Movie A Day!: Kung Fu Scoundrels

I read this earlier today. Read it.

https://www.theguardian.com/global/2017/sep/17/choosing-to-be-on-your-own

This one is bigger than I was expecting. Wrapped up The Wire, which left me a little short to post when I usually do. Now it’s a long read. In a couple weeks I start the Scary Movie Challenge. there will be too many posts. Not that I have any idea if anyone actually subscribes to this.

Kung Fu, porno, and classic Hollywood. Pretty typical.


265 09/05 Whiplash (1974) 3/5   Pei-Pei Cheng is back this time capturing a gang of bandits and forcing them to show her where they found some items of her father. It’s a kung fu adventure flick in the mountains with a hidden treasure, played for laughs with a song about boners. It’s one of those awful films that end up being kind of unbelievable and likeable. Hard to recommend, but I’d be tempted to force it on friends.

266 09/08 Sunny (1979) 3.5/5   Candida Royalle takes the title role in this one about a young woman hired to influence a young man but sets out to get his money for herself. It’s classy adult fare from Shaun Costello who manages to slowly add in some sleazy aspects as it goes on to keep the Time’s Square crowd interested. It runs short, which means it never tests your patience and works better than most from the era.


267 09/09 The Wire Season 5 (2008) 4/5   The series wraps up with season, and it’s great. This one shifts focus once again, this time including the media in the tangled web of politics, police works and what not and how the least of anyone’s worries is the people the civil servants are supposed to serve. It also finds McNulty fully succumbing to his obsessions. It’s great stuff, and a perfect ending to the series. I give the whole series a 5/5. Highly recommended.


268 09/09 One-Armed Boxer (1972) 4/5   Jimmy Wang Yu writes, directs and stars in this one, about a boxer who’s master and group is pretty much wiped out by the evil Iron Claw Gang and the evil gangs hired martial arts masters of different disciplines. It’s near non-stop fights, and the whole gang war thing starts over a dudes pet finch. It’s shithouse bonkers, with the one-armed boxers training being the most bonkers of many bonkers moments. It makes for an absolute gem of a kung fu film that has everything you are looking for in an Golden Harvest oldie.    

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269 09/10 The Tattooed Dragon (1973) 2.5/5   This Kung Fu flick can best be described as “serviceable”. Jimmy Wang Yu is back, this time as the Tattooed Dragon, a Robin Hood like character who keeps the thugs at bay. It’s starts off strong, but then does a hard right dealing with a duck farmer and a town’s gambling problems that features far too little fighting to hold any interest. When Wang is kicking the shit out of folks, it’s great! There’s just not enough of it.


270 09/13 Beach Party (1963) 3/5   After all these years, I have finally seen a proper Frankie & Annette Beach Party movie. (I’m not counting the classic Back To The Beach as proper.) It wasn’t really worth it. A bunch of teens are hanging out at the beach, surfing, with an anthropologist studying their habits being the excuse for the whole thing. It’s not a good movie, but it is charming in it’s own way which never makes it super annoying or anything. Dick Dale is sadly wasted, but the self awareness that this film is pandering to teenagers keeps it going. It’s goofy enough that I’ll watch more of these.


271 09/13 Beach of the War Gods (1973) 3/5   Jimmy Wang Yu is back writing, directing and starring in this one about a Chinese town fighting to keep marauding Japanese at bay. For the most part it works, it’s a little draggy in the middle but the last third of non-stop bananas action makes up for it.


272 09/14 Alias Nick Beal (1949) 3/5   An interesting twist on a political corruption story with Thomas Mitchell taking the lead as a crime fighting D.A. that gets a push to being a Governor. Ray Milland is the pusher, and he may be the devil. Lots of noir touches in this one, but it I found dragged bit in the latter half despite how great the leads (and Audrey Totter in a showy support role) are.   


273 09/15 The Man Called Tiger (1973) 3/5   Jimmy Wang Yu is back in the final film in the set I have. This time he’s in a contemporary setting and playing a kind of cool “Steve McQueen” type, only he’s not up to the part like Bruce Lee was. It mostly drags until once again, things go bonkers in the last half with near nonstop fighting.


274 09/15 More Than Sisters (1979) 3/5   The second feature on the Shaun Costello disc that also featured Sunny, this one is the exact opposite. All the glossy style of Sunny is gone, replaced by an incredibly dark and seed psychological thriller that is closer to horror that porno usual gets. It makes for a nice surprise and speaks to Costello’s talent for using any budget to his advantage.

275 09/16 Farm Aid 2017 3.5/5   Spent the day watching this one. Margo Price continues to be a new favourite, but the real attraction for me is seeing what Neil Young is going to do. Young did a set with Promise of the Real and it was simply okay. Young didn’t seem to be into like he typically is. I’m hoping it’s road rust and not age. Willie Nelson wrapped the night up and it’s just a joy to see him out there.

276 09/16 Scoundrels (1982) 4/5   Since unexpectedly getting into porno chic thanks to the fiends at Vinegar Syndrome, Cecil Howard has been a name mentioned in the VS circles as one of the master of the genre. This is the first of his films that I have seen, and I have to say, they’re right. This one stars Ron Jeremy as a successful psychiatrist whose family is coming apart at the seams. Everyone knows Ron Jeremy, he’s a goof. In here he plays it pretty straight, and the film is quite serious in tone, and Jeremy is legit fantastic in this. Especially in the surreal clown bits. And it all works with the near constant sex scenes. A strong film that’s easy to recommend. The Blu-ray put out from Command Cinema with the help of Distribpix is a beauty. 

