An exciting week on the ol’ Movie A Day blog this week. I made it to the theaters! I watched a Zatoichi! I may start a second, side blog! Read on!
230 09-01 Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) 4/5
I finally made it out of the bunker to the cinema to view a film! This one I had little interest in since the trailers all left me flat. So this might be a “low expectations” case but I really loved it. James Gunn hasn’t made a bad picture (and made one of the best superhero films with “Super”), so it shouldn’t be a big surprise. I’m going to credit that since this one is based on a garbage comic book that no one read, it’s free of all the baggage that follows the other Marvel films. It also has actual heart, the stupid raccoon kept making me cry. So yeah, a winner that helps ease the pain that we will never see Edgar Wright’s ANT-MAN.
231 09-01 The Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) 4/5
Seeing how Wes Anderson films are all so overly designed and staged, it seems inevitable that he would take a crack at not only an animation feature, but a stop motion animation film. Based on Roald Dahl’s book and featuring many of his regular cast doing the voices, the film is simply a fun joy that isn’t the broken thumb in his filmography that it could have been.
232 09-01 Doctor Who: Tales From the TARDIS (2013) 2.5/5
I’ve decided to watch the new season of Doctor Who, so I thought I’d start of with this special from last year to get myself up to date. It has some fun behind the scenes stories from all of the surviving Doctors, but did nothing to really get me up to date so that plan was dashed. Anyway, Season 8 with the new Doctor sounds good regardless after the teen idol Doctors I couldn’t bother watching (and the clips contained in here confirmed my decision) so I’ll still give the series a go. Tempted to do side posts tracking the separate stories since Doctor Who is so episodic. Any interest?
233 09-02 Bang the Drum Slowly (1956) 3.5/5
Another live broadcast from the Golden Age Of Television set, this one stars a pre-fame Paul Newman in the whirlwind roll of a baseball player/writer who deals with a teammates diagnoses of a fatal disease. It was everything you would hope it to be with stellar performances and a genuinely touching story.
234 09-03 The Whole Town’s Talking (1935) 3.5/5
This one is a real oddball. A comedy of mistaken identity that’s directed by John Ford, who specialized in westerns, and starring Edward G. Robinson, who was known for his tough guy persona. It works though since Ford was a master craftsman, and Robinson one of the greatest actors in film. Robinson has no problems in the dual role playing both the meek clerk who get’s mistakenly identified as a murderous gangster, and shows surprising for the period subtlety in his handling of both characters. Jean Arthur (Mr. Smith Goes To Washington) is solid as usual in the supporting role, and man, I need a Jean Arthur in my life.
235 09-04 Zatoichi the Outlaw (1967) 4/5
This one is the first in the series to be produced by star Katsu and holy shit was it good! At first it had a cheaper look, seemed kind of blown out on the blu ray transfer. It could be age related though. Once the film got going though, the big change was the tone is way darker, even a bit sleazy, and it made the whole, typical Zatoichi mixed up with Yakuza bosses plot all that much more gripping. Plus they’ve added in blood and special effects so limbs are flying off. It was awesome! It’s ridiculous how much joy I get when there’s bonus gore in a film! I’m sick!
236 09-05 The Violation of Claudia (1977) 3/5
Before making a name for himself as a master of cult-horror with titles like the amazingly brutal MANIAC and the MANIAC COP series, William Lustig got his start in porn with this one, his first film. Going by the name “Billy Bagg”, this one is basically a hardcore version of Bunuel’s BELLE De JOUR. Sharon Mitchell stars as the affluent housewife being ignored by her husband who is looking for some adventure in her life. Fortunately her tennis instructor (played by Jamie Gillis) is a pimp on the side. It’s not as stupid as it sounds, and for the large part it works as a proper movie, more in the elevated Henry Paris style than typical porn. The commentary on this one, hosted by director Nicolas Winding Refn (DRIVE) is as entertaining as the film, with Lustig having many stories to tell, and proud of his humble beginnings. Lustig’s other porn, HOT HONEY is included, I’ll probably watch it next weekend.
237 09-06 Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) 4/5
Another dead solid Marvel movie to wrap up the week! This one feels more like a true follow up to THE AVENGERS than the stupid IRON MAN 3 did. Basically Cap deals with an insidious plot to undermine SHIELD that manages to give closure to the first Captain America film while pushing the whole universe of stories forward. This helps clear up some of the odd bits of MARVEL’S AGENTS OF SHIELD that had me thrown while watching season one. Good stuff all around, Marvel really has these movies figured out. (Aside from IRON MAN which is the only series that seems to get progressively worse.)
So there we are! Not a bum movie in the bunch! So what do you think, do you want to see Doctor Who run downs? I’ll post them here if you like. Answer the poll! Actually, there is no poll, when I click “Add Poll” on this stupid thing the screen goes grey and nothing happens. What a piece of shit! So let me know in the comments. You should all be leaving me comments on how great I am anyway. What, do I sound like I have a lots of self esteem or something? To hell with all of you!