Movie A Day!: Extra Oscar Lounge!

Another tough week of struggle out here in the west. Weather seems to be torturing us into death by being both too cold and then warm in the same day. I’ve felt like I’ve been coming down with a cold for the past two weeks. I think it’s the barometric pressure kicking my head in. I’m ready for winter to end.


056 02/26 The Extra Girl (1923) 2.5/5   Mabel Normand stars in this Mack Sennett comedy about a young woman who wins a contest to go to Hollywood for a chance to be a star after her rural parents refuse to allow her to marry her mechanic boyfriend. Lots of intrigue, not many laughs in this silent feature. Mabel was an incredible talent but this one doesn’t give her too much to do despite a plot that goes all over the place and allows her to do a bunch of stuff. It just never really works out aside for the chase sequence with the loose lion.


057 02-26 89th Academy Awards (2017) 3.5/5   The night we have all been waiting for! The one where the starving artists we enjoy on the big screen are finally fed via airdrops of food! It really is a beautiful sight, millionaires enjoying Jr. Mints. they really are just like us!. This one ended up being pretty good. Show moved about as quick as these things can, only one of the bits (tour bus) went on too long and there was an epic fuck up with the best picture award going to La La Land instead of Moonlight, so that was fun. I had no horse in the race so nothing stuck in my craw or had me orgasmic in delight. It was just a mostly nice show and Jimmy Kimmel did a good enough job as the host that I wouldn’t mind seeing him do it again.


058 02/28 Gilmore Girls Season 5 (2005) 3/5  I’ve reached the part in the series where old is new and I’m hitting the episodes I missed the first go round. This season was a let down from previous ones. Lorelai finally gets with Luke, and the writers do a thing where they turn Luke from the greatest guy/only decent guy on the show to a rage-aholic asshole. Rory is still in college and is now interested in Logan, a rich kid prick and it all makes the season a bit insufferable compared to the heady joys of season 3. It’s still good though since the performances and writing continues to stay true to the characters (aside from Luke), and while the Gilmores are floundering it gives space for Kirk and Lane to steal the show.


059 03/01 Color Me Blood Red (1965) 3/5   Herschell Gordon Lewis wraps up the “Blood Trilogy” with this one, a comedy about a bonkers painter who discovers that blood is the perfect colour of red and gets inspired. It’s basically a rip-off of the superior in every way Roger Corman film Bucket Of Blood (which is probably more famous for being the one that wrapped production in time for Corman to crank out the cult classic Little Shop Of Horrors over the 2 day weekend before he had to return the rental equipment), only on the cheap and with more gore effects. This one suffers from the typical Lewis corner cutting. Rather than stop the camera and doing a second set-up, he’ll do things like let it run while a second actor gets ready and then pan and focus to shoot them and it just slows the film down to a crawl. Which is saying something when the film is about 70 minutes long. There’s a reason why he’s considered a hack, and it already starts to show in this one. That said, it’s still fun, and I always watch it since it’s billed as the third film in the trilogy so my mental illness dictates that I have to watch it after Two Thousand Maniacs.

The weird thing watching the Blood Trilogy in this day and age is how chaste they are. I don’t think a single swear is uttered and despite Lewis and Friedman coming from the Nudie Cutie circuit there is no explicit nudity. There’s just buckets of gore all over the place. It’s probably what saved them from the censor to some degree. Still a fun watch even if they are dated, and Two Thousand Maniacs really is a classic. After Color Me Blood Red Lewis and Friedman will split up, but both will keep on making films on their own.


060 03/03 The Night Bird (1977) 2.5/5   The Night Bird is the hot underground disco club that was built for sex. This one was an odd hardcore title in that it plays like Saturday Night Fever meets Mean Streets. The first half is actually pretty good but it falls apart in the end. It sets up an emotionally cracking lead that never plays out, instead you get a never ending orgy sequence that is cut with disco dancing. The quality of this one is first rate so it’s a bummer it never gels into something more.


061 03/04 Something Weird (1967) 3/5
062 03/04 A Hot Night at the Go Go Lounge! (1966)2/5
An odd pair of Herschell Gordon Lewis cheapies. Something Weird is exactly as titled. A guy is electrocuted and ends up with psychic powers, joins a witch that tricks him… there’s murders as well… a guy gets attacked by his bed sheet… and I’m out. You can’t describe it. It’s a comedy, it’s a murder story, it’s psychic flim flam and an LSD scare film all at once. You have to see it to believe it. The craziest thing is it’s actually pretty accomplished in form compared to most of Lewis’s films.

A Hot Night at the Go Go Lounge! is a nudie short in which the first half seems to be footage from other films and the last half featuring surprisingly plain topless dancers. More of a curio as opposed to something worth seeking out.

I try to mix up what I watch, to find a balance, but I’m finding that the weeks are getting away from me so I end up not getting anything in other than genre films. I might have to take a time out to feed my brain.

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Scary Movie Challenge 2016 Part 2

Here’s the next bit from the Scary Movie Challenge to hold you until I get my first week of watching done. From simpler times, when all the terror in the world wouldn’t prevent me from watching 4 different versions of the same crappy movie.

