Movie A Day!: Disconnected End Of The Violent Years

Here it is, the last post of 2017. All the films I watched since the last post. It’s a big one. It’s fitting though since I’ve decided to end the blog. My goal was to keep this going for the full year, and I did that. Anyone reading this can tell it’s pretty much been coasting, and that’s my fault. Better to end it than continue. I’m still going to be tracking my movie watching, that can be found on my Letterbox profile found here:

https://letterboxd.com/Ruz_El/

I’m going to attempt to pull back a bit online in 2018, and part of that will be not posting blogs where I can get personal. Anyone who read this blog, thank you from taking time out of your day to spend it here. Hopefully you found something of value or a new favourite.

I wish you all the best.

Disconnected Poster
479 12/17 Disconnected (1984) 3/5   I think this is the first feature by the team behind PSYCHOS IN LOVE, and I enjoyed it more. It’s technically a slasher, but it doesn’t play like one which helps to make it stand out. Worth checking out since it’s such an oddity.

Image result for Carol Burnett 50th Anniversary Special imdb
480 12/17 Carol Burnett 50th Anniversary Special (2017) 4/5   As far as I know Burnett was the only woman to solo host/have a variety show in the late 60’s that ran for 11 years. It was deadly funny, shot live with limited to no retakes and seemed to be as much a contest on which performer could crack the others up first. Amazing to watch the clips now with performers making eye contact and performing their guts out, in comparison with the SNL card reading extravaganza that passes for sketch comedy now. The clips are short, but this one makes it up with lots of remembrances from Burnett herself, who at 84 looks like she’s ready to jump back into the game.

Twenty Questions Poster
481 12/17 Twenty Questions (1988) 3/5   Documentary from Gorman Bechard shot in the 80’s but not released until now is a neat idea. Get twenty different people to answer the same twenty question cards and see the results. It goes on a little long at 60 minutes, but still, a good idea with a simple set-up.

Liquid Sky Poster
482 12/22 Liquid Sky (1982) 4/5   One of the more odd 80’s films. A day-glo look at the hip, underground fashion scene with drugs and assault being high on peoples list. And a UFO with an alien that gets high by fatally ingesting orgasms. It’s the type of gorgeous film that you want to just let envelope you, and more dark  than it appears when you think about it. Worth checking out.


483 12/22 The Hunt for the Zodiac Killer Season 1 (2017) 2/5   This history channel series piqued my interest since I’m obsessed with true crime and the Zodiac case is so bonkers. It ended up being goofy as hell, so ridiculous in presentation that even the cracking of part of one of the ciphers was underwhelming. Never mind the stupid super computer taught to think like the zodiac that they kept representing with a matrix-face for the extra stupid to comprehend. They basically ignore all the police work done in the past 50 years to go on wild goose chases that end up with nothing, and the final ep is a massive prick-tease for a season 2 that I’m sure I’ll hate-watch if it comes to fruition.

Image result for let's talk sex 1983
484 12/22 Let’s Talk Sex (1983) 3/5   Pretty typical porn for the era, this one visualizing the phone sex fantasies of some mopes calling into a goofy phone sex lines. It’s no classic, and has a horrible dubbed soundtrack, but ends up being better than the usual.

Festival Poster
485 12/23 Festival (1967) 4/5   Before the Monterey Pop Festival and Woodstock the times they were a changing at the Newport folk Festival. This documentary follows highlights from the 1963-1966 line-ups featuring clips from everyone from Bob Dylan to Mississippi John Hurt. The only complaint is that it’s not 10 hours long with full performances.


86 12/24 Trouble No More (2017) 3/5   A film showcasing live concert footage of Bob Dylan from his Christian years. It’s cut with clips of actor Michael Shannon delivering sermons and frankly none of it works. The live footage is great, but completely without any history or context. A better and more proper documentary of this period should have been made. It’s ridiculous that there’s still no decent concert films of Bob Dylan commercially available.

Farmers daughters poster.jpg
487 12/24 Farmer’s Daughters (1976) 3.5/5   Notorious porn roughie noted for starring acclaimed raconteur Spalding Gray, this one lives up to its hype. A trio of daughters assault a farm hand, only to end up on the receiving end of abuse from three escaped convicts. It’s ugly, but compelling at the same time with some editing tricks that defy it’s incompetence.

Wonder Woman Poster
488 12/25 Wonder Woman (2017) 4/5   In a world where all the superhero films seem to blur together, and it’s generally regarded that the DC universe post-Christopher Nolan Batman are basically terrible. So it’s nice that this one is so damn good. Gadot is fantastic as in the lead, both genuine and powerful in her depiction, the rest of the cast rises to the occasion with Chris Pine finally being appealing in a role. It’s never dips into cheesecake and I found myself getting teary eyed since it’s so rare to see women in action movies depicted like this. It’s great, I hope the director gets to do more.

