Movie A Day! 46-50: Awkward Blog

It’s a weird one this time folks. Talking vaginas, Mummy’s, Beck, there’s a little bit of everything in this batch.


046 02-07 Mai Lin Vs. Serena (1982) 2/5
This one is the second feature on the same Peekarama disc with the previously looked at ORIENTAL HAWAII, and sadly also wasn’t all that great. Carlos Tobalina (again directing under a pseudonym) cameos as himself, offering a $25,000 contract (which is hilarious, he probably made two entire features for that amount) to the star who can prove they are the “hottest”. Basically sets up a bunch of uninspired, poorly shot sex scenes, (and one flat out gross) to make for a really bland raincoater that’s well on the tail, crappy end of the porno chic era.


047 02-08 57th Annual Grammy Awards (2015) 3/5
Got rooked into watching these, and I have to admit, it wasn’t terrible. Pretty much non-stop music performances, and for the most part everyone was at least interesting to watch if not flat out amazing like Annie Lenox and Tom Jones. Plus Beck got a couple, which for a geezer like me makes it feel like an old pal won since I’ve been listening to him for so long. Oh, and LL Cool J is still a shithead.


048 02-08 Chatterbox! (1977) 3/5
A woman one night discovers that her vagina can talk, and boy is that vagina sassy! Her “Chatterbox” has a really good voice, so her psychiatrist helps launch a singing/acting career. I’m not making any of this up, and it’s actually a comedy and not a porno (no vagina is actually shown). It’s piss poor and cheap, the boom mike is in as many shots as it is out of (though the film may be cropped wrong on the DVD since it’s full screen instead of wide) and none of the actors are all that great. Candice Rialson in the lead manages to make it all work since she pulls off the sexy but naive lead role of the woman cursed with a talking vagina. Plus it has Rip Taylor mincing his way through an extended cameo, so that’s enough about that one.


049 02-09 The Mummy’s Curse (1944) 2.5/5
After the surprisingly poetic end of the last picture, I don’t think we needed any more Mummy movies. This one has the swamp that Kharis and Anaka ended up in being drained 20 years after the previous events (which based on the timeline set in the first film, should of had this one taking place in the 80’s), so some Egyptian goof is trying to wrangle up the Mummy’s for some reason that’s never really made clear. There’s some neat scenes in this, but the series has worn out it’s welcome that not even Lon Chaney Jr. as the Mummy can hold any attention.


050 02-11 The Book Of Negroes (2015) 2.5/5
This one was a 6-part mini-series on the good ole’ CBC, eh! Based on the book of the same name (at least in Canada, I think it was renamed for other territories), it tells the story of a young girl who was taken from Africa and sold into slavery in the late 1700’s. It’s pretty much 6 episode of varying misery, but an incredible all the same. Until you find out that it’s a historical fiction and the woman’s story you just watched didn’t actually exist. It’s a shame, since based on being able to read, write and speak three or four languages on top of being fearless in speaking to authority, the lead is practically super-powered for the period and I couldn’t understand why she wasn’t an icon for the feminist movement. So to have her that strong, and not based on an actual person, well, it’s bullshit and while the show was good, as was everyone in it, it’s clouded to me.

I can’t help but think that the “educated black” is a trope for movies about the slave trade as a way to make white audiences more sympathetic. 12 YEARS A SLAVE had it with the wrong enslaving of a classically trained violinist and BOOK here has it like crazy with the, as I stated, practically super-powered educated slave who wrote her own story and testifies to the British courts. I wonder if its planned to elicit even more “isn’t that just terrible!” thoughts from the audience, that maybe wouldn’t happen if the lead was an uneducated thief or something? Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but it seems manipulative at best, and judgmental at worst.

That’s enough for now. I’m going to have to dig DJANGO UNCHAINED out for a re-watch. I identify more with rage and anger against racism and injustice than what these ones chose to depict.

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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!