 

027 10/11 Dementia 13 (1963) DVR 3.5/5   Francis Ford Coppola made his writing/directing debut with this one. I think. I know he did some stuff prior but I think this is his first as writer/director. Anyway, it’s basically a “Psycho” rip with a “Who Done It?” smashed into it. Which sounds bad, but is actually really well done considering it was produced on the cheap with Roger Corman. Coppola squeezes every penny out of the budget, the film has style and totally works.

028 10/11 Nekromantik 2 (1991) Blu-ray 3/5   Follow up to the first one find Rob’s corpse being stolen by a Monica, another necrophile. She ends up meeting Mark, a voice over actor for porn films, and gets torn between him and the corpse. So it’s really a love story. This one is much more polished than the first film, but I found it a little draggy in parts, and plain silly in others. When you have two characters go to a movie, then show a bunch of the movie they are watching, it seems like filler. That said, Buttgereit is making a legitimate film that manages to rise above its exploitation aspects.

029 10/12 The Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow (1959) DVR 2/5   Teenagers have a hot rod club (played by the “Hot Rod Gang” which is a shitty rip-off of the Bowery Boys, only a bunch of privileged pricks instead of poverty row scamps.) and like to dance to one song. There’s no ghost, there’s no dragstrip, there’s only one shown drag race. The only cool thing is the re-use of monster costumes from other AIP movies and the tall girl with glasses.

030 10/13 The Beast With A Million Eyes (1955) DVR 2/5   A less ambitious “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” type thing, with an invisible invader trying to control a ranch family. For a no-budget 50’s horror it’s not the worst thing you will see, it just never really gets going and plods along. Also: there’s no “Beast With A Million Eyes”. Most notable for being one of if not the first film Roger Corman had a hand at directing.

031 10/13 Schramm (1993) Blu-ray 2.5/5   The final film in the “SEX MURDER ART: THE FILMS OF JORG BUTTGEREIT”, this one left me flat. It’s got a great premise: the life of a serial killer as glimpsed in his final moments alive. The problem is that it’s missing the disturbing gore found in Buttgereit’s other films like “Nekromantik”, and has nothing to fill the space. So it just kind flops out and doesn’t do much. Maybe I had high expectations thinking this would be the most messed up film of them all.

032 10/14 Bone Tomahawk (2015) Blu-ray 4/5   Kurt Russell leads this one, a weird western about a group of men searching for townsfolk that have been taken by natives. It plays like “The Searchers” but with lots of spook. If it doesn’t sound like a horror, trust me, it is. Recommended, I loved this one.

033 10/14 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 (1986) Blu-ray 5/5   One of the greatest movies ever made.

034 10/15 Operation: Titian (1963) Blu-ray 2/5   A murder mystery based around a copy of a Titian painting as opposed to a horror. How this ends up being a film called “Blood Bath” is beyond me. Anyway, this one feels longer than the run time. Pretty much says it all, eh?

035 10/15 Shocker (1989) Blu-ray 3/5   No one is going to mistake this one as one of Wes Craven’s best but I’ve always liked it. Mitch Pileggi eats the scenery like there’s no tomorrow as the killer, and the idea of an electricity based killer is fun. It has a few pacing issues, but on the whole it works.

036 10/15 Swamp Thing (1982) Blu-ray 3/5   As an adaptation of the comic book it’s pretty terrible. As a monster movie is pretty fun. Not the best film Craven ever made, but not a bad time either. Fun revisiting this one, I didn’t realize that David Hess (from Cravens infamous “Last House on the Left”) had a role in this one. That said, seek out the Alan Moore run on Swamp Thing if you want the real deal.

037 10/15 Thundercrack! (1975) Blu-ray 3.5/5   This one is an underground horror porno film that is so earnest it has to be played for laughs. It’s certainly original. Plays like a John Waters film in many ways, you get the feeling that the filmmakers thought this was their last chance to make their dream project. A dream project where people get stranded as a old dark house in a rainstorm, have bizarre sexual experiences, a guy marries an ape and it all invokes “Gone With The Wind”. Genuinely completely out to lunch, this one won’t be for everyone but if you have an appetite for strange this one should fill you up. UPDATE: More I think about this one, the more I love it. 

038 10/16 Portrait Of Terror (1965) Blu-ray 2.5/5   The first re-cut of “Operation: Titian” became this one. It’s still not much of a horror film but it is better than the first cut. That said, it’s still not very good.

039 10/16 It (1990) Blu-ray 3/5   I remember watching this when it originally aired and being disappointed. Probably due to having the book fresh in my mind. The book continues to be one of my all time favourites. I liked it more this time around. The first half works and Tim Curry is fantastic as Pennywise. The second half with the adults kind of falls apart in comparison, partly due to the TV budget. I’ll put money down that this one will be better than the new theatrical version coming out, opinion based on that one image of the clown they released.

040 10/16 Phantom of the Opera (1989) Blu-ray 2.5/5   I’m positive I saw this one back in the day but I had zero memory of it when watching it. I think I might of had this one confused with “Phantom of the Mall.” Anyway it’s not very good with it’s mostly straight retelling of the story with some past lives time travel nonsense thrown in. I watched this due to watching Wes Craven films earlier and thinking I should watch “Nightmare on Elm Street” but not feeling like it so I spun this one since it had Robert Englund in it. Should of stuck with Nightmare.

