Mobee a dai: Is This Real Life?

I meant to get back into the sleaze since I got a big Vinegar Syndrome package, but I’m hooked on documentary films! Plus a few other things…


176 06/18 Mommy Dead and Dearest (2017) 4/5   A true crime documentary. Best you go in knowing little. A young woman is charged with the murder of her mother. It’s more complicated and sad than you can imagine.


177 06/18 De Palma (2015) 4/5   This one is little more than the director sitting down and going through his filmography with the appropriate clips showing as needed, but holy mackerel, it ends up being one of the best documentaries on film making that I have seen. Mainly due to De Palma not being shy to mention and acknowledge complaints. There’s an honesty to it that’s largely missing from these things, especially since they typically end up as special features on DVDs as opposed to feature in their own right.


178 06/20 Better Call Saul Season 3 (2017) 4/5   The prequel to Breaking Bad continues to be possibly better than the series that spawned it. It’s fun, but also one of the most emotionally brutal shows I’ve seen. Season 4 should prove to be very interesting. The performances continue to be razor sharp, it’s one of the best show’s I’ve seen.


179 06/20 Jodorowsky’s Dune (2013) 3/5   Interesting documentary about Alejandro Jodorowsky’s attempt to adapt Dune into possible the greatest film ever back in the 70’s, only to have it fall apart after pre-production was done. It’s good, but the end result is of course, “Wow, that would have been some movie, huh?” which makes it a little overkill. That said, you can’t help but get caught up in Jodorowsky’s dream and film philosophy.

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180 06/21 Beware the Slenderman (2016) 2.5/5   True crime documentary about two 12 year old girls that attempted to kill one of their friends after becoming obsessed with the “Slenderman” urban legend. The tone of this one isn’t right. It’s a terrible crime based on some incredibly stupid internet folklore, a folklore that is never spoken of in the film as corny and stupid. You can’t look at a Slenderman youtube vid without thinking how goofy it is, so to treat it as an actual threat seems dishonest. The filmmakers also spin the wheels to pad the film. You could easily cut 30 minutes out and it would be a better, tighter film. The victim and the suspects deserve to have their story told in a better fashion.

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181 06/22 Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untamed Story of Cannon Films (2014) 4/5    In many ways, Cannon was the perfect studio of the 80’s. None of their films were very good, but all of them were pretty awesome if you were a kid with a hunger for goofy action movies and what not. I have fond memories of many of the trashy films profiled here and the telling of the story behind them is pretty much perfect with no one pretending that they were cranking out amazing art. Well worth checking out.


182 06/23 Menendez: Blood Brothers (2017) 2.5/5   Lifetime takes a crack at a true crime biopic with Courtney Love of all people playing the mom. It’s not terrible, it is sleazy which makes it fun. It’s just not executed very well.


183 06/23 Never Sleep Alone (1983) 2.5/5   A not bad crime hardcore about a swinger couple in an open marriage that gets infected by jealousy. It’s not bad, it just kind of runs out of steam despite Joanna Storm stealing the film.


184 06/24 Bagboy (2015) 3.5/5   Dr. Steve Brule takes a stab at a sitcom comedy and it ends up being one of the greatest sitcoms ever produced.  


185 06/25 The Last Laugh (2016) 3.5/5   Can the holocaust be funny? The answer is no, but this doc ends up going deeper and with the help of tons of comedians really gets into joke structure and what makes something funny. It’s also great that Mel Brooks appears as ground zero for breaking all the rules.

186 06/25 Austin City Limits: Iggy Pop (2016) 4/5   My only issue is it’s edited down to an hour long episode. It’s great seeing Iggy with a band that can play anything.   

I keep thinking about that Dune documentary, and Jodorowsky’s thought that civilization is based on stories from the Bible, The Koran, The Life of Buddha, why not a movie? Why can’t a movie transform people?

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Movie A Day!: The Immortal Joy

Hey look! Another week of movies! Who would of thought? Spring is finally hitting which meant that yesterday of this writing I was able to rake the yard. Yard work, never ending yard work. Yay for summer!

I started and ended the week with “Women stories” movies directed by men that didn’t feature pornography. Yay me! I think… they were both pretty good. Onward to movies!


