Movie A Day! 369-376 – Grumpy Old Man

Here we are with the round-up! And it’s a month end one as well, hence I’m late posting it! Boy, November flew by. I got in a few movies, which is surprising since this was a busy weekend. It was Black Friday, which is an American Armageddon like event for shopping. We don’t really do it here in Canada, but the local record shops do participate in the Record Store Day event with exclusive releases. So this weekend has been a lot of record listening in my house. I also got notice that my PONO player will arrive early this week, so I have a feeling that movies will take a little slide this week too. Let’s look at what I watched, and be prepared for a bit of a bitch over the first one.

369 11-23 The American Music Awards, The Country Music Awards, The Hollywood Film Awards (2014) 1/5

I didn’t watch all of these on the one day, but over the past couple weeks. Part of looking after an older parent is you get to watch stuff that you normally wouldn’t watch. The Hollywood Film Awards has to be the biggest pile of back slapping bullshit I’ve ever seen. The winners know they won, so one of their friends gives an admiring speech and they accept the award. Ridiculous. The CMA’s was just god awful. Modern country music continues to sound like shitty hair metal power ballads from the 80’s and I hate it. The AMA’s were pretty much just as bad aside from a some good performances by Taylor Swift and some girl band I never did catch the name of, Crystal Head? I don’t know, but the rest of the acts were the shits. Give me my old garbage over this new garbage that features Lil Wayne honking like a duck with something caught in it’s throat.

370 11-24 Zatoichi Goes To Fire Festival (1970) 4.5/5
Film 21 in the series and holy shit did it not disappoint! Zatoichi is labeled to be killed by a blind Yakuza boss, and the battles of wits and swords is fantastic! There hasn’t been a single dog film yet in this collections, and this one was one of the best.

371 11-25 The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942) 3/5
This one is simply good enough. Bela Lugosi is back as Ygor, and he finds Frankenstein’s other son to get the monster going again. The current Frankenstein has figured out brain transplants so things get goofy. Lon Chaney Jr. gets a crack at playing the monster and he does a great job, as does Bela. It’s all just a bit too goofy in comparison to the previous films.

372 11-27 Two Rode Together (1961) 3.5/5
This is the last film in the John Ford Columbia Pictures Collection put out by TCM, and the only one in the set that is a western. Starring James Stewart as a total asshole marshal/bounty hunter who is hired up by Richard Widmark’s army to make a deal with some evil Indians to trade back kidnapped kids. Ford supposedly hated this one, and Leonard Maltin shits on it a bit in the extra features, but I’ve seen worse. Stewart and Widmark are both great in it which helps make up for the scripts shortcomings, like the annalistic racism that it’s riddled with. It’s definitely the ugly brother to Ford’s masterpiece “The Searchers” which deals with similar themes. In the end, it’s a Ford western, if you’re a fan, it’s worth checking out.

The Goonies Movie Poster

373 11-28 The Goonies (1985) 2.5/5
Re-watched this one for the first time since seeing it in the theaters back when I was 11 years old or so. Yeash. I didn’t care for it then, and I just don’t care for it now. This ones considered a bit of a classic these days, so I was hoping to be surprised. Nope. The kids are all great, especially Sean Astin and Josh Brolin. My problem is I have no tolerance for eight kids all yelling wisecracks at and over each other for two hours. If you don’t mind the racket, there’s lots to like in this one.

374 11-28 Pretty Peaches (1978) 4/5
After Vinegar Syndrome released Pretty Peaches 2 & 3 earlier this year, I figured this one would continue to go unreleased. Low and behold, they put it out as a limited edition blu-ray with a regular DVD coming next year. Looking fantastic, it was great to see the one that spawned the sequels. While the sequels felt more like loop carriers, this one feels like a proper film with a genuinely funny story that is still packed with sex. Desiree Cousteau makes her debut in this one as Peaches, and she is perfect as the pouting and perturbed amnesiac constantly being taken advantage of in every way possible. The rest of the cast is just as good, and this one makes it clear that prior to the video era, de Ranzy was up there with Henri Paris as far as being able to make quality films that happened to be porn. This Vinegar Syndrome blu also includes clips from the only known filmed interview with de Renzy, on top of a movie looking better on disc than most mainstream films from the same era. If you like the idea of a Russ Meyer movie done hardcore, this one is the one for you.

