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: Straight Sugar Pierce

Sick with summer cold this week. Got bad enough that I missed a day of work. Still have it. I feel like this phlegm-y mess is my life now. As a result, lots of movies were watched. I finished up my “True-Life Adventures” jag and started catching up on my Vinegar Syndrome back log. So the sleaze is back, dear readers.


212 07/09 Straight Outta Compton (2015) 3.5/5   The story of NWA is a great story to tell. The performances are great, especially Ice Cube’s kid who plays his dad. I watched the extended director’s cut and it goes on a bit too long frankly, with NWA’s story actually being done before the halfway mark which leaves all the solo stuff which is great for Ice Cube and Dr. Dre, but also means that MC Ren and DJ Yella practically disappear. Still, it’s well done and nails the culture of the era and how stupid the rap business can be. Once again I feel like I would have rather watched a documentary.


213 07/09 Johnny Belinda (1948) 3.5/5   Jane Wyman stars as a deaf/mute girl who is getting help from a town doctor, only there’s a darkness to Cape Breton small time life. Wyman does a great job, and the unsavory subject matter is handled will in this one. It’s best described as a “woman’s picture” from the era, but it plays almost like a film noir.


214 07/10 Detour (1945) 4/5   An essential noir title that I finally got around to watching. A piano player decides to hitchhike from New York to Los Angeles, and gets into the wrong car. It’s a lean number that just completely works and this guy gets hammered maybe the hardest by the wrong set of circumstances and the wrong woman. Essential viewing.


215 07/10 The Hearse (1980) 2.5/5  A woman recovering from a breakdown decides to move into her aunt’s country house and discovers a satanic history and things that go bump in the night. It never really gelled for me and poor Joseph Cotton deserved better movies that this.


216 07/12 Malibu High (1979) 3/5   From the looks of it, this is one of those dopey titty High School comedies that were so popular. It’s not. It’s actually a rather messed up film about a girl who gets dumped and gleefully enters into a prostitution racket. It’s sort of played for laughs, but nothing lands and despite the pacing/cheapness issues it has, it actually works as a low budget neo-noir.


217 07/12 Red Mob (1993) 2.5/5   Russia takes a stab at 80’s style action spectacle and it ends up a total mess. The plot makes zero sense. Something about an ex KGB trying to reconcile with his son and getting mixed up in some other KGB… I have no idea. The action gets bonkers in the second half and the last third is a helicopter chase that seems to last 5 days. It’s more a curiosity than it is “good”, but I have to admit, Sergey Veksler as “Nick” has some serious action chops. To bad he couldn’t transition to western made films.


218 07/12  Journey Into Fear (1942) 3.5/5   The last film Orson Welles delivered to RKO, it’s directed by Norm Foster but Welles’ hand is all over it. Joseph Cotton (who is great in this and carries the film) is an arms dealer in Turkey who gets mixed up in some Nazi intrigue. It’s lean and sharp, but not as good as Welles’ other noir pictures.


219 07/14 Jackie (2016) 3/5   What makes this one interesting is also the problem. The film tells Jackie Kennedy’s story of the days of the assassination. As an assassination nut, it’s interesting and actually something that tends be glossed over. So it’s interesting in that regard, but it also relegates her story to that of “grieving widow” and I’m sure she had a lot more going on than that. It’s a shame since everyone is so good in it.


220 07/14 Sweet Sugar (1972) 4/5   I may be a little biased on this one. Way back in the VHS days dad brought this one home and we watched it late on a Friday night. My intro to the sleazy Women In Prison genre, and at around 12 years old I probably shouldn’t of watched it. It left a mark since it’s so bonkers. Hooker Sugar gets roped into working in a sugarcane plantation run by “Doctor John”, a nut who uses the women for strange experiments. Add in voodoo and this one really is one of the better examples of the genre. It doesn’t hurt that lead Phyllis Davis can carry the film with both her beauty and brawn.


221 07/15 Nurse Sherri (1978) 2.5/5   This one mixes up Satanic possession with the nurse genre and ends up being a real mess despite attempting to be ambitious on no budget. It never works. There’s an alternate cut that puts the sex first over the horror that is supposed to be better, I may check it out at some point.


222 07/15 Mildred Pierce (1945) 4/5   Joan Crawford revitalized her career for the first of many times with this one. She plays a mother that would do anything for her child. It sounds like a melodrama, but it plays like a noir and a dark one at that. Crawford is fantastic, the script is razor sharp and consummate pro director Michael Curtiz nails it. Recommended.