112 04/23 The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (2017) 3/5   If there is one person that mums love, it’s Oprah Winfrey. And who can blame them? Oprah seems to be the only morally grounded billionaire on the planet today. Anyway, mum was the reason for this one being watched and it’s actually pretty good. The true story of the family and the woman who gave us the HELA cells that continue to be the basis of biological studies. It’s a good movie with top notch performances. It’s a bit muddled though in that it never finds a balance between the science and the family so you never get a clear vision of either. Mum thought Oprah was just wonderful.


113 04/23 Super-Hooper-Dyne Lizzies (1925) 4/5 A blitzkrieg of gags from Billy Bevan allows this slapstick comedy to roar. A scientist develops cars that run on broadcast electric wave-forms that sends the petrol industry into a tizzy. Great stuff and about as close to a live action cartoon as you will find.


114 04/24 The Match King (1932)  2.5/5   Scumbag Warren William is back, this time playing a bullshitter who manages to take over the world’s matchbook industry based on dodgy bank loans without having any actual wealth or collateral to carry the debt. SOUND LIKE ANYONE CURRENTLY ALIVE AND THE PRESIDENT OF A SUPERPOWER NATION?!?!? Anyways, for a pre-code film it’s pretty tame but it never really gets off for me. There’s only so much interest to be gleaned from the match industry.


115 04/25 A Rainy Knight (1925) 3/5   A sweet little comedy about a clerk attempting to woo a woman and getting caught up in a love triangle. Not much else to say about this one. Probably most notable now for being an early work from Warner Bros. house director Lloyd Bacon who cranked out some gems in the ‘30s like Busby Berkeley’s Wonder Bar.


116 04/26 Ever In My Heart (1933) 3/5   A fine melodrama that find a loving German/American couple torn apart by racism during World War I. Barbara Stanwyck is the lead as the American wife and despite this one being a bit overblown it really works well and is unflinching in it’s depiction of the petty racism that happens during wartime.

This one wraps up the Forbidden Hollywood Vol 10 set. Again, not as strong as earlier entries in the series, but still a lot of fun. Sad that this one appears to be the final volume as these sets were good value on top of the entertainment. I’d give the set as a whole a 4/5.


117 04/27 Saturday Afternoon (1926) 4/5   Harry Langdon takes the lead on this short, playing a hapless little guy with an overbearing wife who decides to attempt to step out behind her back. Langdon is just so damned good in this, he plays everything so small in contrast to the big stuff Keaton and others would do. Even his incredibly dangerous car stunt at the end is played little. It’s hilarious and sweet at the same time.


118 04/28 The Wrecking Crew! (2008) 4/5   Documentary on the legendary studio musicians who played on all the songs you love from 60’s that came out of California. Watching this you find out they played on even more than you thought. A fantastic documentary centering more on guitarist Tommy Tedesco (played the lead guitar on Batman and Hawaii 5-0) since it was directed by his son, it’s great that it allows all the other to tell their stories. And the stories are great. Recommended.


119 04/28 Ladies Night (1980) 3.5/5   Annette Haven stars as a frustrated football widow who goes out with her girlfriends to a cheesy “Ladies Night” for some action. It’s pretty standard adult fare for the period but Haven has genuine star power and the mythical “Lewis Brother of Detroit” have the chops to elevate this one into something more than the usual with some artistic touches.


120 04/29 Joy (2015) 3/5   David O. Russell is back with his make pretend gang Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper for this one about an industrious young woman who refuses to stop pushing forward with her dreams despite the near abusive negative support from everyone she encounters. I’m torn on this since it’s really good as far as subject matter and performances go, but the tone rubbed me the wrong way. O. Russell presents this like a fairy tale with a narration, as if this woman’s story is a wonderful fantasy, because what woman would push this hard and not give up? Am I right guys? It seems really wrong headed since it is based on a true story. Presenting this story a little more straight and it would of elevated it. I don’t know, I could be wrong. People identifying as women, please feel free to tell me in the comments.

Not bad for the week, a nice variety.  I just can’t burn through those silent comedies like I would like to. Drives me crazy that it takes me two nights to watch a 20minute film due to falling asleep. It’s insulting to everyone involved! looking at this week, I wonder how much improved Immortal Life and Joy would have been if directed by women. Would they have escaped the more annoying “Woman’s Picture” traps? Any women read this blog that can comment? Am I over thinking? Over compensating?