War for the Planet of the Apes Poster
489 12/26 War For The Planet Of The Apes (2017) 4/5   Back in the 80’s, I had a ratty VHS tape in which I had the films “Bridge on the River Kwai” and “Apocalypse Now” and I watched it to death. Sometimes once a week. Never would I imagine that the Apes series would distill these two films into one of the best films I’ve seen this year. Emotional, amazing action and never once did I suspect that the apes weren’t real. It’s a remarkable achievement in a series that has been way better than it had any reason to be.

Donnie Darko Poster
490 12/27 Donnie Darko (theatrical cut) 4/5   Second time watching this version and it finally clicked for me. Lots has been written, I have nothing to add. It’s good.

491 12/27 Deus ex Machina: The Philosophy of Donnie Darko (2016) 3.5/5   A very well done making of documentary, mainly due to dealing with the people in the production as opposed to the actors.

Hail, Caesar! Poster
492 12/27 Hail, Caesar! (2016) 3.5/5   The Coen brothers take a look at the golden age of Hollywood. It’s a little bit of a mess, with kidnapping communists and what not, but I loved it. I have a soft spot for old Hollywood and this one really nails the period.

L'ambizioso Poster
493 12/28 The Climber (1975) 2.5/5   “Little Joe” Dallesandro stars in this Italian crime film about an American in Naples trying to find his way in the organized crime scene. It works, but adds up to nothing all that special since it pretty much stiks to genre conventions. Everything in this will be done better in dePalma’s SCARFACE.

Gimme Danger Poster
494 12/29 Gimme Danger (2016) 4/5   As perfect a documentary on Iggy & The Stooges you could hope for. As far as I can tell, every frame of film of the band in its prime is in here, though sadly none with sync-sound. At any rate, the only better telling of this story is the book Total Chaos. A must see, go buy the records.

Baltimore Rising Poster
495 12/29 Baltimore Rising (2017) 3/5   Documentary on the resistance movement in Baltimore in the wake of the Freddie Gray killing. Spends a little too much time with certain people as opposed to telling the whole story, so it’s a little hit a miss. Lays the ground for a better “Black Lives Matter” type documentary in the future.

Star Trek The Original Series season 3.png
496 12/31 Star Trek Season 3 (1969) 4/5   After literally years, I finally knuckled down and finished watching the original series. Generally considered a step down due to budget cuts, it’s still a damn fine season and I find the cheapness adds to the surreal, alien planets. Some good ideas are explored, and one of my favourite episodes – “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield”. Next year I may dive into the animated series.

The Violent Years Poster
497 12/31 The Violent Years (1956) 4/5   Of all the films to watch to send off the year I had to watch this one. As far as juvenile delinquent scare films go, you can do better. This one is known due to the Ed Wood Jr. script connection, but I have to admit, it’s a lot of fun. A good girl is running a girl gang, knocking off gas stations, raping guys, and getting tricked by communists?!?!? It’s goofy, but I’ve always enjoyed it since stumbling upon it in the VHS days. The new Blu-ray scan from AGFA is great and worth your time.

Advertisements

Movie A Day!: The Story of Running

Late posting this one despite not getting any movies in since the weekend. Put my back out and any sitting and typing was just not going to happen. Finally caught up today.

End of November and I hit 450 titles. Not bad.

Dzieje grzechu Poster
440 11/22 The Story Of Sin (1975) 3/5   Walerian Borowczyk follows up Immoral Tales and the still shocking The Beast with this one, a quieter picture about a young woman who falls for a man, and keeps falling, pretty much out of society. While not as explicit as the previous two films, the look of this one is gorgeous and despite not finding it the most exciting film pacing wise, I have to admit it’s sticking with me. I’ll be revisiting it in the future.

Possessed Poster
441 11/23 Possessed (1947) 4/5   Joan Crawford takes the lead in another cracking noir, this one playing almost like a horror film. Crawford plays a woman obsessively in love with a man who is not in love with her in return. It feels a bit against type for Crawford, seeing her playing a weaker role compared to the man eaters she is typically known for, she’s fantastic. This one is well worth your time.

Stranger on the Third Floor Poster
442 11/24 Stranger On The Third Floor (1940) 3.5/5   A young reporter is the prime witness at a murder trial, and has doubts about his testimony that leads to a conviction. Then Peter Lorre shows up. This one was a tight film noir dripping with paranoia and suspense. Lorre doesn’t get much to do, but steals his scenes anyway, but the real treat is how good John McGuire and Margaret Tallichet are who are the actual leads in the film. I’m not familiar with them, but they carry film. Pack in a ton of style with the direction and this one is short, sweet and suspenseful fun.