041 10/17 Blood Bath (1966) Blu-ray 3/5   The third version of “Operation: Titian” drops all talk of Titian and adds Sid Haig, beatniks and a vampire. Completely unrecognizable compared to the other two versions, Jack Hill did a pretty great job hacking this thing together.

042 10/17 The Hills Have Eyes (1977) Blu-ray 4/5   Wes Craven’s follow up film after the classic “Last House on the Left” (not counting the porno “Fireworks Woman”) might not be as grueling but it still completely works. The film is an examination of class warfare, with city folk getting attacked by desert mountain folk. It’s good, moves quickly and best of all, plays like a bonkers Rin-Tin-Tin movie.

043 10/17 The Human Centipede: First Sequence (2009) Blu-ray 4/5   Revisited this one since I have the sequels to watch for the first time. Some hate this one, I think it’s a modern classic. It completely delivers on the premise of a human centipede. Maybe it’s a case of the film shouldn’t be watchable at all with such a ridiculous premise. Instead, you find yourself caught up in the craziness and end up genuinely caring about the centipede.

044 10/17 The Brood (1979) Blu-ray 3.5/5   Cronenberg goes for the psychological with this one starring Oliver Reed as a doctor who’s analysis treatments result in physical manifestations. I had completely forgotten how messed up this one gets in the latter half, having first watched it during the 2007 challenge. Good stuff.

045 10/17 The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence (2011) Blu-ray 3.5/5   I’m in the minority with this one since I actually really liked it. It’s completely different from the first one. The first film is closer to a modern day monster movie. This one is basically “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer” only Henry is into arts and craft centipede projects. Gorgeous in black and white, it’s only black and white for self censorship. The colour version on the blu-ray is one of the most relentlessly gory films I’ve seen. This one won’t be for everyone, but it works and delivers on it’s premise which is all I ask for from a film like this.

046 10/18 Track of the Vampire (1966) Blu-ray 2.5/5   A re-cut of the Jack Hill cut of “Blood Bath”. I think. Who the fuck knows anymore. Watch “Blood Bath” and forget about these other versions. UPDATE: The documentary in this set going through the history of all these versions is better than any of the final movies! A must watch for filmmaking fans!

047 10/18 The Human Centipede 3: Final Sequence (2015) Blu-ray 3/5   This one goes for a lighter tone and just doesn’t work. Main problem is it plays it mostly safe in comparison to the previous two and can’t maintain the premise of creating a massive human centipede as a prison population solution. It’s neat that they go full meta by bringing back the stars from the previous two and the director starring as himself, but it’s not enough.

048 10/18 Eyes Without A Face (1960) Blu-ray 3.5/5   The groundbreaking French horror classic holds up just fine. A girls face is destroyed in a car crash so her surgeon father snatches girls to replace it. It plays much more classy than that description, and it’s surprisingly graphic, especially for 1960.

049 10/18 The Stuff (1985) Blu-ray 4/5   I hadn’t seen this one since the VHS days and it’s nice to see it holds up just fine today. A bonkers mash-up of “The Blob” with “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” about an alien dessert. It should be terrible, but they pull it off. Or maybe it is terrible and I just don’t care? (Nah, it’s rad.)

050 10/19 The Night Evelyn Came Out Of The Grave (1971) Blu-ray 3.5/5   Pretty good Italian horror. Some guy is having a break down after his wife dies and starts finding duplicate women to abuse. Film stays on course and has enough mystery to keep you invested.

051 10/19 The Red Queen Kills Seven Times (1972) Blu-ray 3.5/5   Another solid Italian horror. This one deals with a family curse that has come around on the 100 year mark. Like the previous film this one moves steadily and has a enough mystery to hold your interest.

052 10/19 Return of the Killer Tomatoes (1988) Blu 3/5   I actually actively avoided this one for years, due to liking the original and thinking this one would be total garbage. It’s not the greatest film ever made, but it’s not total garbage either. It ends up being a fun horror comedy. Worth it just to watch George Clooney give a masterclass in product placement.

053 10/19 Crimes of Passion (1984) Blue 3.5/5   This one plays more like a 1930’s pre-code melodrama than the horror/thriller I thought it was going to be after all these years, but it’s creepy enough for me to count. Kathleen Turner is great as the hooker not necessarily with a heart of gold and Anthony Perkins steals every scene he’s in as a twisted street preacher trying to save her soul. What is more interesting though it that the film is really an examination of sex, love and the use of each as a weapon by couples in a relationship. Interesting stuff, and through the bonkers-eyes of Ken Russell it’s worth a viewing.

Ah, such fond memories! Will I ever find my tall girl in glasses? Will I ever be a part of a human centipede?

Who knows? 2017 is wide open folks. Let’s stay positive!

r

Movie A Day!:311-320 – Off the Wagon

Sorry gang, I fell way behind on my updates for the first time this year. I was supposed to be off work this week, but had to go in Monday and Tuesday to cover for a co-worker. Tuesday afternoon, my flu like poops came back. I’ve now had near constant diarrhea for 7 odd days. It’s the worst! Anyway, I’ll be posting a bunch to get caught up since with the flu, I watch even more movies.

