Movie A Day! 408-421 – “The End?”

We made it to 2015. 2014 was one of the worst years I’ve had. Not going to lie. Starting 2015 in a rage after spending new years eve with extended family. Such selfishness abounds, it’s gross. Let’s all hope the rest of the year chills the fuck out.

Sorry, this one’s going to be a bit lengthy since I watched a bunch to end the year, and I have to total up the whole month. Straight to the movies!

408 12-28 The Killer Elite (1975) 3.5/5

James Caan and Robert Duvall star in this Sam Peckinpah actioner about a couple of CIA hitmen that come to odds with each other. This one seems to get panned a bit, but I really enjoyed it. There’s an extended sequence of martial arts training that is actually quite neat, and compliment the more briskly paced action bits of the latter half. Caan and Duvall are both good and the massive set piece ninja attack at the end is hilariously fun. So it may be lesser Peckinpah compared to his classics, but it’s still Peckinpah and worth a watch.

409 12-29 The Video Game Years 1977 (2012) 3/5
410 12-29 The Video Game Years 1978 (2012) 3/5
411 12-29 The Video Game Years 1979 (2012) 3/5
These are all available online via RetrowareTV youtube. Not the most studious history of video games that you will find, but a fun, nerdy one all the same. I get a pretty good nostalgia kick watching these since I’m ancient enough to have not only been around to play, but actually own a lot of the different machines and games on display.

412 12-29 The Ultimate Pleasure (1977) 2.5/5
Another Bonkers adult feature from Carlos Tobalina (JUNGLE BLUE). This one seems more straight plotwise, a wife is getting burned out and not wanting sex, so while her hubby goes to vegas to bang hookers for relief, she goes to a clinic. Then it takes a swerve into lala land where it becomes completely unclear as to if it’s actually happening or is all part of the drug induced therapy she is having. Then it takes another swerve into the weird with a massive dose of anti-consumerism rhetoric. Tobalina seems completely incapable of being coherent, which added to his piss poor directing where shots are out of focus, boom mikes are seen, and best of all, a crew member enters the frame to pull some wire out of the shot while a couple starts to get busy, this movie should be horrible. Yet, despite or because of all this, with the addition of a great cast of seventies adult stars like Annette Haven, Candida Royalle and John Holmes, it still manages to be entertaining.

413 12-30 The Video Game Years 1980 (2012) 3/5
414 12-30 The Video Game Years 1981 (2013) 3/5
415 12-30 The Video Game Years 1982 (2013) 3/5
416 12-30 The Video Game Years 1983 (2014) 3/5
Yeah, I really got hooked on watching these. Now I’m caught up since I stumbled on the series with the 1984 entry.

417 12-30 Zatoichi’s Conspiracy (1973) 4.5/5
So this is it, the last of the original Zatoichi films. It was a good one too, with Zatoichi returning to his home village to discover that a childhood friend is screwing over the town to profit on his own. Katsu is perfect as Zatoichi at this point, managing to be lovable and terrifying within the same shot. This set from Criterion is easily one of the finest purchases I have made in the hobby, and is highly recommended.

418 12-30 Loony Tunes Platinum Collection Vol 2 (2012) 5/5
This is a 3 disc set of blu-rays featuring hi-def remasters of Looney Tunes cartoons that I’ve been watching on and off since September or so. To say it’s mamoth is an understatement. The first two discs are all Looney Tunes with extras, covering fifty shorts each. Disc three though is the really good stuff. You get two documentaries on Tex Avery, a collection of cartoons done by Friz Freleng for MGM, and best of all, eleven cartoons done by Tex for MGM that manage to be about 100% more laugh out loud funny than the previous two discs. Why there isn’t a definitive Tex Avery collection out by now is beyond me. Add in some PRIVATE SNAFU toon’s made for the army, and dozens more bonuses and this set is fantastic and a must own for classic cartoon fans. My only nit pick is that it repeats cartoons from the Golden Collection DVD series, disc three isn’t in hi-def, and volume 3 is going to be the last volume since Warners bailed on the series, the assholes.

419 12-31 Almost True: The Noble Art of Forgery (1997) 2.5/5
420 12-31 Paradise Regained – The Making of Phantom of the Paradise 3.5/5
I watched the special features on a couple of discs I watched earlier in the year. ALMOST TRUE is from the fantastic Criterion release of Orson Welles’ F IS FOR FAKE that I loved so hard last month. It’s a more typical profile on Elmyr de Hory, the art forger covered in F. the rest of the features on the disc are equally good, a great interview with Welles on Tom Snydor, a profile on Clifford Erving on 60 Minutes, and a second doc on Welle’s that I still have to watch.

PARADISE is the main doc that comes with the Scream Factory release of PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE, and along with all the additional interviews and outtakes included, it tells you everything you would want to know about the film, and is entertaining too.

421 12-31 Dick Clarks New Years Rockin’ Eve Live 2015 (2014) 2.5/5
not much to say, pop stars since and a ball drops. It ends up that I like Taylor Swift now, and Charli XCX is the singer I liked on the AMA’s earlier in the month that I thought was a band called Crystal Head. This one get’s a half point knocked off for having crazy asshole Jenny McCarthy as a co-host.

Right, there it all is. I warned you it would be long! Now, let’s see my totals for the month:

45 Watched, 37 First Timers, 0 Theaters

Surprisingly big month! Lot’s of hour long things though to balance out the films so I guess that’s why it added up. Plus it’s cold out and I don’t like to leave the house. Let’s compare to last December:

33 Watched, 32 First Timers, 0 Theaters

Huh, this I think only the second month that I watched more than I did in 2013. Neat.

Now for the scary part, the year end numbers. 2014:

399 Watched, 335 First Timers, 1 In Theaters

I managed to watch more than a movie a day! It was looking a bit dodgy early on, but I made it. Yay me. 2013:

505 Watched, 435 First Timers, 15 In Theaters

Now there’s some movie watching for you! I used to have regular movie nights with friends where we would power through 4 or so movies once a week. Ah, those were the days. Funny thing, the theater experience has gotten so annoying with pre-sold tickets and cell phones that I don’t really miss it. This year we saw a new David Fincher film come out, GONE GIRL, as it was the only film of his I missed in the theaters. Between the experience and finding myself less and less interested in the franchise blockbusters, who knows how often I’ll bother to go in 2015.

My favourites of the year:

THE PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE – The movie is just such a hoot with great music. Well worth a spin

ZATOICHI THE BLIND SWORDSMAN – Obviously the massive Criterion boxset was going to be oo here.

THE ART OF KILLING – Disturbing documentaries are the best.

THE SWIMMER – Grindhouse releasing went odd and put out a Burt Lancaster film that ended up being the lost Twilight Zone episode that should of been.

BREAKING BAD – I’ll watch it all again, nuff said.

THE ERNIE KOVACS COLLECTION – The dawn of television comedy that beats most of what’s aired today.

ACE IN THE HOLE – A film about the media that ended up being prophecy.

RAW FORCE – the gonzo zombie, kung-fu, Hitler movie from Vinegar Syndrome. Actually, Vinegar Syndrome as a whole was a favourite, treating porno, sexploitation, exploitation and underground arthouse titles with the type of love the major studios don’t give their Alfred Hitchcock titles.

F FOR FAKE – I wont talk about this one a third time, I loved it but I can see it annoying the hell out of people.

Well, that’s about it. Maybe I’ll continue, maybe I wont. If I do continue, I might change it up a bit so it’s less time consuming to compile. We’ll all have to see.

Thank you to those who stuck around through my past year of movies, your reading and comments were and are appreciated!

The End.

Advertisements

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