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! : 123-129 – The End of May

Right, having started binge watching “Breaking Bad” has cut into a lot of my movie watching, which is why there was no post last week. Plus it’s the end of the month, so I figured let’s wrap it all up. Was everyone okay? My lack of posting didn’t cause anyone concern?

First, let’s look at the movies I watched the last week of May. A really good documentary and some kick-ass Kung-Fu beside the usual porn and garbage!

123 05-25 Rewind This! (2013) 3.5/5
This one was a really good documentary on the rise and fall of VHS. It concentrates on the collectors, but also gives a good history of the first VHS/Beta tapes, sell through etc. I love these type of documentaries, as they both make me feel relieved that my collecting isn’t as insanely nerdy as others, and jealous of other collectors nerdy achievements and that they’re not seen as losers and have a peer group to hang with and stuff. I wonder what that’s like? Hanging out with a group of friends?

124 05-25 Miss Nymphet’s Zap-In (1970) 2.5/5
So, in 1968 a new sketch variety comedy show appeared on American television called “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.” It was pretty hip stuff, very sixties and made fun of American pop culture while celebrating it. It proved to be popular enough that the Godfather of Gore himself, Herschel Gordon Lewis, decided to go back to his nudie cutie roots and make a sexy spoof. This is the result. So painfully bad and cheap that Lewis used a pseudonym. When I say “bad and cheap” I of course mean by Lewis standards, which were shockingly low to begin with. We’re talking cheaper than Ed Wood here. Basically it’s a quick series of the worst puns and jokes disguised as skits, interspersed by staggeringly high/disinterested topless go-go dancers, and a group of people walking in a circle and fake freeze framing while shouting “ZAP!” Being from 1970, it’s completely out of touch with the audience it’s trying to attract. Too stupid for the comedy to be a draw, and with softcore transitioning to hardcore, to tame to draw the perverts. Actually, it’s too stupid to be anything but a curio really. The version I watched was in pretty rough shape, so Vinegar Syndrome gave it away! Free movie HERE! (Pay if you can)

125 05-25 Breaking Bad Season 2 (2009) 3.5/5
Not as exhilarating as the first season, but still a damn fine show. Nuff said.

126 05-25 Lady Whirlwind (1972) 3/5
So after the near constant complaining I’ve been doing recently over the “4 Action Movie Pack” set with the Gary Busey movie, I ended up buying a “Martial Arts Marathon” double feature disc by the same company. I will NEVER learn from my mistakes! This one is the second movie in the set, based on the cover art, but the first film on the disc based on the menu when you load it. It’s a proper 1970’s Hong Kong, Kung-Fu picture, so the first thing you have to do is turn on the shitty English dub track and turn off the subtitles. The only way to watch these is via the bad, Australian sounding dub tracks. I don’t know if the film is more dramatic in it’s original Mandarin, I will never know since I love watching these types of movies with the shitty dubs. Basic plot is “Lady Whirlwind” is after some guy who broke her sisters heart, causing the sister to commit suicide. Ends up the guy has his own vendetta going, and he asks Lady Whirlwind to hold off on kicking his ass so he can kick some other guys ass and fulfill his vengeance vow first. So it’s really convoluted, and the bad thing is that once the guy shows up, the film follows him more centrally than Lady Whirlwind. Which is a shame since Lady Whirlwind is really kick ass and the girl don’t need no man taking over her film! That said, the fights are pretty great and the movie moves and that’s good enough since I’m going to blow my brains out if I type “Lady Whirlwind” one more time.

*Just found the above poster. To cash in on “Deep Throat” it was released as “Deep Thrust”, despite not having anything remotely sexual in content. LOVE IT!

