Movie A Day! 369-376 – Grumpy Old Man

Here we are with the round-up! And it’s a month end one as well, hence I’m late posting it! Boy, November flew by. I got in a few movies, which is surprising since this was a busy weekend. It was Black Friday, which is an American Armageddon like event for shopping. We don’t really do it here in Canada, but the local record shops do participate in the Record Store Day event with exclusive releases. So this weekend has been a lot of record listening in my house. I also got notice that my PONO player will arrive early this week, so I have a feeling that movies will take a little slide this week too. Let’s look at what I watched, and be prepared for a bit of a bitch over the first one.

369 11-23 The American Music Awards, The Country Music Awards, The Hollywood Film Awards (2014) 1/5

I didn’t watch all of these on the one day, but over the past couple weeks. Part of looking after an older parent is you get to watch stuff that you normally wouldn’t watch. The Hollywood Film Awards has to be the biggest pile of back slapping bullshit I’ve ever seen. The winners know they won, so one of their friends gives an admiring speech and they accept the award. Ridiculous. The CMA’s was just god awful. Modern country music continues to sound like shitty hair metal power ballads from the 80’s and I hate it. The AMA’s were pretty much just as bad aside from a some good performances by Taylor Swift and some girl band I never did catch the name of, Crystal Head? I don’t know, but the rest of the acts were the shits. Give me my old garbage over this new garbage that features Lil Wayne honking like a duck with something caught in it’s throat.

370 11-24 Zatoichi Goes To Fire Festival (1970) 4.5/5
Film 21 in the series and holy shit did it not disappoint! Zatoichi is labeled to be killed by a blind Yakuza boss, and the battles of wits and swords is fantastic! There hasn’t been a single dog film yet in this collections, and this one was one of the best.

371 11-25 The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942) 3/5
This one is simply good enough. Bela Lugosi is back as Ygor, and he finds Frankenstein’s other son to get the monster going again. The current Frankenstein has figured out brain transplants so things get goofy. Lon Chaney Jr. gets a crack at playing the monster and he does a great job, as does Bela. It’s all just a bit too goofy in comparison to the previous films.

372 11-27 Two Rode Together (1961) 3.5/5
This is the last film in the John Ford Columbia Pictures Collection put out by TCM, and the only one in the set that is a western. Starring James Stewart as a total asshole marshal/bounty hunter who is hired up by Richard Widmark’s army to make a deal with some evil Indians to trade back kidnapped kids. Ford supposedly hated this one, and Leonard Maltin shits on it a bit in the extra features, but I’ve seen worse. Stewart and Widmark are both great in it which helps make up for the scripts shortcomings, like the annalistic racism that it’s riddled with. It’s definitely the ugly brother to Ford’s masterpiece “The Searchers” which deals with similar themes. In the end, it’s a Ford western, if you’re a fan, it’s worth checking out.

The Goonies Movie Poster

373 11-28 The Goonies (1985) 2.5/5
Re-watched this one for the first time since seeing it in the theaters back when I was 11 years old or so. Yeash. I didn’t care for it then, and I just don’t care for it now. This ones considered a bit of a classic these days, so I was hoping to be surprised. Nope. The kids are all great, especially Sean Astin and Josh Brolin. My problem is I have no tolerance for eight kids all yelling wisecracks at and over each other for two hours. If you don’t mind the racket, there’s lots to like in this one.

374 11-28 Pretty Peaches (1978) 4/5
After Vinegar Syndrome released Pretty Peaches 2 & 3 earlier this year, I figured this one would continue to go unreleased. Low and behold, they put it out as a limited edition blu-ray with a regular DVD coming next year. Looking fantastic, it was great to see the one that spawned the sequels. While the sequels felt more like loop carriers, this one feels like a proper film with a genuinely funny story that is still packed with sex. Desiree Cousteau makes her debut in this one as Peaches, and she is perfect as the pouting and perturbed amnesiac constantly being taken advantage of in every way possible. The rest of the cast is just as good, and this one makes it clear that prior to the video era, de Ranzy was up there with Henri Paris as far as being able to make quality films that happened to be porn. This Vinegar Syndrome blu also includes clips from the only known filmed interview with de Renzy, on top of a movie looking better on disc than most mainstream films from the same era. If you like the idea of a Russ Meyer movie done hardcore, this one is the one for you.

375 11-29 F For Fake (1975) 4/5
More of an essay than a documentary, this is Orson Welles looking at Elmyr de Hory, the worlds most notorious art forger who was biographed by Clifford Irving. While in production, it was discovered that Irving forged the infamous Howard Hughes Autobiography. Welles himself is a famous fake, responsible for the War of the Worlds hoax, so it’s a film about fakes, made by a fake. It’s a whirlwind of theory, editing, all solidly in Welles hands, and it breaks your heart that Welles never had a chance to have this much control on his films since it is a wonder to behold. Cheeky, funny, interesting, and all Welles, it’s highly recommended.