311 10-20 Up From The Depths (1979) 1.5/5
I’m fine with a “Jaws” knock-off, provided it’s good. This one was terrible in every way. A weird shark like fish has shown up of the coast of a Hawaiian resort and is attacking people. So it’s Jaws, only a completely garbage version with terrible acting, effects and a weird dubbed soundtrack. The plot can’t decide if it wants to go the Jaws scary route, or the fun Piranha route so it just fails miserably. This is grade z level Corman stuff, and sadly not fun in any way.

312 10-20 Demon of Paradise (1987) 2.5/5
Directed by Cirio H. Santiago so you know what you’re getting into. Fishermen illegally using dynamite awaken a lizard man then proceeds to attack a resort. Not the greatest, but it’s light years better then Under From The Depths that it shares a DVD with. It’s from 1987 but the look of the film leads me to think it sat on a shelf for a while.

313 10-21 Crawlspace (1986) 3/5
Klaus Kinski stars as a nutty doctor son of a nazi war criminal who has taken to being a landlord who has tricked out his apartment building so he can crawl around spying on the women tenants and kill them. It’s pretty bonkers stuff that really doesn’t make any sense. Kinski is good in it though and manages to hold the thing together despite how ridiculous it gets. The scream factory blu-ray has short film about working with Kinski by the films director, “Please, kill Mr. Kinski” that it pretty great stuff too.

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314 10-21 You’re Next (2011) 3/5
This one is a home invasion movie, and everything about it made it look like a direct rip of “The Strangers.” So it’s nice that they twisted things up a bit. Not a whole lot, but enough that I think this one is the better movie. Anyway, a family is having a big get together in the woods and some killers show up. Not the most original thing in the world, but it’s good enough despite things getting a bit Ewok in the last third.

315 10-21 Dracula’s Daughter (1936) 4/5
The first sequel to the classic film that of course doesn’t star Bela Lugosi. It’s still pretty good film on it’s own right that makes the right choice in setting it’s own pace instead of trying to copy the original. Dracula’s daughter has shown up and is kind of sympathetic in that she doesn’t really want to be a vampire. It’s primarily known for a scene that supposedly has lesbian overtones but I don’t really see it. It’s no Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2 by any means. Still, worth checking out.

316 10-22 The Amazing Transparent Man (1960) 2/5
The most amazing thing about this run of the mill programmer is legendary monster maker Jack Pierce did the make-up. When you have the man responsible for creating Frankenstein’s monster and the Wolf Man, and have the only cool effects being invisibility, you failed. Nothing about this is amazing, so nuff said.

317 10-22 The Beast Within (1982) 3/5
I might be rating it higher than it deserves. I figured it was basically “Teen Wolf” done straight based on the cover, and could not have been more wrong. A woman is raped by a weird monster, and 17 years later her son from the rape is having issues with an unknown illness. This one gets pretty nasty and goopy, on top of the rather nasty plot. It manages to mostly work too. Not the greatest film you will watch in the challenge, but a good enough one.

318 10-22 Reptilicus (1961) 2/5
Godzilla was a big hit, so everyone wanted in with their own monster movie. This one is Denmarks submission. A copper miner finds bits of meat buried, the regenerate into a giant, acid goo spitting snake monster thing that rampages over Copenhagen. based on a weird section before the monster mayhem that plays like a travelogue to visit Copenhagen, I’m pretty sure this one was actually produced by the country. The monster is painfully bad in execution, which of course helps make it fun to watch.

319 10-23 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) 5/5
Yup, this one is still one of the all time great films. I don’t have much to say since so much has been written. If you haven’t seen it, see it.

320 10-23 Deadly Eyes (1982) 2.5/5
Contaminated grain infects and causes rats to mutate. One of the goofiest Canadian cheapies you’re likely to see is still pretty fun since the giant rats are dachshunds in costume. Scatman Crothers slums it for a couple of scenes and the movie is committed enough to it’s bonkers plot that it works.

Probably back tomorrow to play more catch up! Share it if you enjoy it!

Movie A Day! : 154-160 “Take A Look!”

Right, finally a movie post! I got in a few this weekend, and they were all pretty good ones too! I also started my workout stuff, and boy is it slow going. I did my first full workout after a week of warming up to it, and it was pathetic. I felt thinner though the next morning, so my dumb brain is at least in the right place. Let’s look at some movies!

154 07-01 Zatoichi’s Revenge (1965) 4/5

I’m jumping back into this series. This one is the tenth film, and it ended up being one of the best so far. Basic plot is Zatoichi arrives at the town where he trained with a Master Masseuse, only to discover that his master has been murdered by a crime boss who has teamed up with a corrupt magistrate. Their diabolical plan is to get the villagers into massive debts via gambling and loans so that the villagers have to commit their daughters to a brothel the gangster owns to pay the debts off. It makes for a darker tone than some of the other films, and the slow burn of Zatoichi dispensing justice adds to the suspense. I love these films!