 

Movie A Day!: Imitation of Jacks

Another mixed bag of a week. Sort of. I decided to watch some un-watched Criterion Collection discs this month, which lead me to watching all my David Lynch titles that are not in boxes in prep for re-watching Twin Peeks before the new series. Despite only two of those Lynch titles where from Criterion. Mix that up with some oldies and a cheeky Vinegar Syndrome title and it’s not a bad week at all.


136 05/07 The Incredibly Strange Film Show: Russ Meyer (1988) 3/5   A very well done biography on Meyer hosted by Jonathan Ross that manages to hit all points of his career included his start as a combat photographer in WWII. It also shows a clip of a possibly 8 hour documentary that Meyer was working on his own life that would of been amazing but was apparently never finished. A real shame. I would love to see a proper feature length doc on this man.


137 05/07 Imitation of Life (1959) 4/5   Lana Turner stars in this soapy melodrama from Douglas Sirk about a struggling, mature actress in New York who befriends a black housekeeper, Alice (played by Juanita Moore, and she is fantastic) and together they find success. Well, sort of, they stay in their roles based on race and that’s really what this movie is about. Alice has a real struggle with her rebellious, white passing daughter that is far more interesting than the trials that Turner has that leave her in a near constant state of helpless hysteria. You can clearly see a through-line from these style of Sirk pictures to John Waters since his characters are always in the same state hysteria. Anyway, this was pretty great since you don’t think of these sort of topics in 50’s films. Also, Sirk really is great at this stuff. He has a workmanlike sense of direction, but it’s pretty perfect.


138 05/07 Blue Velvet (1986) 4/5   After Dune floundered, David Lynch somehow got the chance to make a film closer to his sensibilities first explored in Eraserhead. It was interesting watching this one on the back of Imitation of Life since they have a pretty similar world of 1950’s like innocence, only Lynch’s small midwest town is a perverted nightmare. Jeffrey, played by Kyle MacLachlan, finds and ear in a field and becomes obsessed with solving it’s mysteries that leads him to a world of pain. Dennis Hopper is absolutely brilliant as the force of nature Frank, Isabella Rossellini is fantastic as the damage nightclub singer Dorothy and Laura Dern manages to hold her own as the symbol of everything good, the girl next door. It’s aged very well, and still holds all it’s power to remain one of Lynch’s best films.


139 05/09 Wild At Heart (1990) 4/5   David Lynch does the Wizard of Oz as a bonkers Elvis inspired road movie with Nicolas Cage and Laura Dern starring as Sailor and Lula who spend most of the film either ruminating or fucking. It has no business being as good as it is. Lynch went genuinely weird with this one and it completely works. Willem Dafoe is unforgettable in his small role and it’s fun to see legends Harry Dean Stanton and Diane Ladd go a bit bonkers. Crispen Glover, man, priceless. I’m too much of a Lynch fanboy to call this one my favourite, but it just might be.


140 05/11 Champion (1949) 4/5   Kirk Douglas takes the lead in this boxing noir about a guy and his handicap brother who is on the skids so Kirk gets into the fight game for the money. It starts off pretty standard, but soon Douglas’s mercilous ambition creeps through and the emotional bloodletting eclipses what’s in the ring. I don’t think I have seen Douglas more unlikable in a movie. This one was a real treat, and recommended.


141 05/11 Mulholland Dr. (2001) 3.5/5   David Lynch’s Neo-Noir about an actress caught up in a mystery is considered a classic, but I just can’t get into it. It’s gorgeous, everyone is on point, it’s delightfully “Lynch-ian” and I can’t knock a thing about it. I have just never warmed to it. Maybe I’ll “get it” the next time I watch it.


142 05/12 Funny Face (1957) 4/5   I really enjoyed this one. Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire star in this musical about a frumpy beatnik girl that gets whipped up into the world of high fashion. Hepburn is far too adorable to be frumpy, but she’s surprisingly good in this musical and manages to steal the film with her avant-garde beatnik ballet sequence in a cafe that’s supposed to be played for laughs. Astaire more than holds his own and it’s all looking spectacular under the direction of the legendary Stanley Donen, who also directed one of my all time favourite films, Singing in the Rain. It’s crazy that it’s taken me this long to watch this one.