Next up, a series of short films from Gorman  Bechard, the director of Psychos In Love and found on the Vinegar Syndrome Blu-ray.

443 11/25 The Only Take (1985) 2/5   Short film from that is more of a one joke sketch. It is what it is. To tell anymore would ruin the joke.

444 11/25 Bartholemew (1982) 2/5   A short about a man having a breakdown due to an overbearing mother. Nothing too exceptional.

445 11/25 Objects in the Mirror Appear Further Than They Appear (2001) 3/5   Decent short that tells the story (all told in narration) of a prostitute that runs into trouble. Told mostly in stills, it’s creative and works.

Next up, the first animated short films from Walerian borowcyzk and found on the Arrow Academy Blu-ray of Story of Sin.

446 11/25 Once Upon A Time (1957) 3.5/5   A really fun, colourful and creative cut-up animated short from Walerian Borowcyzk.

447 11/25 Dom (1959) 3/5   More experimental and surreal cut-up short than Once Upon A Time, it’s a huge step forward for Borowcyzk.

448 11/25 School (1958) 2.5/5   This one features a soldier all filmed and animated from still photographs. It’s impressive but not as full fulfilling as Borowcyzk’s other shorts.

Snowpiercer Poster
449 11/25 Snowpiercer (2013) 4/5   Finally got around to this one and loved. Deals with some big ideas, big ideas that feel like prophecy as each day passes, while maintaining an action hook that never lets up. My second South Korean film watched this year that takes place completely on a train, I never would have guessed I’d be such a fan of this genre.

Long Time Running Poster
450 11/26 Long Time Running (2017) 3.5/5   Documentary following the Tragically Hip on their last tour after Gord Downey was diagnosed with Cancer. It’s good and worth watching but I can’t help but feel there’s a better, longer form documentary to be had to tell their story.

Scary Movie Challenge 2017: Part 6

My apologies for a insanely long post. The past three days saw me in the theatre for DEDfest and only home for sleep. So no time to update since I’m old and too fat fingered to do it on my phone.

Another Son of Sam Poster
347 10/19 Another Son Of Sam (1977) 2/5   This one would be better titled “Nothing To Do With Son of Sam.” Not even the great Johnny Charro can make it interesting.

Related image
348 10/19 Effects (1980) 2/5   George Romero’s film crew make their own film about a group of filmmakers get a little too realistic with the special effects. It’s not as interesting as it sounds with the team seemed more intent on filming drug use than horror/gore.

Image result for man from deep river
349 10/19 Sacrifice! (aka The Man From Deep River) (1971) 3/5 Seeing how director Umberto Lenzi passed away I gave this one another spin. It plays it pretty straight considering the impact it had with slowly kickstarting the Italian Cannibal Genre. A photographer goes deep into the Thai jungle after killing a man in self defence. There’s more nudity than usual for these, but sadly there’s way too much animal cruelty.

Image result for radius 2017
350 10/19 Radius (2017) 3.5/5   High concept suspense in this one about a man who survives an “event” with no memory and a strange malady that cause death at a certain radius. The film plays like a slow burn X-Files, and has a couple of interesting twists to keep you interested.

351 10/19 Latched (2017) 3.5/5   A pretty great short film about a young woman and her toddler that find a strange carcass in the woods. This one doesn’t feel like a demo reel, and instead tells a tight story perfectly.

Image result for beyond skyline
352 10/19 Beyond Skyline (2017) 3.5/5   The first “Skyline” was a nothing special alien invasion movie. This one takes that concept and completely remakes it into a completely bananas action film with aliens, giant monsters, kung-fu with some of the cast from The Raid, it’s got everything and keeps the pace going constantly and manages to be a ton of fun.


353 10/20 Blackenstein (1973 Theatrical Version) 2.5/5   This is one that regularly gets slammed for being terrible. And it is “bad”, but I found it fun bad. Everything about it is a bit too cheap but they go for it with aplomb which is better than some of these low budget films.


354 10/20 Psychos In Love (1987) 3/5   I’m not typically a fan of horror comedy of this stripe, but this one managed to mostly charm me. A couple of psychos fall in love. It’s never tries to be more than it is, and has a self awareness that I think saves it.


355 10/20 Orgy Of The Dead (1965) 3/5   This is not a good film. A couple go driving looking for a graveyard and stumble upon an Orgy of the Dead! The orgy being a bunch of tedious striptease acts. What makes it bearable is the Ed Wood Jr. connection, with Criswell as the head of the Orgy and Wood’s goofy dialog. It makes for a charming take on the typical dreadful nudies of the era. The Vinegar Syndrome blu-ray looks so gorgeous it’s unbelievable.