155 07-05 We Walk The Line : A Celebration of the Music of Johnny Cash (2012) 2.5/5
Not the worst all-star tribute show, but not the greatest either. The highlights are Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson, but they don’t get much air time. The version I watched was during one of those stupid PBS pledge drives which is the worst possible way to watch anything, but there was nothing presented that made me think I would want to get the complete show on DVD.

156 07-06 The Ernie Kovacs Collection (2011) 4.5/5
This is a 6 DVD set featuring selections from Kovacs TV career, from the earliest surviving show in 1951 until his last shot show in 1961 when his career was cut short do to a car crash taking his life. Don’t know who Kovacs is? Don’t worry, you’ve seen his influence via Monty Python, Dave Letterman, SNL, pretty much every cutting edge comedy show you can think of. Before TV had a proper form, Kovacs was playing with it, and this collection is simply amazing to watch. Not everything is laugh out loud funny, in fact, most of it is so surreal and strange that it’s surprising it made it to TV at all. Many of his highlights are here, the “Eugene” silent special, his smoking a cigar underwater, the infamous 30 second skit that cost $12,000, the Music Special, examples of his game show “Take A Look”, despite all the material you just want more. Current TV seems dead in comparison to the life and energy Kovacs brought. My only complaint is that many of the shows presented are edited due to rights issues with music. That any of this exists at all, the TV companies were in the process of erasing and dumping Kovacs output in the 60’s when his widow stepped in to buy the material back, makes the music issue a small one. Genius is used far too often these days, here’s a case where it absolutely fits.

157 07-08 The 90’s : The Last Great Decade? (2014) 2.5/5
This was a 3 part, 6 hour look back at the 90’s, which I think is technically my decade since I graduated high school in 91 or whenever I graduated high school. How do people remember dates like this? I never can. I just know it was around this time. Maybe 92. I thought it would be a fun watch, but it just wasn’t. I remembered everything they showed, but there was really no context. It was “Waco happened, then Bill Clinton fucked someone, then Nirvana, then some other thing, then Clinton fucked someone else”, all presented in news clips with no actual context. I would of liked it more if it dealt with movies or music. Especially music since I was totally Gen-X and into the grunge/punk scene. So the end of the whole thing was basically a big “Who cares?” which is kind of a perfect gen-x reaction to looking back at the gen-x decade when you think about it. I probably would of preferred a look at the 80’s, the previous decade I lived through, but as a child that couldn’t fully experience it. To answer the question of the title; it probably was the last “great” decade in that fun and horrible things happened without the threat of losing personal freedoms that seems imminent at this point of the 2010’s.

158 07-12 American Hustle (2013) 3/5
Finally got around to watching this one. Maybe it was high expectations (I really liked SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK and loved THE FIGHTER), but it ultimately left me flat. There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s a great story with fantastic performances and production. It just never clicked with me. I love a good crime film, and the con in this one was novel and interesting. I think the problem I had was that in order to get that seventies look, it feels a little dressed up and camp. Only Christian Bale appeared authentic, the rest were just too polished and jived wrong. It was distracting enough to pull me out of the picture, as opposed to BOOGIE NIGHTS which hit the look perfectly. Still, not the worst movie I’ve ever seen, and one I’m sure I’ll revisit again.

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159 07-13 Sugar Cookies (1973) 3.5/5

Another stellar Blu-ray presentation by Vinegar Syndrome, this one see’s them teaming up with the mighty Troma studios to bring out an early sexploitation shocker. Before hitting legend status in the eighties with THE TOXIC AVENGER, Lloyd Kaufman struck out with this Hitchcock inspired thriller that he refers to as “The only X-rated movie to not make any money.” Basic plot is an actress is killed in a bizarre sex game, so a woman grooms a naive newcomer into being her replacement. The femme fatale in this one is Mary Woronov. Woronov is a cult legend, mainly from Roger Corman films like DEATH RACE 2000 and ROCK ‘n’ ROLL HIGH SCHOOL. She always seems to play a prison-marm type role, so it’s nice to see her in this before she got typecast. In this one, she’s drop dead gorgeous and beguiling as the sexually ambiguous Camila Stone who is manipulating poor Lynn Lowry as the actress replacement. It’s the type of performance that should win awards, she carries the entire picture. Too bad it has such a stupid title that makes it sound like a goofy titty flick instead of the type of thriller Brian DePalma would mine years later with DRESSED TO KILL. Certainly worth checking out, provided you’re not afraid of near constant nudity. The blu-ray looks fantastic, and has some great interviews.

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160 07-13 Nebraska (2013) 4/5

Poor old Bruce Dern is so incredibly old looking he can only get roles like this where he plays confused, feeble old men. Fortunately, this one is by Alexander Payne, who has mastered making films about the human condition that manage to not be completely overwhelming with over sentimentality. The basic plot is that of Dern traveling from Montana to Nebraska to pick up a sweepstake prize with his son. It’s all an excuse to explore the father/son/life dynamic, and who know that Will Forte was this good in a serious role? I mean, he’s a comedic genius, MACGRUBER proved that. To see him so low key and subtle, along with everyone else, it just makes for a beautiful and funny film that completely satisfies on all levels. It’s also got Bob Odenkirk as the other brother, so this one just wins on all levels.