375 11-29 F For Fake (1975) 4/5
More of an essay than a documentary, this is Orson Welles looking at Elmyr de Hory, the worlds most notorious art forger who was biographed by Clifford Irving. While in production, it was discovered that Irving forged the infamous Howard Hughes Autobiography. Welles himself is a famous fake, responsible for the War of the Worlds hoax, so it’s a film about fakes, made by a fake. It’s a whirlwind of theory, editing, all solidly in Welles hands, and it breaks your heart that Welles never had a chance to have this much control on his films since it is a wonder to behold. Cheeky, funny, interesting, and all Welles, it’s highly recommended.

376 11-30 Invisible Agent (1942) 3/5

This one finds Griffins grandson trying to avoid his grandfathers horrible legacy of invisibility only to get swept up in world war two after nazi agents track him down and try to brace him for the formula. It’s straight up WW2 propaganda, but it mostly works and is a lot of fun, especially Peter Lorre playing a Japanese agent after being typecast from his Mr. Motto role. Oh yeah, it’s pretty racist and of it’s time to.

Not a bad week, or month really. No horrible films watched, aside from those dumb awards shows. Let’s look at the final numbers.

30 Watched,  22 First Timers,  0 Theaters

Actually nailed a movie a day! I think this is the first month. Still nothing at the theaters. I just have little desire to bother going. That said, I really need to see Interstellar in the IMAX.

Let’s see how I did last year:

31 Watched, 22 First Timers, 2 Theater

Look at that, one more watched and the same amount of new films! That’s never happened. This is creepy, let’s move on.

Best of the month is: F For Fake, Pretty Peaches, all the Zatoichi films I watched and Wreck-It Ralph.

No worst of the month, other than the award shows. And maybe The Goonies though it’s really not a bad movie, just too annoying with the kids.

That’s it for now, thanks, as always for reading.

The End

 

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Movie A Day!: 321-330 – Still With The Scary Movies!

It’s November 1st, so time to recap October. Except I’m still weeks behind in posting my movies due to getting the never ending stomach flu. So here’s more from last week.

321 10-23 Night of the Bloody Apes (1962) 3.5/5
I checked another one off the “Video Nasties” list with this one. Typically the nasties are pretty terrible, but this Mexican wonder was a hell of a lot of fun. It’s a total kitchen sink film, with women’s wrestling, mad doctor, monster, nudity, mondo surgery footage mixed with cheap gore and effects all add up to a film that will certainly hold your attention. This one is not for the squeamish, they use actual open heart surgery footage. Also, there’s only one ape-man, so the title doesn’t make any sense either.

322 10-23 The Son of Frankenstein (1939) 4/5
I’ve never loved this one as much as I have the previous two and I think I know why with this new viewing. This one features Basil Rathbone as the titles Son of Frankenstein, returning to the ruins of his fathers lab to take claim of his properties. Boris Karloff returns as the monster, the last time he will play the character in a Universal horror. Bela Lugosi is featured as Ygor, a hunchback with a broken neck from surviving a hanging from the towns people for his part in helping Frankenstein Sr. build the monster. This is where the problem lies with the film. As good as Basil is, and Karloff is, Bela is better. In fact, Lugosi is so good as Ygor that he steals the entire film to the point that when he’s not in a scene, you’re just waiting for him to show up. The movie actually suffers pacing issues from this. So while the movie’s not bad in anyway, it’s simply a case of not being as interesting as Ygor. So watch it for Lugosi, and not Karloff since the monster sadly get’s sold short both in plot, and sequence since they made him mute again. Such a shame since it’s Karloff’s last crack at the monster that the monster wasn’t more of the focal point. I mean, Ygor aside, the one armed Inspector guy is more interesting than Frankenstein and his monster.

323 10-23 The Neanderthal Man (1953) 2/5
This is basically a werewolf movie based around science. Some mad doctor type comes up with a serum that when injected reverts the subject back to his primal form. So cats become sabertooth tiger sand scientist become Neanderthal Men and you will probably be lulled to sleep if you watch this around midnight.

