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!: Witchtrap Champions!

More movies! Past week was an absolute bitch at work with our customer base being even more clueless and challenging than normal. When you have conversations explaining to people that the “Forrest Green” they say they purchased last month was actually called “Meadow Green” and that is why I was quoting them the wrong product, it does your fucking brain in.

So no fake deep thoughts to intro this one. Here’s the shitty movies I watched last week.


077 03/26 Witchtrap (1989) 3/5   At first glance all this film seems to have going for it scream queen supreme Linnea Quigley, as depicted on the poster. It’s actually a not bad haunted house type deal about a group of investigators trying to ghost-bust a house so it can become a bed and breakfast. Quigley has a minor role as a para-investigator that looks after all the tech, which has to be one of the only “smart” roles in her career. She still has to show her tits in a shower scene though, such is the life of a scream queen. Anyway, it’s pretty good but has a major problem. They mucked up the sound when filming so all the dialogue and sound effects are looped in post, and not very well. I’ve seen Italian dubbed films with tighter synch than this, and it makes for distracted viewing since everything sounds separate from the action. Which is a shame since aside from that it’s quite accomplished.

078 03/28 The Book of Joe (1984) 3/5  Student short film by the director of Witchtrap, Kevin Tenney is a little gem of a film about a defence lawyer who has to represent a man claiming to be the returning Jesus Christ. It manages to not be corny or preachy despite having a pro-faith lean. Included on the Blu-ray due to having many of the same actors as Witchtrap, it’s a neat addition.


079 03/30 Big City Blues (1932) 2.5/5   Pre-Code film from Warners finds a hick arriving in New York to set the town on fire and ends up getting burned. Probably most notable today for Humphrey Bogart having a small unbilled part. That’s kind of the problem with this one, lead Eric Linden as the hick is so completely overshadowed by co-star Joan Blondell (who gets top billing, just look at the poster) and everyone else that it’s hard to root for him since he’s such a unlikable, naive milksop. It ends up being serviceable at best.


080 03/31 Black Mass (2015) 2.5/5   Johnny Depp stars in the true story of Whitey Bulger, psychopath crime boss of South Boston. Depp does a pretty good job in this one, compared to the cartoon-like roles he’s been playing recently. That said, it’s not a very good movie in that despite being a true story it hits all the crime beats these pictures usually do without offering anything new and holy shit do actors love to mangle those Boston accents. I left this one thinking a documentary would have been better.


081 03/31 Boiling Desires (1987) 2/5   You have to hand it to porn jobber Carlos Tobalina for hiring four stars and managing to make an entire film out of the one-note plot of a couple of girls in which one hasn’t had sex yet and they’re all excited to have her have sex. It’s not a good movie, but you have to hand it to him.


082 04/01 The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay Part 1 (2014) 3.5/5   Finally getting around to these. Problem I had is I barely remember the first two films, so most of this one was me going “Oh, right!” as plots came forward in my hazy brain. This one mostly revolves around Katniss mooning about for Pita while becoming a reluctant leader of the revolution. It’s good, though kind of sad since I think this is the last film Philip Seymour Hoffman did before passing he’s just so goddamned good. I think that’s why these pictures work. The love triangle stuff is lost on me since I find both the guys (Pita and whoever the other one is, so forgettable I can’t recall his name) so useless, the rest of the cast is so strong that it allows you to kind of forget about it and makes the rest of the film work.

083 04/02 Love Champions (1985) 2/5   The second Tobalina feature on the disc with boiling Desires, it has an even thinner plot than the first one, more hacked together and ends in another poorly shot orgy. Pretty much worthless as everyone in this picture have been in better movies.

Speaking of adult. I learned this morning on the passing of Radley Metzger. If anyone is wondering why I’m bothering with “shitty old porn”, I would advise them to have a peek at Metzger’s filmography. In the early days when it looked like porno-chic might actually go mainstream, it was largely due to filmmakers like Metzger. Getting his start in euro-softcore, under the pseudonym of Henry Paris  Metzger was one of the filmmakers that seemed on the cusp of making hardcore legit. The Opening of Misty Beethoven is an absolute masterpiece, period, and is highly recommended. Metzger will never get the credit as a filmmaker that he deserves, and he will never be forgotten. I also highly recommend The Rialto Report site or anyone with even a passing interest in adult, or a damn fine story since porn history is full of bonkers stories and the podcasts are great.

And with that, I will leave you for another week.

Movie A Day! 036-040: Indiegogo Playbook Confession

So this one features a couple of Vinegar Syndrome releases (not the best ones they have to offer, but two all the same). Anyone who’s read this blog should be able to tell, I’m a pretty big fan of this company. They are doing the big work protecting, restoring and preserving a genre of film, exploitation, from disappearing. They’re doing the work that most of the major studios refuse to do (See MGM and the protection of John Wayne’s THE ALAMO for an example) as an independent. They are introducing a new initiative this year, a streaming channel that will start off offering over 200 films, porn, horror, who knows what else, in a Netflix like service. They are currently offering an indiegogo campaign to get the project started. So if you’ve ever been curious about the films I review, but don’t want to purchase, it’s a great way to check them out, help them out, and keep the movies that influenced a generation of film makers alive. Click the link, share the campaign, and watch their video, it’s pretty cool.