Right, that’s it for this week. Pretty near half a month of viewing, and it’s six titles. Not good as far as “A Movie A Day” goes…

Feel free to argue or comment, and share and like and all that stuff.

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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! : 104-111- “Get Up Off Your Ass and Show Yourself!”

Right, time for a round up. Here are all the things I watched last week. It was a short week blog wise since I tend to start a new week with Monday, but I watched a whole bunch of films over the weekend seeing as to how a video game I’m trying to complete has gotten boring and I’m dragging my heels on it.

Here we go!

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104 05-02 The Making of Nashville (2014) 3.5/5
This is the feature length documentary found on the blu-ray of the previously mentioned “Nashville”. It’s good, with lots of neat stories though no real behind the scenes footage. Anyway, between, the film and the additional extras (the Robert Altman interviews are must see), I give this disc a 5/5. Criterion really know how to put out a movie.

105 05-02 Sadie (1980) 2.5/5
Back in February I watched a Rita Hayworth film called “Miss Sadie Thompson” in which she plays a former dance hall girl (prostitute) who gets mixed up with a missionary while stuck on an island on her way to Australia to start a new life. This is a porn version of the same story. Directed by porn legend, “Johnny Wadd” director Bob Chinn, who you will know as the basis of Burt Reynolds character in “Boogie Nights”. Anyway, the story actually works as a porn, and he cleverly updates the villain from being a missionary to being a ultra right wing senator bent on censorship and what not. Surprisingly, the film seems more intent on telling the story instead of the sex scenes, which are all over quickly and seem per functionary to meet distributor guidelines instead of driving the film. The problem of course is the shit porn acting and the incredibly cheap island set that is used that ends up making this look like a dirty high school production that doesn’t really work as a non-sex film or a “proper” porno that has a story as an excuse for the sex scenes. It’s probably this weird thing that makes it kind of interesting.

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106 05-03 The Great Gatsby (2013) 3/5
I am not a Baz Luhrmann devotee. While I liked his “Romeo + Juliet” , “Moulin Rouge!” was lost on me and I couldn’t bring myself to watch “Australia” (Mad Max is all the Australian history I need). All that said, this one was pretty good. The performances are all fine, and the story, I‘m guessing, is well told. I never read the novel. My only problem is in the execution. While “Rouge!” left me flat, it was a lush, colourful picture. This one is too, but it’s all CGI, and the type of CGI that screams “I AM CGI! LOOK AT ME! CGI!” and when films rely on digital effects like this in such an obvious way it draws me out of the picture. Much more than hearing Jay-Z on the soundtrack of a movie that takes place in the twenties. So it’s “The Pretty Good But Not All That Great Gatsby” in the end. The blu-ray has a trailer for the 1926 version, I want to see that one.

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107 05-03 The Seductress (1981) 3/5
This is the second film on the double feature PeekARama disc from Vinegar Syndrome that featured “Sadie”. Also directed by Bob Chinn, this is a more traditional porn. Basic plot is that of a woman who works with a guy in seducing men and filming them so that their wives can blackmail them for divorce. Ends up she’s a junkie (which means she’s unreliable), and figures out she can get even more money by blackmailing the wives into sleeping with other men for additional blackmailing. It’s all very convoluted. Way more convoluted than it should be. Still a cheap production, but it works better than “Sadie” did since it doesn’t rely on sophisticated staging that can’t be provided on a cheap set and the plot better serves the necessary inclusion of sex scenes.

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108 05-04 TNT Jackson (1974) 3.5/5
Cheap-o “Pam Grier” type knockoff about a woman who travels to China (The Philippines) to find her brother, only to discover he’s been killed by a drug gang. so she has to use her Kung-Fu skills to kick the shit out of everyone. It’s pretty damned great, with laughably corny fights, hilarious dialogue and unnecessary nudity. Add in some ridiculous gore, and this one is a fun watch. It should be noted that to my memory, not a single thing on that poster is represented in the movie other than Jeanne Bell herself.

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109 05-04 Firecracker (1981) 3.5/5
This is the third film of the same set with “TNT Jackson”, and “Too Hot to Handle”, which I reviewed last blog. I had low expectations, but it ended up being a lot of fun. Another film where a woman goes to the Philippines (actual Philippines, not pretend China/Chinatown Philippines), this time to find a missing sister, and has to use her Kung-Fu skills to kick the shit out of everyone. This one is by the same director as TNT, and features Vic Diaz in a larger supporting role than he usually gets. I should have started a tribute page to Vic Diaz, taking pictures of him in all the films shot in the Philippines that he ends up in. Anyway, this one is as corny as the last one, with the difference being that the lead actress is actually a pretty good martial artist. On par with a Cynthia Rothrock anyway, so the fights are actually pretty good.