Oh hey! Before I forget. I’ve joined the LETTERBOXD movie tracking community and have started logging my movies there. I’m going back in my list archives and have so far logged my very first movie record from the Scary Movie Challenge 2006. Eventually I will catch up to modern day and this blog, but anyone interested in all the movies I’ve seen can check it out. It\s also porn free since they don’t currently allow adult, so you have that going for you too if you hate seeing adult titles being reviewed as actual films instead of wack-off mechanisms.

https://letterboxd.com/ruz_el/

Feel free to follow, share, obsess and judge!

Movie A Day! 111-120: Beyond The Massacre Gun

As I write this the twitter-verse is a buzz with shock that Madonna would kiss Drake. Not because it’s a puzzle as to why anyone would kiss Drake, but because she’s apparently too old to be doing such things. I hate.


111 04-05 Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity (2 Episodes) 4/5
The latest documentary series from Theroux continues his look at the American prison system, this time specifically spending time in a mental institution treating people who couldn’t face trial due to being found mentally unfit to stand trial. It’s one of his tougher documentaries due to the mixed up morality. The crimes are nearly all truly awful, but you feel both repelled by, and sad for the people who committed them. So another great documentary series by Theroux. For those not familiar with Theroux, this is no goofy expose. Instead Theroux simply talks to people to hear what they have to say. It’s a brilliant approach that served him well in the goofy series, and works amazingly well now that’s he’s looking at more serious subjects.


112 04-05 Mark of the Times (2015) 3/5
This is a feature length special feature to be found on the MARK OF THE DEVIL disc put out by Arrow Video. It’s a pretty typical talking heads style doc, looking at the new wave of British horror in the seventies. I’m a horror fan, and a bit of a rube when it comes to this genre, so the doc was both interesting in subject matter and annoying in that I want to watch all the movies featured. The curse continues!


113 04-06 Better Call Saul (2014) (10 Episodes) 4/5
The sequel series to BREAKING BAD might actually be better than the series that spawned it. This one catches up with Saul after the events of the BB finale, then shoots us into the past where we see him pre-Saul, as hustler “Slippin’” Jimmy, attempting to turn his life around. It’s deadly good, being both hilarious and heartbreaking as well. Bob Odenkirk is putting in the performance of his as Jimmy/Saul, Jonathan Banks is back as Mike and stealing every scene he’s in, as will as being featured in what might be one of the great episodes of television, ever. Most surprising, Michael McKean (David St. Hubbins of SPINAL TAP) is also doing brilliant work and Jimmys mental breakdown suffering brother Chuck. I can not wait for season two to kick off.


114 04-07 Massacre Gun (1967) 3/5
The third release from ARROW VIDEO to arrive is a Yakuza picture. I don’t know enough about the genre to tell you how it compares to others. It’s a pretty decent gangster picture though. A hitman is forced to kill a girl he loves and all hell breaks loose. This one has a deliberate tone instead of the hyper action you would think would be in it based on the title, but it is a good one.


115 04-09 Louis Theroux: Transgender Children (2015) 4/5
Another special by Theroux, this one explores gender identity in children. It was fascinating, though sad to watch in that it seemed confusing to all involved. Theroux is typically great though in presenting. Worth a watch.


116 04-09 On Cinema At The Cinema Season 6 (2015) 4/5
As Decker comes to a close, so does the series that spawned it. The final episode was bittersweet due to the bit in the finale that has seen Gregg Turkington absent from Twitter to the time of this posting. A brilliant bit of comedy to be sure, I’m curious to see where they take it all next season since the joke seems to continue.


117 04-09 The Beyond (1981) 4/5
A second watch of Fulci’s Italian horror classic via Grindhouse Releasing recent blu-ray had me liking it even more. Basic plot is a woman takes over and starts to refurbish a hotel that has been built on one of the seven doors of hell. It plays like a nightmare with David Lynch style dream logic. If you’re looking for a normal narrative, there isn’t one to find here. If you’re want a gory fever dream, this is your picture.


