Movie a Day! 045-051 The End Of February

It’s Friday and time for another blog! Let’s wrap up my watching from February eh? This one features everything from porn to classic television. Genre and taste be damned! When it comes to movies, YOU GOTTA WATCH ‘EM ALL!

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045 02-15 Devil on a Chain (2013) 3/5
Kimberly Kane, takes a stab at porno exploitation as opposed to her usual Alt/Gonzo work. It mostly works with a plot that moves the picture forward despite trying a bit too hard to be “exploitation” campy with vengeance genre tropes instead of playing it straight. Seeing as Kane is the director, there is a certain “girl power” element to this where even the female victim characters are better than the doofy guys. So that’s interesting. The only problem is the one that all modern non-gonzo porn has; and that’s the 20-30 minute sex scenes that grind everything to a halt. I’m guessing this is so that they can be cut out of the film and sold online individually. Shorter sex scenes to balance the plot and this could of been a real winner. Then again, most people probably aren’t watching this for the plot….

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046 02-16 Wakefield Poole’s Bible! (1973) 3/5
Here’s a weird one, hardcore gay porn pioneer Wakefield Poole does a softcore tribute to Disney’s “Fantasia”, using 3 stories from the bible. It starts off a bit slow with the Adam & Eve opener, but then Georgina Spelvin steals the show in the slapstick Bath Seba segment and the final Samson & Delila is straight up beautiful. It’s cheap and looks it, but it works. Another case of directorial passion overwhelming the meager means. Vinegar Syndrome out did themselves as usual with a feature packed disc and I doubt the film will ever look better.

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047 02-16 Salome (1943) 3/5
The last film in my Rita Hayworth set is the classic style of Bible picture that Hollywood is no longer known for: the Bible picture that uses religion as a background to push sleaze and sex past the censors. It all comes to a froth with Rita’s dance of the seven veils which is an astounding set piece that’s worth sitting through all the religious bullshit to get to.

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That’s the set above, picked up via an Amazon sale. Seeing as I paid the price that “Gilda” would of been on it’s own, it was a hell of a deal. Being more critical, “Gilda” was by far the best film, with the rest being merely okay musical/melodramas with musical bits in them. All the transfers look fine for DVD, the extras are practically non-existent. I give it 3/5.

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048 02-22 Ditto (1937) 2.5/5
049 02-22 Love Nest on Wheels (1937) 2.5/5
The last of Buster Keaton’s Educational Pictures shorts go out with a bit of a whimper. They feel like he was going through the paces to finish up a contract, but each still have a bit or two in them to keep you interested.

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That FINALLY finishes the massive Buster Keaton blu-ray set from Kino that I started in May 2013. Featuring, as far as I know, his complete independent silent output before signing with MGM. It’s pretty much essential viewing if you’re interested in silent comedy. I give it a 5/5 despite not having any particularly great extras like a documentary to put the films in context.

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050 02-22 Side Effects ( 2013 ) 4/5
Revisited this one on Blu-ray. It holds up really well on a second viewing. A pharmaceutical noir that gets really twisty but stays believable despite getting a bit out there plot wise. Man, I’m really going to miss getting new Soderbergh films if his retirement is real.

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051 02-27 I Love Lucy Season 1 (1951) 4/5
The first hit sitcom! I think, “The Honeymooners” might actually be first. At any rate, this was certainly one of the first. Mums other favourite show (the other favourite being “All in the Family”), so seeing as Dad isn’t doing too great in hospital I spin a couple of these a week to brighten her spirits. It’s a bit weird watching these in that they are pretty much the template for every sitcom that followed. So they seem familiar even though they are first time viewings for me, outside of clip shows of course. That said, they are on the whole deadly funny. Lucille Ball was one of the all time great comedians and clowns, and she really goes to town. Dezi and the supporting cast were no slouches either. Some of it, particularly gender rolls, will seem hopelessly outdated to modern viewers so best not to worry about it and just enjoy the comedy.