127 05-29 Hapkido (1972) 3.5/5
This one was the second film in the set with “Lady Whirlwind”, and boy was it good! Released the same year and also featuring Angela Mao, the basic plot is that of a trio of Chinese Hapkido students returning to China to open a school to help the Chinese people living under ruthless Japanese occupation. Of course, their peaceful plan doesn’t last long and a series of excellent shit-kicking Kung-Fu fights proceed. One of the trio is Sammo Hung, looking impossibly young and holy hell can he fight. This double feature set was a steal at $10, which is a good thing since I just received a 4-pack of martial arts movies from the same company. Remember, if it’s 70’s Kung-Fu, WATCH IT WITH THE SHITTY ENGLISH DUB!

128 05-30 Pretty Peaches 3 : The Quest (1989) 3/5
This is the second film in the Vinegar Syndrome double feature by Alex de Renzy. This one is again as much of a remake as opposed to a sequel, with the plot being pretty much the same. In this one Peaches (played by Keisha) is once again having confusing sexual dreams and heads out on a spiritual quest of sexual enlightenment. This one definitely has a cheaper budget, and framed for a direct to video release. That said, it actually has better production design, with the first few sex scenes having a surprisingly glossy and surreal look to them. The performances are on the whole better, with Jamie Gillis as a “Jimmy Stewart” pervo preacher and Jack Baker is genuinely hilarious as a tricky pimp. Being made this late in the 80’s, and on the cusp of the gonzo revolution, this one plays a bit like a last grasp by the filmmaker to make a proper narrative feature. He would make a few more in the 90’s, but will primarily concentrate on loop carriers that feature the word “anal” in the title under the pseudonym “Rex Borsky.” Anyway, it’s a lot better than I remember it from back in the 90’s when I more interested as porn as a device than a form and it should be interesting to see de Renzy’s earlier films since I’ve only seen a handful of his work.

129 05-31 Eat My Dust (1976) 3/5
This one is a Roger Corman produced car crash comedy. There was a bunch of car crash movies in the 70’s, “The Gumball Rally”, “Smokey & the Bandit”, lots of them! This one stars Ron Howard as a kid who steals a stock car off a track in order to impress a girl, and they take off on a massive car chase. It’s actually not bad considering the only reason Ron Howard agreed to star in it was for the chance to direct his first movie which ended up being for Roger Corman. We’ll get to that one next blog.

There it is! Corman!, Kung-Fu! TV! Wowsers! Let’s look at my totals for the month:

26  Watched    24 First Timers   0 In Theaters

Rats! I’m still off for a stupid movie a day! Sadly, most of it is due to added responsibility from Dad being so sick, he’s been in hospital since January. Which isn’t fun. Of course, watching a TV series is going to cut into the watching too. These days though, TV is better than most movies which is why I haven’t lost any sleep about not going to the theater.

Movie of the month: It’s a tie. I’m going with “Wolf of Wall Street” and that shitty “Bulletproof” with Gary Busey. The goddamned thing HAUNTS ME! Runner up is “Pretty Peaches 2” and “Rewind This!”.  Oh, and “Hapkido”. That one was pretty awesome too.

This month sucked, bring on June. I’m debating having a dark period for the summer where I turn off Twitter and Facebook. If I do, I’ll keep posting this blog.

The End

Movie a Day : 118-122 – “What if it was your sister?”

Ha! I bet you all thought I bailed on this blog since it didn’t get posted at the start of the week. I fooled you! It’s been crazy busy both here in the bunker and at work, I just didn’t have the time to get this together.

Why does spring yard work have to be so hard? I planted a vegetable garden that features more than just the usual potato. I have high hopes for corn and blueberries this year. I know that blueberries are not a vegetable. I have no idea if I’m watering them enough or too much, and I’m pretty sure some flowers in the front bed are dead. I’m watering them anyway just in case. This is stressful stuff. As a result, I didn’t get many movies in and I’m late with the blog. At least you get it this week, and on a Friday so you can waste time at work!