376 11-30 Invisible Agent (1942) 3/5

This one finds Griffins grandson trying to avoid his grandfathers horrible legacy of invisibility only to get swept up in world war two after nazi agents track him down and try to brace him for the formula. It’s straight up WW2 propaganda, but it mostly works and is a lot of fun, especially Peter Lorre playing a Japanese agent after being typecast from his Mr. Motto role. Oh yeah, it’s pretty racist and of it’s time to.

Not a bad week, or month really. No horrible films watched, aside from those dumb awards shows. Let’s look at the final numbers.

30 Watched,  22 First Timers,  0 Theaters

Actually nailed a movie a day! I think this is the first month. Still nothing at the theaters. I just have little desire to bother going. That said, I really need to see Interstellar in the IMAX.

Let’s see how I did last year:

31 Watched, 22 First Timers, 2 Theater

Look at that, one more watched and the same amount of new films! That’s never happened. This is creepy, let’s move on.

Best of the month is: F For Fake, Pretty Peaches, all the Zatoichi films I watched and Wreck-It Ralph.

No worst of the month, other than the award shows. And maybe The Goonies though it’s really not a bad movie, just too annoying with the kids.

That’s it for now, thanks, as always for reading.

The End

 

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Movie A Day!: 364-368 – Not Quite A Movie A Day

Not a big week of movie watching this past one. I’ve been catching up on shows I fell behind on with the horror challenge, as well as had some evenings blown out.

Of course, the big movie news this past week was that it ends up that Bill Cosby is a horrible, serial rapist. I always find these things conflicting. I, like most people, grew up with Cosby, both with his stand-up and his TV shows like Fat Albert, that magic pen educational thing, The Cosby Show. God damn it Bill, why did you have to be a monster? I nearly bought the complete Fat Albert a while back, and part of me still want’s to re-watch them, but I don’t want to give him my money. Kind of like how I always planned to watch all of Woody Allen’s films, and now will probably steal copies rather than buy the discs, if I bother to even do that. Not that I’m so morally high minded, I’m still picking up Roman Polanski discs. Does the weakness of the creators invalidate their art? I don’t know. I’m not the only hypocrite though, that fucking monster Mike Tyson continues to get movie roles, and now a cartoon series on Adult Swim. Why is he given a pass?

I hate this decade. It seems like for the past few years, every week has some new horror happening. The movies have mostly gone to shit too.

364 11-16 Doctor Who (2005) Season 8 (10 Episodes) 3.5/5
As some of you know, I was blogging recaps of these, so you know I was really enjoying them at the start. The first few episodes were pretty solid, and Peter Capaldi as the new Doctor is doing a great job. My issues were with baggage from the old series. Clara is awful, and the romantic stuff with here is equally awful. There was a few episodes, especially “Kill the Moon” that just weren’t as good as they could of been, and it was largely due to Clara being a dead-faced side kick, and the producers constantly bringing in kids for the Doctor to deal with. Too many fucking kids, frankly. Thankfully the two part finale rights most of the wrongs, so I’m still in for next season. Plus they prick-teased a Christmas special with Nick Frost as Santa Claus, so that’s a must watch.

365 11-16 The Wolf Man (1941) 5/5
Lon Chaney Jr. gets his starring role, creating the title monster on the Universal Horror classic. This one is really pretty great, even if Chaney Jr. is a bit miscast as Larry Talbot, returning to his home town to reconcile with his old man, the great Claude Rains. Once he gets werewolf-ed though, it gets great, and Chaney is great as the Wolf Man. This one has it all, Bela Lugosi as a gypsy, cool Wolf Man make up, foggy moors. On top of that, pretty much everything you know about werewolf’s comes from this movie. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

366 11-17 D.O.A. (1950) 3.5/5
I finally got around to seeing this one after seeing the remake from the late 80’s with Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan. I liked that one, and I liked this one. Edmond O’Brien is in the lead as the man who is poisoned and has 48 hours to find his killer. It’s good stuff, I just wish this one wasn’t public domain since the copy in the admittedly cheap DVD set I got is the pits and barely watchable.

367 11-22 The Last Hurrah (1958) 4/5
This one stars the great Spencer Tracy as a long running mayor looking for re-election. Since it’s 1958, the old ways of politics are fading away as television and photogenic candidates are becoming important. There’s some nice commentary in this one, as well as bits that get a little over melodramatic, as is often the case when director John Ford deals with Irish leads. That said, it never wanders or annoys, and the support cast featuring many John Ford regulars (and Basil Rathbone, who almost steals the picture) is top notch.

368 11-22 Purely Physical (1982) 2/5
This is the first film in yet another PeekARama collection from Vinegar Syndrome. This set features two films from Chris Warfield, a director I never heard from. The basic plot is a woman takes a job working the desk of a motels night shift so she write about the patrons. That’s it for plot, the film is basically loops and never all that interesting.

That’s it for this round-up. Next week I should hopefully get some more movies in. I can;t believe I didn’t get a Zatoichi in! I have to get them wrapped up, I just received a massive Bruce Lee set so I can re-watch all of his films. As a bonus I got a four film collection of Jimmy Wang films. No idea what those will be like.