So there it is, February is at an end and we will march into March. Here’s my total viewing tally for February 2014:

17 Watched  15 First Timers  00 In Theaters 

So I have fallen behind my movie a day. Panic! Here’s where I was at last February:

29 Watched, 25 First Timers, 1 In Theaters

My overall total by the end of February in 2013 was 60 films. I’m 9 films off from last year and 8 films off for “A Move A Day”. I should be able to make that up. I hope. Let’s not panic yet.

Next week we should be able to wrap up all of march in a couple of posts. Then we’ll see if/how this blog will continue. Please share with your movie loving friends, “like” and do all that other social media stuff. My ego demand constant petting!

The End

Movie a day! 035-044 First Half of February

And the blog keeps rolling along! So Far I’ve kept up with my three posts a week that was my usual norm way back in the Benrik days. That said, I’ll be caught up soon, and then not so sure on what to blog about. Feel free to post suggestions in the comments!

Right, this is the first half of February. Before you get scared that it will be too long to read at your work, please remember that February is the short month and that it’s only ten or so titles long. We can get through this together guys, it’s will be fun!

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035 02-01 Justice League: WAR (2014) 2/5
This one’s the latest in the line of what are typically decent direct to video cartoons based on DC Comics. This one though was a bust. Maybe I’m suffering from DC overload and carrying too much baggage from their mostly shit “New 52” comic book launch. The plot of this one is basically the first 6 issue arc of their relaunched “Justice League” comic, which wasn’t the greatest thing ever published, but better than this adaptation. I think the main problem I have with this is that despite the animation quality being really good, the voice acting and character designs are overall so terrible that I can’t get into it. They have to bring back the voice team behind the original Batman/Superman cartoons. They’re’ still the best superhero adaptations to date. DC’s constant attempts to improve things that don’t need to be improved continue to hobble their properties.

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036 02-02 The Bling Ring (2013) 2.5/5
I’ve always considered myself a fan of Sofia Coppola’s work, but this film has me thinking I’m more wanting to be a fan, instead of an actual fan. Aside from “The Virgin Suicides” and “Lost in Translation”, I find that I want to like her work more than I do. This one is no exception. It’s inspired by the true events of some rich shithead teenagers who get the idea to bust into celebrities homes and rob them. I don’t know what I was expecting, but this movie just kind of flops out without ever really accomplishing anything. If it’s supposed to be as empty and vapid as the people who did the crimes, then I guess it’s a success. Just not a very engaging one.

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037 02-05 Miss Sadie Thompson (1953) 2.5/5
This was one of Rita Hayworth’s come back films after taking time off to be a Princess or something. Anyway, it’s a weird one. She plays a dance hall girl (1950’s speak for “whore”) who’s looking for redemption and finds it from a miserable missionary in American Samoa. Throw in a couple of numbers for Rita to sing and a rape, and you get a trashy little film that should be more fun than it is.

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038 02-08 Three on a Limb (1936) 2.5/5
039 02-08 Grand Slam Opera (1936) 4/5
040 02-08 Blue Blazes (1936) 2.5/5
041 02-08 The Chemist (1936) 2.5/5
042 02-08 Mixed Magic (1936) 3/5
Another mixed bag of Buster Keaton shorts from Kino’s “Lost Keaton” set. Some good gags, but none of the films really do much for you. The exception being “Grand Slam Opera” that features Keaton’s “Elmer” character desperate to win an amateur radio competition. Packed to the gills with nearly non-stop gags and stunts, this one is right up there with the best of his silent work.

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043 02-14 The Conjuring (2013) 4/5
Revisited this one by showing it to mum. It holds up just fine on a second viewing, and it’s fun to scare the shit out of your mother when they believes in ghosts.

044 02-14 Jail Bait (1937) 3.5/5
Another of Buster Keaton’s Educational Pictures shorts, and it was another really good one that’s right up there with his better work.

See? That was a pretty quick one right? Kind of a blah first half of the month. Those Keaton shorts were getting to be a bit of a slog at this point, so I have not much to say about them. I still think I’m behind this year from last year by this point, so in my next blog I’ll compare end of February totals and keep that as a trend. Won’t that be fun? Maybe?

The End.

