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! 061-070: Not As Long As You Think

Don’t worry, this post isn’t as huge as it looks. I haven’t gone back to the ten movie posts. I’ve had the week off work and have been watching tons of stuff while re-organizing my movie collection. So this one is larger than usual since I’ve combined some reviews.


061 02-19 The Naked Cage (1986) 2.5/5
062 02-19 Savage Island (1985) 1.5/5
These two are a couple of women in prison films that wrap up the CULT MOVIE MARATHON VOLUME 2 set that also had the previously reviewed ANGELS FROM HELL and the deliriously wonky CHATTER BOX. Anyway, Cage is about as 80’s as a film can get without shooting cocaine out of the screen. It’s a typical WIP film with an innocent girl getting wrongfully stuck in the clink and having to deal with lesbians and whatever. It’s funny enough, and since it’s from Cannon Films, it’s perfectly 80’s cheese that manages to barely hold your interest as it clicks through the tropes.
Savage Island stars Linda Blair (THE EXORCIST) as a woman who escaped from a deadly south american prison where women are slaved out and forced to work in an emerald mine. At least that what the opening and closing 5-10 minutes are about. The middle of the picture is an ineptly cut together hodge podge of two Italian WIP pictures dubbed over with the emerald plot. It doesn’t make any sense at all, and no amount of Linda Blair narration can help it.
So the set of four films kind of wimpers out, but considering this 4-pack can be found for $10, it’s not that bad of deal for the first disc.


063 02-19 They Made Me A Criminal (1939) 3.5/5
John Garfield stars as a boxer set up for murder who lams it’s to California and ends up working on a date farm with the Bowery Boys. It’s much better than that description would lead you to think, with a solid performance by Garfield, and mixing of film noir and juvenile delinquent films. Also, it was directed by Busby Berkeley who is better known for his amazing and crazy musicals. So it’s kind of neat to see a crime picture from him.


064 02-19 Big Bucks: The Press Your Luck Scandal (2003) 3.5/5
As promised last blog, I watched this special examining how Michael Larson figured out and ran up a record win on the game show. It’s a bit cheesey in presentation but the footage of the shows is absolutely riveting and fascinating. The Dollop podcast is funnier though.


065 02-20 For Single Swingers Only (1968) 2/5
066 02-20 Her Odd Tastes (1969) 3/5
067 02-20 Marsha the Erotic Housewife (1970) 2/5
It’s a Don Davis triple feature in this Vinegar Syndrome release. It’s a trio of sexploitation films, none of them all that great frankly. HER ODD TASTES stands out since it gets a bit wackier with a satanic bit and other weirdness. The other two are pretty typical sex films for the era.


068 02-20 The Counselor (2013) 2/5
I had no idea that Ridley Scott did a film between PROMETHEUS (which was really good) and EXODUS (I haven’t seen it yet, but it seems to have a lot of hate going at it, for the wrong reasons), but he did and this was it. Star power galore, with Michael Fassbender, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem, hell John Leguizamo even shows up in a cameo. The basic plot is about the title Counselor getting mixed up in a big drug deal, but man, does this movie have fat to chew. It’s written by Cormac McCarthy (THE ROAD), and it feels like the screenplay is full of the stuff that might be interesting in a novel but plays ridiculous on film. Forty five minutes go by before you have any idea what the crime is going to be, and then it plods on for another hour and a half, with more extraneous scenes like a literal car fucking that just shouldn’t be in the movie. Maybe it’s due to watching the extended versions, but typically the extended versions are Scott’s “Directors Cut”, which is why I always pick them That said, I wont be revisiting this one anytime soon to watch the theatrical.


069 02-21 Fantastic Orgy (1977) 2.5/5
070 02-22 Champagne Orgy (1978) 2/5
Another Carlos Tobalina Peekarama double feature from from Vinegar Syndrome finds the director throwing all plot to the wind and just flat out orgy’s. The first film seems to be made up from outtakes from other films, including footage that is flat out miss-shot with camera flare and whatnot. none of it makes any kind of logical sense, with scenes being cut all willy. The second feature has Tobalina himself in it, inviting the crew to a lavish champagne wrap party after shooting some dumb movie. This is all an excuse for more daft group sex scenes. FANTASTIC gets a bit of a bump due to the absolutely golden narration that attempts to make sense out of the nonsense.

See? That one wasn’t too bad. Other then the stupid Counselor movie that’s sticking in my craw.