Transmission Poster
356 10/20 Transmission (2017) 2/5   Short film supposedly about Brexit but plays more like a take on Incident At Owl Creek. Didn’t do much for me.

Image result for the lodgers 2017
357 10/20 The Lodgers (2017) 3.5/5   Irish gothic horror about two siblings living in an old secluded house. Slow starter but gets creepy and turns into an atmospheric ghost story by the end.

Image result for game of death 2017 imdb
358 10/20 Game Of Death (2017) 3/5   Jumanji re-imagined as a splatter-fest as millennials discover a cursed board game. This one was a lot of fun that has style and gore to spare. Being a miserable old geezer though means I can’t identify or care about any of the protagonists.

Image result for bad black imdb
359 10/20 Bad Black (2016) 3.5/5   Uganda action film that looks like it could be shot on cell phones barely makes any sense but has so much energy you forget about it. It was not only a ton of fun, but a surprise since my screening was at Dedfest and the filmmakers added in custom graphics and narration to appeal to Edmonton and the fest. Makes for an instant crowd pleaser, though I have to admit that early scenes featuring ghetto kids were more disturbing than fun.

Related image
360 10/21 Stealth & Silence: DC Comic Fan Film (2016) 2/5   Short film had tons of style and a cool fight scene but didn’t make much sense. You would have no idea about the DC Comics connection without reading the credits.

Image result for geek girls poster 2017
361 10/21 Geek Girls (2017) 3.5/5   A really  well done documentary on all aspects of women in geek culture. What made it interesting is that despite this being made during gamergate and the filmmaker having an opportunity to exploit and sensationalize, she kept the focus on the girls and their response.

Related image
362 10/21 Death On Scenic Drive (2017) 2.5/5   A woman house sitting in a remote acreage gets witch-y. This one had lots of style and some good ideas with atmosphere, but it was a little to precious which gave it some pacing/story problems to be completely successful.

Lowlife Poster
363 10/21 Lowlife (2017) 3.5/5   A grindhouse crime comedy about a group of separate people who come together over an organ harvesting crime lord. One of them is a Luchadore. This one does a great job with a gimmick to establish all the characters, and by dealing with mostly minorities and people who are perceived with stereotypes manages to really humanize them. It allows the filmmakers to rise above traditional exploitation to address some real world issues. Good stuff

364 10/21 Rite of Passage (2017) 2/5   Short film about a group of nuns reaping vengeance on a priest. It’s not as gripping as it sounds.

Image result for tigers are not afraid
365 10/21 Tigers Are Not Afraid (2017) 4/5   A dark fairy tale about kids orphaned from the cartel wars in Mexico trying to survive. To be able to make a horror film about such tragedy and still keep things hopeful makes this one a real gem. It’s going to be rattling around my brain for a while. Very highly recommended.

Liberami
366 10/22 Deliver Us (Libera Nos) (2016) 3/5   Documentary following a real Sicilian exorcist. This looked like abuse to me, with religion triggering mental illness more than actual demon possession. The filmmakers wisely depict what is happening without comment, leaving it up to you to decide.

367 10/22 It Began Without Warning: Phase 1 (2017) 2.5/5   Short film about murderous kids that is such a demo reel/proof of concept I’m surprised it was released as a short film.


368 10/22 Night Of The Living Dead (1968) 5/5   Beautifully restored, what’s left to say about the classic that defined an entire genre? Newly noticed from watching it on the big screen, Romero perfectly framed every shot. It’s easy to miss how talented he was despite his budgets.

Sequence Break Poster
369 10/22 Sequence Break (2017) 3/5   This one could best be described as “David Cronenberg’s Tron.” A young arcade game repairman gets a little too intimate with a strange machine that might be a doorway to another dimension. Gooey fun that was admirably more ambitious than its budget.  

370 10/22 Flow (2017) 2.5/5   Short film about a pair of women soldiers, it’s basically one joke played for six minutes that got made due to a kickstarter. Good on them, I guess.

Tragedy Girls Poster
371 10/22 Tragedy Girls (2017) 4/5   A couple of high school girls who are willing to kill to get followers, this is a pretty near perfect social media satire. The leads are both fantastic with the film having some fun set pieces as will as numerous nods to the horror genre. Recommended.

Image result for victor crowley imdb
372 10/22 Victor Crowley (2017) 4/5   The surprise Hatchet sequel is more than the same, which isn’t a bad thing. Gorey fun that continues to the perfect slasher throwback to the 80’s while still feeling fresh.