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


036 01-29 An Act of Confession (1971) 2.5/5
The final film in this Peekarama edition (unless you count a soft version of CRY FOR CINDY) is a bit of a mixed bag. Barely released, never distributed in New York and thought lost, Vinegar Syndrome found a print of this Anthony Spinelli Nunsploitation in the archives of fellow porn legend, director Alex de Renzy. Sadly, it’s not fully uncut, but it is as complete as it’s likely ever going to be. I’m going to guess time wise this one came after Ken Russell’s THE DEVILS (still not released uncut by Warner Bros. despite a HD restoration) since it shares a similar look to whatever version of THE DEVILS I saw (a patched together uncut version from the UK). Explicit films based around nuns getting horned out due to erotic fantasies are always problematic I guess, whether it’s a porno or a Warner Brothers film. Anyway, this one isn’t that bad, and actually plays a bit arty instead of exploitative. Though it is exploitative, there’s a bit of hardcore thrown in/not fully cut out (?) and most importantly, the final scene with the main nun and Jesus(!) is mostly intact. That said, the constant Gregorian chants and rather uninspired plot leave it meandering a little bit, like a less interesting WAKEFIELD POOL’S BIBLE! (also by Vinegar Syndrome). So it’s more of an interesting curiosity than a proper “Good” film.


037 01-30 Silver Linings Playbook (2012) 4/5
It’s technically a rom-com with a stupid title, but I really enjoy this one. I think because it deals with mental illness in an open way, yet never makes actual fun of it. Humour comes from situations, but never the disease itself. Anyway, it’s good, and Bradley Cooper is about as good as he gets in it. Jennifer Lawrence steals the show despite Chris Tuckers attempts in a role that requires him to tone down his usual film persona. Good stuff all around this one.


038 01-31 The Comedy (2012) 2.5/5
I’m a big Tim & Eric fan, so I’ve been wanting to see Tim Heidecker’s dramatic debut for a while. Finally took the plunge, and it’s not great. Tim is fine, the movie is about a wealth fund kid kicking around New York being an asshole. The film is pretty much plot-less as a rambling character study that never really finds a point. Or I just didn’t get what they were trying to achieve.


039 01-31 Impact (1949) 3/5
A B-level noir starring Brian Donlevy as an industrial magnet who’s gold digger wife plots to have killed. The first fifteen minutes play in a burst of energy that would be the plot of most film noirs with the Donlevy’s attempted murder and a mistaken identity plot that then wanders for the rest of the film as Donlevy, presumed dead, lives a new life as a small town mechanic. Shave a bit out of the middle and this could of been a twisty, noir classic. As it stands, it wears out it’s welcome a bit, especially since the film could of ended at the twenty minute mark with a a single call to the police.


040 01-31 Oriental Hawaii (1982) 2/5
When Carlos Tobalina (JUNGLE BLUE) uses an assumed name on a directors credit, you know you’re in trouble since none of his films are all that great. This one is about a family who rents a couple of rooms to some asian university girls for some extra cash. That’s it. The most base of porn plots for a very base porn. This half of the Vinegar Syndrome Peekarama double feature is far from their best effort, though the actual transfer quality is right up there like all their releases. I’ll probably get to the more interesting second feature MAI LIN Vs. SERENA next week.

That’s about it for this one. Be sure to shoot a couple bucks over to the VS campaign if you have some extra bucks to shoot. They, and genre fans everywhere will thank you!

Movie A Day! 031-035: Katnips & Monkeys & Monsters OH MY!

Welcome to what just might be my most commercial selection of viewings ever posted! no grimy sleaze, just good ole’ fashioned franchise picture with the only broken thumb being a silent film from a mainstream director. This is the one post you can show to your mum and have her not be offended!


031 01-24 The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) 4/5
I finally got around to watching the sequel. I really liked the first film, but didn’t see how they could really continue it so I wasn’t in any rush to watch this one. Ends up it’s just as good as the first film! It suffers a little bit of feeling like a “Middle Film” in a trilogy of stories in that the plot is in service of setting up further films, but it still works. That said, I have no idea why everyone is so invested in keeping Peeta safe, that guy is the king of all useless schmucks. I had also forgotten that Phillip Seymour Hoffman was in this one, one of his last completed roles. Damn, is he effortless and great. I’m going to miss not getting new Hoffman films. Now I have to wait for the better part of a year to watch the next one. RATS!


032 01-25 Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) 4/5
Well, it was a good weekend of sequels for me, since this one was even better than the first! Why Andy Serkis isn’t getting all the awards in the world is beyond me. And fuck Lego while we’re at it, THIS is the best animated film I’ve seen from 2014! (I’ve not seen The Lego Movie, I’m sure it’s fine.) Anyway, it continues the story of Caesar as leader of the apes, taking place ten years later. Who thought that the best film about the current terrorist situation happening in our world would be one full of apes?


033 01-26 House of Frankenstein (1944) 4/5
Okay, this one is a bit of a mess after the last picture, but it’s such a colossal monster wham-bam it’s hard not to love it. Boris Karloff returns to the Frankenstein series as a mad Doctor obsessed with recreating Frankensteins’ experiments. In his efforts, he unleashes every monster there is, with the Mummy being the only exception. He revives Dracula, thaws out the Frankenstein Monster and The Wolfman, hell, even his hunchback assistant falls for a gypsy girl. It’s flat out bonkers, but they manage to tie it all up into a story that makes just enough sense to pull it off.


034 01-27 The Eric Andre Show Season 3 (2014) 4/5
Another stellar season of talk show. While it never hit the remarkably insane heights of the second season, it still got incredibly out there. Especially compared to all the other stuff on TV.


035 01-28 Fulta Fisher’s Boarding House (1922) 3/5
Frank Capra made his directorial debut with this short. It’s based on the Rudyard Kipling poem of the same name, it follows the rough dealings of sailors in a boarding house, but in a fun way. It actually plays like a music video, despite being silent. Which just goes to show how talented Capra was since he managed to make a lyrical, fluid short the first time out.

Ah, such a wholesome posting! I’ll have to finish that Spinilli triple feature for the next one to get some sleaze back into the blog.