The End

Movie A Day!: 347-354 – November is Here

It’s finally November! You know what that means? No more horror films! Okay, there’s still horror films, but it’s mixed with the usual Samurai and porno. Yay!

347 11-01 Samaritan Zatoichi (1968) 3.5/5

The 19th film in the series is as good as the rest of them. Fantastic cinematography, style and music help make the same old plot work. That and the kickass sword play of course.

348 11-01 Wanda Whips Wall Street (1981) 3.5/5
I rarely revisit porn films, but Distripix re-released this one in it’s proper widescreen format and colour corrected and what not, so I gave it a shot. It was worth it since this one is a hell of a lot of fun. Veronica Hart (BOOGIE NIGHTS) stars as the title character, who moves to the big city and sleeps her way through a stock brokerage firm in a bid to take it over. Legends Jamie Gillis and a startlingly young and handsome Ron Jeremy are investigators brought in to stop her. It sounds like a typical porn plot, but director Larry Revine really mines it for comedy, sometimes at the expense of the actual porn. It manages to be legitimately funny and I was constantly reminded of the pre-code films from Hollywood’s golden age that has similar plots. Hell, Barbara Stanwyck pretty much owes her career to playing similar roles, it’s crazy that it took a film from the tale end of the “Porno Chic” era to mine such a natural genre honestly and not just exploitatively.

349 11-02 Man-Made Monster (1941) 3.5/5
This one is basically a Frankenstein retread, with Lon Chaney Jr. as the title monster. Chaney plays a man who seems to have an immunity to electricity, so a crazy scientist uses him to experiment on, zapping him so full of electricity he gets a death touch. It’s actually pretty good, and the movie is stolen completely by the pet dog that is best buds with Chaney prior to the experiments. That damned dog will break your heart, and it’s rare that a universal movie not named BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN breaks your heart.

350 11-03 Horror Island (1941) 2.5/5
This one is about a couple of schmucks who get involved with a treasure map and the search for pirate gold. They end up on a haunted island and there’s some shenanigans with a creep trying to stop them. It’s all played for yuks, and the mystery element is a bit shit so it never really works. Certainly a lesser film in the Universal Horror cycle. Let’s forget all about it and the fact that I hit another milestone type number, film 350, with another crappy movie.

351 10-07 Hearts & Minds (1974) 4/5
This one is a documentary on the Vietnam war, kind of. Instead of dealing with just the facts of the war, it deals more about how it came to happen and how it affected culture both in America and Vietnam. Made when the war was going and produced by the same house that put out “Easy Rider”, it’s obviously anti-war, but it’s never preachy or hippy dippy. Instead, it’s confrontational and quite shocking at times seeing some of the uncensored footage. It all adds up to being “good”, in the way that “Shoah” is good, but not really a great time. If that makes sense.

352 10-08 Jerry Lee Lewis – Live in Austin TX (1983) 4/5
This is an hour long performance recorded for “Austin City Limits” and captures Lewis at the top of his game. The Killer was always the guy from Sun Records that kind of got kicked around, compared to his label mates Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley. It’s a shame, since he really is an insanely great entertainer, and you could argue that he is the definitive honky-tonk musician, effortlessly going from country to rock to gospel. Bonus is watching him play the piano, where he shows a dexterity up their with the best of the stride players.

353 10-08 I Love Lucy: The Complete Third Season (1953) 4/5
Not much to say other than this was another fun season. They kept the baby in the background, which is a good thing since forcing baby jokes into a sitcom that doesn’t require it is never a good thing. The high point is a 2 part storyline featuring Tennessee Ernie Ford as a lost cousin visiting the Ricardos. Ford is deadly funny as a stereotypical bumpkin, and his appearance really kicked the gang into overdrive.

354 10-08 Deep Inside Annie Sprinkle (1981) 3/5
I was kind of disappointed by this one, and I think it’s due to high expectations. It’s a title I had heard lots about, Sprinkle went from porn star to activist to feminist performance art, and all on her terms. This was the first film that she directed (co-directed really, with legend Joe Sarno), and while it’s kind of cute, it’s basically just a wall to wall sex film. Which is fine, but I expected more since she produced and wrote it. Which is stupid since it was made before all the above activism, performance art, etc. Anyway, it’s not terrible, I just expected it to be more.

There it is. Week one done. I hit a milestone, film 350, and it was crap. Since the horror challenge I’ve been binging on Walking Dead, Doctor Who, Agents of SHIELD, all those dumb tv shows that had the nerve to start while I was watching horror movies.I’m holding off on starting Gotham and Constantine. Constantine is probably going to be canceled so I’ll probably skip it entirely. Gotham I might get to once I catch up on SHIELD. The Flash can fuck off since I’m yet to watch Arrow, and I just can’t seem to get excited to watch Arrow.

Speaking of the scary movie challenge, I won it! I had the most watched, beat the next guy by 5 titles, due to him watching a bunch of TV horror that counts as less. So I get a bunch more movies to watch! Huzzah! See, there are actual rewards to watching all the movies, not just 3 weeks of diarrhea!

Dare to live your dreams people!