Movie a Day! : 024-034 – The End of January

Howdy film fans! Welcome back to the blog! 10 big films in this one to finish off the month of January. Don’t be scared, the comments are as short as ever so it wont take you all day to read. I figured since at this point my movie watching dipped I would compile more films in here. My movie watching continues to be rather slow, so I’m thinking by next week we should all be caught up.

Let’s get on with it, here’s the last films I watched in January!

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024 01-24 Cover Girl (1944) 2.5/5
B-Level Musical starring Rita Hayworth and Gene Kelly. It’s well done and notable for being more serious and psychological than a typical musical, but it kind of plods along as well. Many of the numbers with Kelly will be sort of revisited later (and done to perfection) in “Singing in the Rain”. The standout number is of course a Gene Kelly ballet featuring him confronting a spectral image of himself, and dancing both parts. Also notable for Phil Silvers in a supporting roll as a song and dance man.

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025 01-25 Hayseed Romance (1935) 2/5
026 01-25 Tars & Stripes (1935) 2/5
027 01-25 The E-Flat Man (1935) 2/5
These are 3 more of Buster Keaton’s sound films for Educational, and none of them are very notable so I don’t have much to say. The best gags in each of them where done better in his silent pictures.

028 01-25 The Timid Young Man (1935) 3.5/5
Just when I’m ready to write off the rest of Keaton’s sound shorts, Mack Sennett shows up to produce and direct one and saves the day. So far this is the best one yet, with some more inspired gags and a big push in the pacing. So i guess I’ll watch disc 2.

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029 01-25 The Act of Killing (2012) 4/5
This is the type of documentary that sits beside “Shoah” and has a depressing chat. It’s not pleasant by any means, but still a brilliant, disturbing and fascinating film. It tells the tale of the mass killings that happened in Indonesia in 1965 by having the military enforcers responsible re-enact their crimes in different film styles. Watch it.

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030 01-26 Herschell Gordon Lewis: The Godfather of Gore (2010) 3.5/5
Pretty damned fine documentary by Something Weird Video on HG Lewis. Lewis is notorious in film for two reasons; introducing extreme gore to the “Nudie Cutie” exploitation circuit, and being horrendously cheap and borderline inept at making movies. This doc  pretty much sticks to the films as opposed to personal stories, with lots of interviews and clips, including some fun outtakes. I thought it odd that they skipped some titles, but ends up they’re on the hour or so of outtakes. Also included on the disc is a pretty fun additional short film. Basically, if you ever wondered about Lewis and the invention of the gore film, this is $20 very well spent.

031 01-26 Hot Night at the Go-Go Lounge (?) 2.5/57
This is the short featured on the “Godfather of Gore” disc, a nudie running about 10 minutes featuring a couple of topless dancers dancing for a handful of guys in a basement made to look like a club. So rare I can’t find a release date for the thing (I’m guessing 1964), it’s pretty fun in the wacky dumb way these things typically are. Notable for an extended version of “The Monkey” and a pretty good twerk. I think, I might not know what twerking is.

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032 01-28 Tonight and Every Night (1945) 2.5/5
Another Rita Hayworth musical, this one telling the true story of a music hall show in Britain that never missed a performance during the blitz. Surprisingly serious in tone for a musical, and not as “Rah-RAH!” on the propaganda front as you would suspect. Hayworth is absolutely gorgeous to watch in this one, but the end result with a forced romance is a little flat.

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033 01-29 Lord of the Flies (1963) 4/5
The first adaptation of the William Golding’s book continues to the best one. Natural acting kids, all shot on location, it feels as much like a documentary than it does a fiction.

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034 01-31 Gilda (1946) 4/5
This one is a really well done film noir starring Glenn Ford as a down on his luck schlub trying to escape the memory of a woman, and Rita Hayworth as the woman. Beautifully filmed with a plot that isn’t afraid to take it’s time to tell it’s story. Rita’s striptease doesn’t hurt the film either.

So my final totals for January are as follows:

34 Watched, 29 First Timers, 0 In Theaters.

So off to a strong start in the challenge. With the ongoing cancer dad situation though. we’ll have to see if I can keep the numbers up. Suspense! Let me know if 10 films is too much. I plan once caught up to do a “Weekly” round up.

The End