143 05/12 Her Wicked Ways (1983) 3/5 Jesie St. James stars as a gold digging heiress who has just inherited a billion dollars and Joanna Storm is the daughter trying to get the money back in this adult romp directed by The Lewis Brothers. It’s not the greatest adult film you’ll ever see but it’s just so well done compared to the regular fare in the period that it it ends up being pretty fun. Storm is a real scene-stealer and definitely helps to keep the film moving. The Peekarama DVD from Vinegar Syndrome is a real winner.


144 05/13 One-Eyed Jacks (1961) 4/5   The only film that Marlon Brando directed is this western. I think it’s just me but I think it’s weird that his only directed film is a western. Seems weird, right? Anyway, this is a typical vengeance tale with Brando’s Rio seeking out old partner Karl Malden’s “Dad” Longworth who ditched him during a bank robbery. It’s a gorgeous film and done with the naturalistic acting style Brando was known for and just completely works. There’s a feeling of distance and brooding that is tricky for films to nail, and the support cast featuring Ben Johnson, Slim Pickens and Katy Jurado are all perfect as well. Recommended.

One-Eyed Jacks also ended up being the last film shot in VistaVision so I managed to watch two VistaVision films over the weekend. You just never know what’s going to happen when you blindly watch stuff.  Isn’t the world marvellous?

Hold your loved ones tight.

Movie A Day! 041-45: Deceptive Practice

A real mixed bag in this post. Regional sleaze, bikers, magic, and two very different noirs. Movies are fun guys!


041 02-01 Murder on the Emerald Sea (1973) 3/5
Vinegar Syndrome do it again, digging out a previously thought lost film, this time presented on an extremely limited edition DVD. Someone is killing the winners of the “Artists & Models” ball on the fancy cruise ship Emerald Seas, so a detective gets rooked into going undercover in drag to solve the mystery. This one might be one of the campiest films I’ve seen in a long time, and while it’s certainly cheap and goofy, it was pretty funny. Plus they somehow got Henny “Take my wife, please!” Youngman and Johnny “Tarzan” Weissmuller to cameo in it. Maybe if you’re lucky, VS will stream it on there streaming application when it goes live, see last blog for details.


042 02-02 Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay (2012) 4/5
Ricky Jay is arguably the best card magician living today. Most will probably recognize him from his acting career in such films as BOOGIE NIGHTS and the TV series DEADWOOD. I’m a huge fan, and as such I really enjoyed this documentary. It follows his path and career in magic. He’s cagey about personal details, says he left his family when he was seventeen but never explains the details. Instead he goes into the lives and experiences with the magicians he learned from. Lots of great clips, card tricks that will melt your brain in ways that flashy magicians like David Copperfield and even my beloved Penn & Teller never do. So it gets a recommend from me both as a look at Ricky Jay, and as a history of card magic.


043 02-05 The Stranger (1946) 4/5
Orson Welles directs this one, playing a Nazi war criminal hiding in a small American town, with with war crimes special agent Edward G. Robinson hot on his heels. This one is a top notch noir and Welles’ direction is stunning. Even basic set-ups are dazzling in composition. Add in a dead on cast (Loretta Young more than holds her own as Welles’ unknowing wife) and a tight script and this is one hell of a film. The only problem with it is that it slipped into public domain, so it’s tricky to find a copy that does the cinematography justice. The version I watched was shit transfer wise, but it’s such a damned fine film that you can look past it. I’ll have to track down a better copy.


044 02-06 Scarlet Street (1945) 4/5
Edward G Robinson is at his meekest in this noir directed by the great Fritz Lang. He plays a schlubby, lovesick clerk who runs into a girl one night, and ends up getting manipulated in typical Femme Fatale fashion. Lang pulls no punched, the film is desperate from the start and the fall seems never ending. One of the more emotionally brutal noirs you’ll see.


045 02-07 Angels From Hell (1968) 3/5
Pretty much a lost genre now, the biker picture. This one was quite fun though. A guy comes back to town, gets his bike gang back together and start hell raising all over town. It’s funny that they try to portray the gang sympathetically as people who just want to their own thing without hassle from society, man, a be free! The problem is, they’re a bunch of assholes. so you never really feel sorry for the guy as he tries to keep his gang together and what not. Still fun though.

It was interesting watching these. Edward G. Robinson was considered a leading man. I couldn’t imagine someone looking like he does being a leading man these days. Times sure have changed, we’re much more superficial right? I think the closest actor we have to him would be Paul Giamatti, who is about hundred times better looking, but rarely gets leading parts despite being amazing in everything he does.