118 04-10 Going Clear: Scientology And The Prison Of Belief (2015) 4/5
Been waiting for this documentary and it didn’t disappoint. I already knew some of the strangeness to be found, and this one does a really good job of laying it all out in perspective. It’s the type of film where you hope some real world change happens because of it.


119 04-10 Sensual Fire (1979) 2.5/5
This is the second Tobalina film to be found on Vinegar Syndromes Peekarama disc with last blogs THREE RIPENING CHERRIES. It’s the better film in that it has more plot. Jamie Gillis plays a pervo lusting after his girlfriends daughter and seeking help in dealing with it. The main problem is typical to Tobalina in that the editing and pacing kills what could have been a decent picture compared to all his shitty orgy pictures.


120 04-10 Godzilla (2014) 2/5
Finally sat down to this one and it was a piece of shit. You have one job, and one job only when you make a Godzilla movie and that is to have it packed with monster fights. Three quarters of this one is aftermath of monster fights, and when you finally do get to see the monsters fight, it’s it the dark so it’s still mostly hidden. So fuck this movie, and fuck Gareth Edwards whose other film, MONSTERS, also had no monsters or fighting for most of the duration.

Bit long this one huh? Been in the fog a bit with poor time management. I’ll try to get it back down to 5 titles a post.

Movie A Day! 091-095: Muthas

Sorry folks, but the blog didn’t stop. I just fell a little behind and haven’t been watching as many movies. So if you have had enough, delete me from your reading programs.

I feel disconnected, so no more intro, only movies.


091 03-15 The 2015 Juno Awards (2015) 2/5
Ends up I know even less about Canadian music these days than I do about our movies. Alanis Morissette got a lifetime achievement and a woman named “Lights” was pretty good. That’s about it since other popular bands like host Hedly and best band Magic are pretty much shit. (For the record, I don’t recognize anyone other than Hedly in that picture)


092 03-20 Sexual Heights (1981) 3/5
This is one Carlos Tobalina’s better porn efforts. A group of bachelors decide to trick a babysitter over that their buddy is all hot over. It’s a dumb comedy, to be sure, but the actors are all game, especially lead Jamie Gillis who is always fun to watch in these. Being Tobalina, it’s still a hack effort with a couple of John Holmes scenes thrown in for no real reason, but Tobalina at least tries to have it make sense, which helps this film rise above his usual uninspired efforts.


093 03-21 The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst (2015) (six episodes) 4/5
You couldn’t avoid this one this past week seeing as Durst was arrested the eve of the airing of the last episode for the murder of Susan Berman. Being a crime junkie, this was a must watch for me prior to that, and as a documentary series it mostly does a great job. My nitpick is actually the last episode. Sure, it’s a jaw dropper, I just have a peeve about directors pushing themselves into the film they are making. The last episode is as much about director Andrew Jarecki as it is about his subject, Robert Durst. I’m cranky about that stuff, don’t let it throw you off, this one is worth the watch in spades even if it is pure exploitation. To the point where part of me wants to avoid any updates on the Durst case so as not to spoil any future series.


094 03-22 Undulations (1981) 2/5
Jamie Gillis and a coked out John Holmes play themselves as guests on an entertainment show “Undulations”, the second film on the PEEKARAMA disc from Vinegar Syndrome that also features SEXUAL HEIGHTS. This one is pretty blah, basically a loop carrier that never really rises above the typical Tobalina standards. In fact, it’s so run of the mill that it uses the same credits as SEXUAL HEIGHTS, so it’s no surprise that it’s not as good as SH.


095 03-22 The Muthers (1976) 3.5/5
Vinegar Syndrome take a time out from porno sexploitation for a straight up exploitation classic.Jeannie Bell heads up a gang of pirates that are slaving around the pacific islands, and has to go undercover on a sugar plantation to sneak out one of their girls. So you get everything, blaxploitation, crappy kung-fu, women in prison jungle escapades. It’s pretty much the perfect movie.

Heavy on the Vinegar Syndrome this post. Don’t expect it to change much. Though I haven’t watched a film since THE MUTHERS.