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110 05-04 Used Cars (1980) 3/5
This was one of the very first VHS tapes dad brought home when we got our first VCR around 1983. I wasn’t allowed to watch it, though I do remember watching it for some reason. I hadn’t seen it since. Prior to making the pop culture hits with “Back to the Future” and “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”, Robert Zemeckis put out this raunch comedy. I’m guessing “National Lampoon’s Animal House” kicked off this trend of comedy, were guys are total guys and do wacky pranks while trying to get in girls pants. This one features Kurt Russell as a salesman for the titled Used Car lot, in battle with a rival car lot owner who’s trying to take over his land. As dated as it feels, it still offers some great laughs and the entire cast is pretty likeable as well. That said, it’s definitely a “Bro” type comedy. Still worth a watch for a chuckle. Plus it has Guy Caballero himself, Joe Flaherty in a supporting role.

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111 05-04 The Altar of Lust 2.5/5
I don’t even know where to begin with this one. The title makes it sound like a Satanic thing, but it’s not at all. The basic story is about a young woman (played by, no joke “Erotica Lantern”) who escapes from Sweden after being raped by her stepfather, and winds up in New York very sexually confused. This is all told via the device of her talking to her psychiatrist, so the sexual vignettes stream out from that. It’s absolutely dreadful production wise, in that no dialogue was recorded. It’s all dubbed and read in a monotone that has to be seen/heard to be believed. It’s so bad, that when the psychiatrist talks, they show the woman reacting, and vice versa so that you will never see a line of dialogue coming from a persons lips.

That said, it IS entertaining and interesting. The director is Roberta Findlay, who with her husband Michael made the notorious roughies known as “The Flesh Trilogy”. Here she wrote, filmed, produced and directed (and I think dubbed) the picture, so it’s interesting since it is from a woman’s point of view. Usually softcore stuff like this is very male centric. Also, this one is from the period where softcore would turn hardcore, and as the picture moves forward, the scenes get harder until eventually you see Harry Reems (a year before “Deep Throat” would make him a star) receive oral. So it’s a bizarre time capsule of the period, and of the filmmakers literally pushing the boundaries of censorship within the film, pre-porno chic. Which is why I’m giving it 2.5 out of 5 instead of a 1.5-2, since it really is laughably BAD bad.

 

So there it is, more movies than most watch in a month! It’s ridiculous that I have more to say on dumb movies like “The Altar of Lust” then most other things I enjoy. My pick of the week is “TNT Jackson.” I’m such a sucker for blacksploitation at this point that I’m probably considered racist. The movies are just so goofy, they’re irresistible damn it!

Movie a Day! : 94-103 And The End Of April

Yet another blog! I’m sure my ones of readers thought that I had abandoned the project or died due to it’s lateness. Both being perfectly valid reasons based on my history of blogs. Abandoning them, not dying. I’m not some weirdo who’s constantly killing myself for short periods of time like those goofs in “Flatliners”. Anyway, last week really shit the bed on a personal level, I decided to wait until April was over before posting, then work completely blocked my blog due to the title. So I changed the title as a compromise. Don’t let it be thought that I am precious or have any principles with this blog. I CAN BE BOUGHT! BUY ME PLEASE! Next week will probably be a short blog since it will cover May 1st to 4th.

So here’s the last films I watched in April. There are some amazingly good ones here. In that I watched another Zatoichi film and I just love those goddamn Samurai!

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094 04-23 Adventures of Zatoichi (1964) 3.5/5

Plot wise, this isn’t much different from the previous films. Zatoichi arrives in a town to celebrate New Years, only to get mixed up with corrupt officials and the Yakuza. That said, I could watch these movies all day. There’s a subplot that elaborates more on Zatoichi’s childhood that is interesting, but the main draw is still Katsu in the leading role who is perfect as the blind swordsman. The subtlety of going from childlike naivete to threatening, scary killer primarily through body language never fails to send chills down my spine.

 

095 04-26 Game of Thrones Season 3 (2013) 2.5/5

***Why can I not copy and paste an image of a poster for this fucking series and have the link remain unbroken? How does this image stuff work? I’ve had it happen on other images too. But this GOT bullshit is ridiculous. Anyway, enough May 2nd bitching about WordPress/internet/my ignorance.****

Decided to get caught up on Game of Thrones since on social media people are creaming their jeans right off their bodies over whatever is currently happening in the currently airing season 4. I still don’t like this show! Season 3 was supposed to be amazing with a capital “A”, but after season 2, I didn’t quite believe it hence I never watched it until now. Ends up Season 3 is better than season 2, but it’s still a lot of walking and talking with little action. Which is actually an odd complaint since one of my favourite shows is “The Wire” which is very walking/talking over action heavy. I guess it’s a case that when it comes to medieval fantasy, I don’t give a shit about the Kings banking situation (a stirring conversation featured in episode 3). I do like the performances (periodic nudity and gore), so I will keep on watching. Is Dinklage’s accent the worst or the best? It’s not real right? Discuss.

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096 04-27 Ginger (1971) 2/5

097 04-27 The Abductors (1972) 3.5/5

098 04-27 Girls Are For Loving (1973) 3/5

So once upon a time Cheri Caffaro married Don Schain and Don loved Cheri so much he decided that he had to make her a big movie star. It was decided that she should be a female “James Bond”, and this trio of films were the result. Where James Bond is the epitome of male fantasy and class (IE: a classy asshole), “Ginger” is decidedly not that. Schain chose to feature his wife in nearly constant situations of nudity with her either being the aggressor or the victim. This is total sleaze-ville.