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Movie A Day!: 347-354 – November is Here

It’s finally November! You know what that means? No more horror films! Okay, there’s still horror films, but it’s mixed with the usual Samurai and porno. Yay!

347 11-01 Samaritan Zatoichi (1968) 3.5/5

The 19th film in the series is as good as the rest of them. Fantastic cinematography, style and music help make the same old plot work. That and the kickass sword play of course.

348 11-01 Wanda Whips Wall Street (1981) 3.5/5
I rarely revisit porn films, but Distripix re-released this one in it’s proper widescreen format and colour corrected and what not, so I gave it a shot. It was worth it since this one is a hell of a lot of fun. Veronica Hart (BOOGIE NIGHTS) stars as the title character, who moves to the big city and sleeps her way through a stock brokerage firm in a bid to take it over. Legends Jamie Gillis and a startlingly young and handsome Ron Jeremy are investigators brought in to stop her. It sounds like a typical porn plot, but director Larry Revine really mines it for comedy, sometimes at the expense of the actual porn. It manages to be legitimately funny and I was constantly reminded of the pre-code films from Hollywood’s golden age that has similar plots. Hell, Barbara Stanwyck pretty much owes her career to playing similar roles, it’s crazy that it took a film from the tale end of the “Porno Chic” era to mine such a natural genre honestly and not just exploitatively.

349 11-02 Man-Made Monster (1941) 3.5/5
This one is basically a Frankenstein retread, with Lon Chaney Jr. as the title monster. Chaney plays a man who seems to have an immunity to electricity, so a crazy scientist uses him to experiment on, zapping him so full of electricity he gets a death touch. It’s actually pretty good, and the movie is stolen completely by the pet dog that is best buds with Chaney prior to the experiments. That damned dog will break your heart, and it’s rare that a universal movie not named BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN breaks your heart.

350 11-03 Horror Island (1941) 2.5/5
This one is about a couple of schmucks who get involved with a treasure map and the search for pirate gold. They end up on a haunted island and there’s some shenanigans with a creep trying to stop them. It’s all played for yuks, and the mystery element is a bit shit so it never really works. Certainly a lesser film in the Universal Horror cycle. Let’s forget all about it and the fact that I hit another milestone type number, film 350, with another crappy movie.

351 10-07 Hearts & Minds (1974) 4/5
This one is a documentary on the Vietnam war, kind of. Instead of dealing with just the facts of the war, it deals more about how it came to happen and how it affected culture both in America and Vietnam. Made when the war was going and produced by the same house that put out “Easy Rider”, it’s obviously anti-war, but it’s never preachy or hippy dippy. Instead, it’s confrontational and quite shocking at times seeing some of the uncensored footage. It all adds up to being “good”, in the way that “Shoah” is good, but not really a great time. If that makes sense.

352 10-08 Jerry Lee Lewis – Live in Austin TX (1983) 4/5
This is an hour long performance recorded for “Austin City Limits” and captures Lewis at the top of his game. The Killer was always the guy from Sun Records that kind of got kicked around, compared to his label mates Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley. It’s a shame, since he really is an insanely great entertainer, and you could argue that he is the definitive honky-tonk musician, effortlessly going from country to rock to gospel. Bonus is watching him play the piano, where he shows a dexterity up their with the best of the stride players.

353 10-08 I Love Lucy: The Complete Third Season (1953) 4/5
Not much to say other than this was another fun season. They kept the baby in the background, which is a good thing since forcing baby jokes into a sitcom that doesn’t require it is never a good thing. The high point is a 2 part storyline featuring Tennessee Ernie Ford as a lost cousin visiting the Ricardos. Ford is deadly funny as a stereotypical bumpkin, and his appearance really kicked the gang into overdrive.

354 10-08 Deep Inside Annie Sprinkle (1981) 3/5
I was kind of disappointed by this one, and I think it’s due to high expectations. It’s a title I had heard lots about, Sprinkle went from porn star to activist to feminist performance art, and all on her terms. This was the first film that she directed (co-directed really, with legend Joe Sarno), and while it’s kind of cute, it’s basically just a wall to wall sex film. Which is fine, but I expected more since she produced and wrote it. Which is stupid since it was made before all the above activism, performance art, etc. Anyway, it’s not terrible, I just expected it to be more.

There it is. Week one done. I hit a milestone, film 350, and it was crap. Since the horror challenge I’ve been binging on Walking Dead, Doctor Who, Agents of SHIELD, all those dumb tv shows that had the nerve to start while I was watching horror movies.I’m holding off on starting Gotham and Constantine. Constantine is probably going to be canceled so I’ll probably skip it entirely. Gotham I might get to once I catch up on SHIELD. The Flash can fuck off since I’m yet to watch Arrow, and I just can’t seem to get excited to watch Arrow.

Speaking of the scary movie challenge, I won it! I had the most watched, beat the next guy by 5 titles, due to him watching a bunch of TV horror that counts as less. So I get a bunch more movies to watch! Huzzah! See, there are actual rewards to watching all the movies, not just 3 weeks of diarrhea!

Dare to live your dreams people!

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

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

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

https://i2.wp.com/vinegarsyndrome.com/launch/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/VS-038_web.jpg

 

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

https://i1.wp.com/images.moviepostershop.com/bamboo-gods-and-iron-men-movie-poster-1974-1020207101.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The End