A friendly reminder, it would be cool if you could kick some bucks to the Vinegar Syndrome crowdfunder I talked about last time since they are in their final week.

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

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! 021-025: “Gone, Really Gone, Girl!”

Here we are with two movies you might actually watch! Balanced with some filth and another Doctor Who.

021 01-15 Touch Me (1971) 3/5
Cracked open another one of Vinegar Syndromes PEEK-A-RAMA sets. This one features three films (CRY FOR CINDY, TOUCH ME and the previously lost ACT OF CONFESSION, 4 if you count an alternate version of CRY FOR CINDY. Those VS folks really know how to deliver the seedy goods) by Anthony Spinelli who did such good work on SEXWORLD. This first film pre-dates DEEP THROAT and is in the “classic”, for it’s time, educational style. A psychiatrist is introducing the viewer to the form of therapy known as “Encounter Groups” because the stress of the modern world and Vietnam has us all hung up man! It’s all an excuse to eventually getting around to showing people having sex, with the BS documentary form in place to try to give the film merit so the makers don’t get chucked in the clink for being dirty pornographers. Anyway, this was one of the best of this type that I’ve seen with the writing more sincere than these typically are (no “professors” telling their students to whack off to playboy like in the Ed Wood written one) and the Doctor, while a total quack (and not actually a real doctor of course) actually coming off as concerned for the mental health of the “patients”. It’s also in form with others from the era where it’s mostly a softcore picture with hardcore inserts, until the final reel or so anyway. So as a porn flick, you can do better on a tube site. As a relic of a forgotten era though, it’s a fun watch.

022 01-16 Gone Girl (2014) 4/5
Finally got my hands on the latest David Fincher film and it didn’t disappoint. Technically perfect like all his films, I loved this noir throwback. The less you know the better, go with the ride and you’re in for a real treat as this one could sit quite comfortable at the table with VERTIGO and LAURA. Affleck has never been better, we can stop shitting on him for PEARL HARBOR and ARMAGEDDON, he’s the real deal. Rosamund Pike is no slouch either, and I’ll leave it at that out of fear of spoilers.

023 01-17 Doctor Who S02E02 (6parts) – The Dalek Invasion of Earth (1964) 3.5/5
This is the story that should have been the season opener! The Doctor, FINALLY get’s the group back to contemporary London at their regular size, only to find London decimated by a Dalek invasion! The Daleks are enslaving humans, turning some of them into cyborg guards, to mine into the earths core so they can get their hands on the magnetism. I mean come on, how badass are the Daleks? Anyway, the Doctor solves everything, but the most notable aspect of this one is, he leaves his granddaughter Susan behind with only one shoe! She’s fallen for some guy, and he thinks it’s best for her to stay, even though she doesn’t want to! The Doctor is such an asshole! Looking forward to the next one now since I’m curious if they acknowledge the Dalek decimation of Earth as cannon or some dumb alternate dimension type thing.

024 01-17 Rush (2013) 3/5
This movie proves that even one of the most boring sports to watch, auto racing of any type, can make for an exciting movie. Or it’s just me oddly enjoying movies based on sports I hate. Anyway, this tells the true story James Hunt and Niki Lauda, sport rivals in the Formula 1 circuit in the 70’s. Ron Howard does a good job on his second car picture (GRAND THEFT AUTO was his first, it’s arguably better), and the actors are fine I guess. I mean, Thor plays the handsome Brit playboy Hunt and some guy no one’s heard of plays the miserable German, it’s about as base and stereotypical as two real people can be. Still, it’s a good one worth checking out, though admittedly I’d rather just watch an actual documentary.

025 01-17 Cry For Cindy (1976) 3/5
Anthony Spinelli goes for tragedy in this adult film from the porno chic era. It tells the story of Cindy, a girl who gets into hooking to help get her boyfriend through doctor school. It’s told as a remembrance from the people who knew her, since the film pretty much starts with her suicide. Hits all the plot points you would expect, but manages to hold your interest. Not for least the near constant queefing of Cindy on the soundtrack. Drinking game!

After a few days, if you think too hard about GONE GIRL it doesn’t make a lot of sense. But like Fincher’s THE GAME, it’s still a hell of a ride, plot issues or no. I’m already itching to watch it again. I also knocked half a star off RUSH. I really would rather just watch a documentary on the two racer guys. They lived a public life, their races were all taped. Just make a fucking documentary already!

That’s about it for this posting. I’m exhausted and can’t think of much to write.

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