The first film, “Ginger”, introduces the character, obviously, with the plot being that she’s needed to infiltrate a Jersey Shore gang (of at least 6 people) that is running drugs and prostitutes during the tourist season. So already the series is starting out cheap and sleazy compared to the Bonds. “The Abductors” is a similar plot, except this time it’s a white slavery ring abducting women and forcing them into sex slaves. This one was the grimiest of the bunch, which means it was the most entertaining. The last film, “Girls Are For Loving” was unashamedly shot in the Philippines, which means it kind of looks like a Bond film with an international flavour. The plot is similar, Ginger has to fuck her way through a gang. The head of this gang though is another women, so it’s like Ginger is going against someone similar to herself except bad. So that’s interesting? Ginger also starts off undercover as a lounge singer/stripper, and if Caffaro is actually singing, it’s truly sad because she is not a good singer. Anyway, the third film is still sleazy as hell, but has better production values than the first film so I’m rating it higher.

So why did I watch all these Ginger films? A year or more ago I bought a DVD set that featured Caffaro in the last film she made with her husband, “Too Hot To Handle”, and I couldn’t bring myself to start that DVD set of 3 films (all unrelated) until I watched her in the unconnected Ginger movies. It’s a special movie loving sickness that I have…

099 04-27 Thief (1981) 3.5/5

This one is director Michael Mann’s feature film debut. It stars James Caan as an asshole, ex-con safe-cracker who gets mixed up with the mob while trying to do that last heist so he can retire to the family life he always wanted. It has a nice balance of 70’s character piece while setting the stage for the 80’s stylish gloss that Mann will become known for with “Miami Vice” and what not. So in the end it works, the heist stuff is pretty cool, and it’s got James Belushi in it from before he someone transmogrified into a total dick.

100 04-28 Masterchef Canada Season 1 (2014) 3/5

So this cooking show finally wrapped up. I had sworn off the Masterchef series last year, but then they announced a Canadian version so I had to watch it to see how they did it. I was curious if the judges would be total assholes like the American one, or polite and Canadian. They were mostly assholes, and the sad thing was you could tell they were TRYING to be assholes but were actually good guys, as opposed to being total, true assholes. So that’s it. Some guy won and no one cares.

101 04-29 99 and 44/100% Dead (1975) 2/5

This is the second half of a double feature DVD set I have, paired with “The Nickel Ride” which I watched I think last year but forgot to list. How many lost films have I watched and forgotten to list due to laziness? Anyway, this one I remember hearing about for ages and thought it was maybe a cult classic. It features Richard Harris as a hit-man who is hired out by gangster Edmond O’Brien to help quell a gang war. The problem with the film is that it plays like a dopey, slapstick satire at first, but then tries to get a bit serious and action film-y. So it never really works as a spoof or a satire or an action film, it’s just annoying and bad. So watch “The Nickel Ride” and skip this one.

102 04-29 Too Hot To Handle (1977) 3/5

So having watched all the “Ginger” films, it was time to watch this one. Produced by Roger Corman, this is a pretty typical 70’s cheap action film shot in the Philippines. It might as well be a Ginger movie since Caffaro is essentially playing the same character. Instead of a secret agent, she’s an assassin who’s hired to take out some guys. That’s really all you need to know. It’s not as sleazy as the “Ginger” pictures, but still pretty good since the assassination set-ups are a nice change of pace (though she still fucks her way through most of it). Plus there is a remarkably shit Kung-Fu fight on a boat that is worth the $5 this cost seeing as the set of three films was $15. I’ll review the other two next month.

103 04-30 Louis Theroux’s LA Stories (2014) 4/5

Been a fan of Theroux since discovering him on the old “TV Nation” series. Anyone remember that show? Remember when Michael Moore used to be fun instead of a self righteous asshole? No? It was a long time ago. Anyway, this is Thoureux’s latest series and it was as good as any of his other stuff. It’s 3 episodes, the first one is on stray dogs in LA, the second about end of life care and the last about registered sex offenders. So these ones are more serious than some of Thoureux’s shows. So while they may not be as fun as watching him wrestle or act in a gay porn, they are interesting and well worth your time. Theroux has really mastered his journalism style of appearing kind of idiotic in order to get people to open up.

So there it is, April all done! Let’s look at my numbers.

31 Watched    31 First Timers   0 In Theaters

So for the first time since January, I watched more movies than days in a month. I also broke the 100 film mark, but sadly with a stupid cooking show since I never plan my viewing properly to make it special. I believe this is also the first month since I started keeping track where I had no repeat viewings. Everything watched was a first timer. That said, I’m still down from last year where at this point I had watched 135 movies. So I’m 32 films behind from last year. I need to get bed ridden for a week! Is that wrong to hope to be bed ridden so you have an excuse to do nothing but watch movies?

We shall see what next week brings, so far it’s not much. I realized I should probably do a “Best/Worst of the month type of thing. Maybe I’ll do that next time.

The End