Movie A Day! 071-075: All That Jazz

So since last blog, my back went out. The past couple days I’ve been home, flat on my back. It’s getting better now, I can walk and sit with out buckling over in pain. You would think I would have had more movies watched, but I decided to catch up on TV. So you lucky mucks were saved from having a bunch of posts!


071 02-21 Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways (2014) 4/5
An eight part documentary about the Foo Fighters recording their latest album sounds like a bad idea, even worse if you’re not a big Foo Fighters fan. I can kind of take them or leave them, but holy shit was this good! The conceit was that they recorded a song in a different city for inspiration, so each episode is a history of the music scene of each city. They are really good mini-histories, with tons of clips, pictures and interviews with the people from the scene, and Dave Grohl is the perfect host. From Buddy Guy talking about Chicago blues, to Dolly Parton talking about Nashville, to Doctor John (not an actual Doctor) telling the most insane story ever in New Orleans, this whole series was a real treat, even if each episode ended with a pretentious Foo Fighter video of the song they recorded.


072 02-22 The 87th Academy Awards (2015) 2/5
This one started with one of the all time great openings ever, largely due to Jack Fuckin’ Black coming out and killing it. Once Neil Patrick Harris settled into hosting, the whole thing just took a giant shit, with an over serious tone in everything from the introductions to the acceptance speeches. Not a single joke or bit by Harris landed, with a stupid “NPH Oscar Predictions” bit maybe having the worst payoff in the history of television after the longest ever set-up. The only saving grace to the never ending thing was the music performances. My favourites Tegan & Sara were great, and holy shit was Lady Gaga ridiculously good in her SOUND OF MUSIC tribute. Hopefully next year the show gets better because you know I’m going to be watching.


073 02-26 Quicksand (1950) 3.5/5
Mickey Rooney sneaks twenty bucks out of the work till to take a bitch blonde out on the town, and it ruins his life. This is a hell of a tight film noir, lean and mean and horrible to watch since it’s so ridiculously skewed to completely fuck Rooney’s character. Plus it has Peter Lorre in a small part as a small time hood, and that’s always a good thing in a movie. Not the classiest low budget film you’ll see, but fun and worth watching all the same.


074 02-27 All That Jazz (1979) 4/5
Hard to believe, but I’m actually a big fan of movie musicals. I like the old, classic Hollywood ones though. The modern equivalent, with few exceptions, tend to get on my tits. I’m also not a huge fan of “jazz dance”, which Bob Fosse, the director of this one, pretty much invented. As a result, I’ve been avoiding this one, and it was a mistake, since it’s brilliant. Fosse turns the musical on it’s head while at the same time honoring tradition. So it plays like the classic Hollywood films (with the musical numbers being part of the story, not having characters break into song like in Broadway plays, thank Christ) while also pushing the format forward by being an autobiographical drama about life and death. You’ve read that right, it’s taking on the big stuff. No goofy romance here. The story comes out of Fosse’s life after having a heart attack scare, while working on a Broadway show while finishing up his movie LENNY. The dance numbers being hallucinations as well as bits of the show the character, Joe Gideon, is working on. It’s absolutely brilliant film making, with Roy Scheider giving an career best performance, hell, an all time great performance as Fosses stand-in Gideon. If you have never seen it, WATCH IT ALREADY!


075 Marvel’s Agent Carter Season 1 (Eight Episodes) (2015) 3/5
Binge watched this one. The story takes place post world war 2, coming from the CAPTAIN AMERICA films. It’s a great idea, and a good story. It’s largely miss-handled in tone though, never deciding if it’s a hard boiled, action packed drama, or a Joss Whedon-esque quip fest. It’s also another TV series that is largely ruined by the score. To have slap-sticky swing music play when Agent Carter is kicking the shit out of guys, but switch to more standard drama type score when she’s receiving the ass kicking seems misguided in our current culture. It’s a bit “Ain’t she cute, beating up boys… oh no, isn’t it terrible, a woman getting punched.” It totally kills the tone and pacing by being so obvious and manipulative. Which is a shame since otherwise they mostly get this one right. Anyway, no need for a second season of this one, as a stand alone it’s good enough.

Seriously, I can’t stop thinking about ALL THAT JAZZ since watching it last night. I got the Criterion Collection blu-ray, so I’m going to have to pour over all the extras.