judy Garland gets a serious non-musical role in this one, starring as a secretary in New York who stumbles into soldier on leave before shipping out. It’s basically like the Before Sunrise series, with the two wandering around falling in love except it’s pretty near charmless and there’s too many bits. A milk delivery scene goes on way too long. I found Robert Walker as the soldier annoying and none of it really worked for me.


228 07/19 Rainy Dog (1997) 3.5/5   The second film in the Black Triad Trilogy has no narrative connections to the first film. This one deals with a Japanese hitman stranded in Taiwan who discovers that he has a child. There is zero sentimentality to this one, it’s got a really bitter feel to it and while not as gleefully bonkers as the first film, this one manages to stick with you.


229 07/21 The Women (1939) 3/5   The most striking thing about this film should be that there are zero men featured in it. I don’t believe you see a single male the whole time, you certainly never hear them. That said, the most striking thing ends up being the shocking array of mysterious hats the leads all wear. The other striking thing is Joan Crawford is almost a bit role but she manages to steal the entire film. Which is saying something considering the strong cast. (I’m also still in love with Paulette Goddard.)


230 07/21 Ley Lines (1999) 3.5/5   Final film in Takashi Miike’s Black Triad Trilogy is another stand alone film, this time dealing with a group of Chinese/Japanese youths in Japan going to Tokyo in an attempt to get some money to leave the country. It’s interesting that the real theme of the trilogy isn’t Yakuza/Triad warfare or gang stories as it is about people stuck in a place they don’t feel like they belong. It makes for three distinct films exploring similar aspects as opposed to traditional film series. They all work in their own way.


231 07/22 The Seven-Ups (1973) 3.5/5   A sort of unofficial sequel to the The French Connection, this one sees Roy Scheider leading a police task force with a license to pretty much break the law in order to catch criminals. It plays it pretty straight and ends up being better than the actual sequel to The French Connection. A good crime plot and a spectacular car chase in the middle make it worth checking out.

 

That’s all I got this week.