Movie A Day!: Naked Alien Double

A day late posting this one. Were you concerned for my well being? Huh? No? FINE!

My dip into snooty Criterion land continues with a side journey watching some De Palma and a actual trip to a theater to watch a first run film! What a week!


160 05/28 Naked Lunch (1991) 4/5   David Cronenberg tackles William Burroughs classic and instead of trying to replicate the novel he uses it as a framework to tell the biographical story of Burroughs life. I think it makes for a better film, and it’s as much a sci-fi/horror hybrid about the creative process as it is anything else. Peter Weller is fantastic as “William Lee”, the Burroughs cipher for the film, and the practical effects remain gooey in typical Cronenberg fashion. It all adds up to making an inspired film.


161 05/29 The Hidden Fortress (1958) 3.5/5   I primarily knew this one due to it having inspired George Lucas to create C-3P0 and R2-D2 in Star Wars. (It’s true! He says so in a special feature on the Criterion disc!) When I first saw it it left me flat, re-visiting it I really enjoyed it. It’s basically about a couple of peasants obsessed with gold, and is more of a comedy adventure than a Samurai epic starring Toshiro Mifune that I was first expecting on my first viewing. It’s as well done as anything Kurosawa has directed and is a lot of fun.

Alien: Covenant Movie Poster
162 05/31 Alien Covenant (2017) 4/5   Ridley Scott is back, continuing the story begun in Prometheus. I really enjoyed this one. It’s exploring some big ideas, faith over science, creation over compassion, it’s a Frankenstein film in mirror image, and the action bits deliver too so it never got bogged down. I’m looking forward to revisiting this one.


163 05/31 A Man Escaped (1956) 3.5/5   Blind bought this one on the cheap since it was a Criterion Collection title and I really enjoyed it. Basic plot is a french resistance fighter is imprisoned in Vichy France and tries to escape. What makes this one special is it is all the prison escape, meticulously shown in all it’s stages with no fat to stretch it out. It’s lean, and worth checking out.


164 06/02 Dressed to Kill (1980) 3.5/5   Fun revisiting this one. Brian De Palma at his most Hitchcock-ian, it holds up well despite from really messy gender politics for modern times. Regardless, the films moves and Nancy Allen is really good.


165 06/04 Scarface (1983) 4.5/5   Easily one of the most over the top films ever made, it shouldn’t work as well as it does. I think it’s because everyone plays it straight. Pacino is legit brilliant as rage-monster lead Tony Montana, and updating the old gangster film to modern day (well, early 80’s now) Miami was a stroke of genius. The three hour run time breezes by and this might be De Palma’s most perfect picture.

Image result for body double 1984 poster
166 06/04 Body Double (1984) 3.5/5   De Palma is back in Hitchcock-Land with this Rear Window/Vertigo mash-up that takes place in Porno-Land LA. It’s not as sleazy as I expected it to be, and I’m rating it probably lower than I should mainly because I didn’t care for the lead. That said, it’s a clever thriller that’s as much about the fake-ness of movies as it is anything else.

 

Until next time.

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Movie A Day! 061-070: Not As Long As You Think

Don’t worry, this post isn’t as huge as it looks. I haven’t gone back to the ten movie posts. I’ve had the week off work and have been watching tons of stuff while re-organizing my movie collection. So this one is larger than usual since I’ve combined some reviews.


061 02-19 The Naked Cage (1986) 2.5/5
062 02-19 Savage Island (1985) 1.5/5
These two are a couple of women in prison films that wrap up the CULT MOVIE MARATHON VOLUME 2 set that also had the previously reviewed ANGELS FROM HELL and the deliriously wonky CHATTER BOX. Anyway, Cage is about as 80’s as a film can get without shooting cocaine out of the screen. It’s a typical WIP film with an innocent girl getting wrongfully stuck in the clink and having to deal with lesbians and whatever. It’s funny enough, and since it’s from Cannon Films, it’s perfectly 80’s cheese that manages to barely hold your interest as it clicks through the tropes.
Savage Island stars Linda Blair (THE EXORCIST) as a woman who escaped from a deadly south american prison where women are slaved out and forced to work in an emerald mine. At least that what the opening and closing 5-10 minutes are about. The middle of the picture is an ineptly cut together hodge podge of two Italian WIP pictures dubbed over with the emerald plot. It doesn’t make any sense at all, and no amount of Linda Blair narration can help it.
So the set of four films kind of wimpers out, but considering this 4-pack can be found for $10, it’s not that bad of deal for the first disc.


063 02-19 They Made Me A Criminal (1939) 3.5/5
John Garfield stars as a boxer set up for murder who lams it’s to California and ends up working on a date farm with the Bowery Boys. It’s much better than that description would lead you to think, with a solid performance by Garfield, and mixing of film noir and juvenile delinquent films. Also, it was directed by Busby Berkeley who is better known for his amazing and crazy musicals. So it’s kind of neat to see a crime picture from him.


064 02-19 Big Bucks: The Press Your Luck Scandal (2003) 3.5/5
As promised last blog, I watched this special examining how Michael Larson figured out and ran up a record win on the game show. It’s a bit cheesey in presentation but the footage of the shows is absolutely riveting and fascinating. The Dollop podcast is funnier though.


065 02-20 For Single Swingers Only (1968) 2/5
066 02-20 Her Odd Tastes (1969) 3/5
067 02-20 Marsha the Erotic Housewife (1970) 2/5
It’s a Don Davis triple feature in this Vinegar Syndrome release. It’s a trio of sexploitation films, none of them all that great frankly. HER ODD TASTES stands out since it gets a bit wackier with a satanic bit and other weirdness. The other two are pretty typical sex films for the era.


068 02-20 The Counselor (2013) 2/5
I had no idea that Ridley Scott did a film between PROMETHEUS (which was really good) and EXODUS (I haven’t seen it yet, but it seems to have a lot of hate going at it, for the wrong reasons), but he did and this was it. Star power galore, with Michael Fassbender, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem, hell John Leguizamo even shows up in a cameo. The basic plot is about the title Counselor getting mixed up in a big drug deal, but man, does this movie have fat to chew. It’s written by Cormac McCarthy (THE ROAD), and it feels like the screenplay is full of the stuff that might be interesting in a novel but plays ridiculous on film. Forty five minutes go by before you have any idea what the crime is going to be, and then it plods on for another hour and a half, with more extraneous scenes like a literal car fucking that just shouldn’t be in the movie. Maybe it’s due to watching the extended versions, but typically the extended versions are Scott’s “Directors Cut”, which is why I always pick them That said, I wont be revisiting this one anytime soon to watch the theatrical.


069 02-21 Fantastic Orgy (1977) 2.5/5
070 02-22 Champagne Orgy (1978) 2/5
Another Carlos Tobalina Peekarama double feature from from Vinegar Syndrome finds the director throwing all plot to the wind and just flat out orgy’s. The first film seems to be made up from outtakes from other films, including footage that is flat out miss-shot with camera flare and whatnot. none of it makes any kind of logical sense, with scenes being cut all willy. The second feature has Tobalina himself in it, inviting the crew to a lavish champagne wrap party after shooting some dumb movie. This is all an excuse for more daft group sex scenes. FANTASTIC gets a bit of a bump due to the absolutely golden narration that attempts to make sense out of the nonsense.

See? That one wasn’t too bad. Other then the stupid Counselor movie that’s sticking in my craw.