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118 05-17 Pretty Peaches 2 (1987) 3/5
This is the first of what is presumed to be many releases of the films of Alex De Renzy by Vinegar Syndrome. Who’s that? Why, he’s one of the legendary porn producers of the golden age who worked right up into the 90’s when the industry flipped from being film based to video product. Anyway, this is the first half of a double feature. Basic plot is a porn take on “Candide”, where Peaches goes out on an exploration to discover sex. It’s got some fun performances by legends Ron Jeremy and Jamie Gillis, not to mention 80’s star Tracey Adams as Peaches domineering mom, but it’s also so sex heavy that it’s practically a loop carrier as opposed to a proper narrative film (not a complaint). Which is ultimately the point of these films, especially in the pre-gonzo video age. Still a fun movie, and pretty good looking seeing as it was shot on film instead of video.

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119 05-18 Bamboo Gods & Iron Men (1974) 2/5
So after watching that awesomely dumb Gary Busey film last week, I sat down to the movie I actually bought the set for. Of course it wasn’t very good. It’s an odd mash-up of martial arts and blaxploitation, so you can understand my disappointment when it ended up not being the greatest movie ever made. Basic plot is, an American boxer visiting the Hong Kong (the Philippines, since Vic Diaz is in it) on his honeymoon gets mixed up with a cartel when he buys a Buddha that has some ancient formula in it. Anyway, it’s dumb with bad fight scenes, corny gags and “Black” Cal Jefferson is no “Blackbelt Jones” Jim Kelly.

http://couchtimejill.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/breakingbad1.jpg

120 05-18 Breaking Bad Season 1 (2008) 4/5
Not sure if you guys and gals have heard of this one. It’s a TV show that ran on some channel about a high school science teacher who gets diagnosed with cancer and starts cooking meth. It’s pretty good.

(By “pretty good” I mean it’s fucking great. Been watching it with mum, and mum’s going out of her god damned mind. I might have to cut her off. Lots has been written about the show, so nuff said.)

https://www.movieposter.com/posters/archive/main/138/MPW-69171

121 05-19 Trackdown (1976) 2/5
So Robert Mitchum had a son who was born with the same iconic sleepy eyes, so of course he had be an actor in the movies. This is one of those movies! I’m guessing being a more redneck Mitchum wasn’t in demand, since this is a pretty low budget sleaze fest. Jim Mitchum plays a redneck from Montana who treks out to Los Angeles to look for his runaway sister. She of course got mixed up with a prostitution ring. So Mitchum has to team up with Eric Estrada from “CHIPS” to try to save her. It’s all a bit of a mess, and plays like a redneck version of “Dirty Harry” or “Death Wish”. Mitchum is a terrible actor, especially when compared to his old man, but Estrada is pretty good. Still, not worth watching.

Love this poster I found, obviously to cash in on both Eric Estrada after he broke big with “CHIPS” and Cathy Lee Crosby who was hosting “That’s Incredible” at the time and completely cuts out Mitchum.

https://i2.wp.com/blogs.commercialappeal.com/the_bloodshot_eye/poster/festsc.jpg

122 05-21 Scorchy (1976) 1.5/5
This one is the last film in that 4 movie set that included “Trackdown”, “Bamboo Gods & Iron Men” and that dumb Busey “Bulletproof”. This one features Connie Stevens as an undercover agent trying to crack down on drug dealers in Seattle who are smuggling dope in a larger Buddha than the one featured in Bamboo Gods. So “smuggling drugs in Buddhas” is apparently a sub-genre I never knew existed. Anyway, it’s a piece of shit that plays like a crappy TV Movie. Who is Connie Stevens anyway? She’s the type of actress that everyone seems to know by name, but for what? Her IMDB page doesn’t feature any amazing movies. Or am I just being miserable since the best movie in this stupid set was the Gary Busey one?

Not a total loss for a weeks worth of viewing. The best was Breaking Bad, by far. Now that the hooks are in, we’re on season 2 and that’s taking up a lot of the movie watching time. So there might not be a movie blog next week. I’ll see if I get 5 or more titles. I might post something else. I’ll see how it goes.

The End