323 10-24 Gremlins (1984) 4/5
I hadn’t seen this one since the VHS days, I remember seeing it in it’s original theatrical run. Anyway, I had forgotten just how delightfully fun this one is! Dante absolutely nails everything there is to nail, and there’s a ton of easter eggs for horror nerds to dig. Not the sweet kiddie picture my brain had relegated it too, that’s for sure. I’m going to watch the sequel tomorrow night.

324 10-24 The Brain That Wouldn’t Die (1962) 3.5/5
I’m probably alone in liking this movie and rating it so high. I remember it mostly from “It Came From Hollywood”, and that image of the woman’s head is pretty much the poster child of a bad movie, so I never bothered with it. Ends up that the film is completely gonzo and a fun bit of sleaze too. A doctor saves his wife’s head after she is killed in a car accident, and the proceeds to prowl strip clubs, whore and photo club models to find replacement body. It’s a mix of Frankenstein meets Michael Findlay via Ed Wood Jr., and more fun than it’s probably given credit for.

325 10-25 Halloween Extended Edition (2000) 4/5
10-25 Halloween Unmasked 2000 (1999) 3/5
Well, it’s time to crack open the mammoth sized complete blu-ray boxset. I decided to start out with the first film as I’ve never seen it before. The extended edition is basically the theatrical with extra scenes shot to pad the television version cut into it. It’s actually really good, and does flesh out the film more. I’m thinking Rob Zombie was inspired by some of this added footage when he remade the film. It’s not better than the original, but it’s not a whole lot worse either. A genuine alternate version that’s worth a look. Halloween Unmasked 2000 is a pretty standard look back, interview type thing that doesn’t get too deep into the making of the film, but has some nice recollections and the warm fuzzies for the original that you would expect. I’m not counting it though since it was under an hour long.

326 10-25 Without Warning (1980) 3/5
Aliens are in the woods, with flying pepperoni tentacle things killing people. It’s patently dumb, and the alien and pepperoni’s are crap but… you get two of the finest character actors in film. Watching Jack Palance and Martin Landau out crazy each other by playing their bonker roles completely straight actually helps make this one pretty good. You forget how stupid and cheap it is and end up enjoying the rise. Plus you get egomaniac David Caruso in an early role playing a cocky douche bag that you know he will end up mastering in real life. I might be projecting.

327 10-25 Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990) 3.5/5
This one I seem to think had the reputation of being terrible. I know I didn’t care for it when I saw it the one time in the theaters or the week it came out on VHS. All these years later, it’s not so bad. It’s not an “ahead of it’s time” type thing, but a case of a film being so completely nuts that they sabotage the actual film. It plays like the ultimate tribute to “Looney Tunes”, and a good Tex Avery Loony Tune at that, with a base plot designed to be an excuse of barely contained chaos. It’s also packed once again with lots of easter eggs for genre fans. So yeah, as much fun as the first one, that works as a parody of the first films success and as it’s own bonkers thing.

 

328 10-25 Red Heat (1976) 2/5
Ray Dennis Steckler solidified his place in the cult cannon with his film “The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-up Zombies!!!” LIke his grade-Z Contemporary Ed Wood Jr., the seventies found him dabbling in porn to make ends meet. Which is where we find him with this one. It’s got a weird, documentary like narration but the basic plot is a porn starlet is killing guys while some weirdo on a motorbike is robbing people. This barely sensible plot basically holds together crappy porn loops. It’s weird, but not necessarily good weird.

329 10-26 Halloween II (TV Version) (1981) 3/5
The added scenes are neat, but the real problem with this DVD is it literally is the TV version. So violence and language is cut. If they edited the extra footage into the theatrical, it would probably improve the movie.

330 10-26 Halloween (1978) 4.5/5
You know what, I should of watched this one before the extended edition because I kind of miss those extra scenes! Don’t get me wrong, the extended scenes are kind of redundant since Loomis basically tells the cop guy what happened in them, but they are still nice. Anyway, this one is a classic, it kicked off a wave of slasher films that few could match and I still have a crush on P.J. Soles. Totally.

That’s it for  today, a weirdo Saturday blog no one will read. Oh well, you should have me subscribed so you can read me Monday morning anyway, you fiends!