Movie A Day!: The Immortal Joy

Hey look! Another week of movies! Who would of thought? Spring is finally hitting which meant that yesterday of this writing I was able to rake the yard. Yard work, never ending yard work. Yay for summer!

I started and ended the week with “Women stories” movies directed by men that didn’t feature pornography. Yay me! I think… they were both pretty good. Onward to movies!


112 04/23 The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (2017) 3/5   If there is one person that mums love, it’s Oprah Winfrey. And who can blame them? Oprah seems to be the only morally grounded billionaire on the planet today. Anyway, mum was the reason for this one being watched and it’s actually pretty good. The true story of the family and the woman who gave us the HELA cells that continue to be the basis of biological studies. It’s a good movie with top notch performances. It’s a bit muddled though in that it never finds a balance between the science and the family so you never get a clear vision of either. Mum thought Oprah was just wonderful.


113 04/23 Super-Hooper-Dyne Lizzies (1925) 4/5 A blitzkrieg of gags from Billy Bevan allows this slapstick comedy to roar. A scientist develops cars that run on broadcast electric wave-forms that sends the petrol industry into a tizzy. Great stuff and about as close to a live action cartoon as you will find.


114 04/24 The Match King (1932)  2.5/5   Scumbag Warren William is back, this time playing a bullshitter who manages to take over the world’s matchbook industry based on dodgy bank loans without having any actual wealth or collateral to carry the debt. SOUND LIKE ANYONE CURRENTLY ALIVE AND THE PRESIDENT OF A SUPERPOWER NATION?!?!? Anyways, for a pre-code film it’s pretty tame but it never really gets off for me. There’s only so much interest to be gleaned from the match industry.


115 04/25 A Rainy Knight (1925) 3/5   A sweet little comedy about a clerk attempting to woo a woman and getting caught up in a love triangle. Not much else to say about this one. Probably most notable now for being an early work from Warner Bros. house director Lloyd Bacon who cranked out some gems in the ‘30s like Busby Berkeley’s Wonder Bar.


116 04/26 Ever In My Heart (1933) 3/5   A fine melodrama that find a loving German/American couple torn apart by racism during World War I. Barbara Stanwyck is the lead as the American wife and despite this one being a bit overblown it really works well and is unflinching in it’s depiction of the petty racism that happens during wartime.

This one wraps up the Forbidden Hollywood Vol 10 set. Again, not as strong as earlier entries in the series, but still a lot of fun. Sad that this one appears to be the final volume as these sets were good value on top of the entertainment. I’d give the set as a whole a 4/5.


117 04/27 Saturday Afternoon (1926) 4/5   Harry Langdon takes the lead on this short, playing a hapless little guy with an overbearing wife who decides to attempt to step out behind her back. Langdon is just so damned good in this, he plays everything so small in contrast to the big stuff Keaton and others would do. Even his incredibly dangerous car stunt at the end is played little. It’s hilarious and sweet at the same time.


118 04/28 The Wrecking Crew! (2008) 4/5   Documentary on the legendary studio musicians who played on all the songs you love from 60’s that came out of California. Watching this you find out they played on even more than you thought. A fantastic documentary centering more on guitarist Tommy Tedesco (played the lead guitar on Batman and Hawaii 5-0) since it was directed by his son, it’s great that it allows all the other to tell their stories. And the stories are great. Recommended.


119 04/28 Ladies Night (1980) 3.5/5   Annette Haven stars as a frustrated football widow who goes out with her girlfriends to a cheesy “Ladies Night” for some action. It’s pretty standard adult fare for the period but Haven has genuine star power and the mythical “Lewis Brother of Detroit” have the chops to elevate this one into something more than the usual with some artistic touches.


120 04/29 Joy (2015) 3/5   David O. Russell is back with his make pretend gang Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper for this one about an industrious young woman who refuses to stop pushing forward with her dreams despite the near abusive negative support from everyone she encounters. I’m torn on this since it’s really good as far as subject matter and performances go, but the tone rubbed me the wrong way. O. Russell presents this like a fairy tale with a narration, as if this woman’s story is a wonderful fantasy, because what woman would push this hard and not give up? Am I right guys? It seems really wrong headed since it is based on a true story. Presenting this story a little more straight and it would of elevated it. I don’t know, I could be wrong. People identifying as women, please feel free to tell me in the comments.

Not bad for the week, a nice variety.  I just can’t burn through those silent comedies like I would like to. Drives me crazy that it takes me two nights to watch a 20minute film due to falling asleep. It’s insulting to everyone involved! looking at this week, I wonder how much improved Immortal Life and Joy would have been if directed by women. Would they have escaped the more annoying “Woman’s Picture” traps? Any women read this blog that can comment? Am I over thinking? Over compensating?

Oh hey! Before I forget. I’ve joined the LETTERBOXD movie tracking community and have started logging my movies there. I’m going back in my list archives and have so far logged my very first movie record from the Scary Movie Challenge 2006. Eventually I will catch up to modern day and this blog, but anyone interested in all the movies I’ve seen can check it out. It\s also porn free since they don’t currently allow adult, so you have that going for you too if you hate seeing adult titles being reviewed as actual films instead of wack-off mechanisms.

https://letterboxd.com/ruz_el/

Feel free to follow, share, obsess and judge!

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Movie A Day!: Guilty Exposure!

Hey ho film fans! Did we all get in a bunch of movies this week? I had a real wham-bam of genres and even got in a new-ish one that some readers might of heard of! Boy oh boy, isn’t it great? Let’s get right to it.


103 04/17 Guilty Hands (1931) 3.5/5   Kicking off the 10th and final volume of the Forbidden Hollywood series with this pre-code gem starring Lionel Barrymore (Mr. Potter in It’s A Wonderful Life) as a district attorney who threatens to murder a colleague interested in marrying his daughter. Barrymore is great in the lead and the quick pace/short run time allows this one to be a lot of fun.


104 04/17 Herschell Gordon Lewis: The Godfather of Gore (2010) 4/5   The definitive documentary on the career of Lewis is pretty much all you can ask for. Great appearances by the likes of John Waters and Joe Bob Briggs, with HGL himself taking center stage to discuss his films and career. Tons of great clips and stories, it’s mandatory viewing for any film fan.

This one wraps up the massive Shock & Gore: The Films of Herschell Gordon Lewis set. I would give it a 5/5, a PERFECT FUCKING RATING! I know, many of the films are terrible but taken as a whole and presented this way? The set is a monster! HGL might have been a terrible director, but with writing, scoring, directing, producing, editing, special effect-ing and doing the ad campaigns for all these goofy movies, he is one of the true auteurs of film. I never would have dreamed a set like this would exist, and it’s only about half of his films. He has a whole other side or dreadful nudie cuties and children films. I hope we get a second set with those. A true original, The Blood Trilogy is an absolute must see and are flat out degenerate film classic. The man created the roughies and the gore films. We all owe him a huge debt.


105 04/19 The Mouthpiece (1932) 3.5/5   Pre-code sleaze Warren William plays a hot DA who prosecuted an innocent man to the electric chair, has a change of heart, grows his greasy moustache back and becomes a scumbag defence lawyer who’s only in it for the money. The courtroom scenes are bonkers and the rest is really good with Williams once again perfect as the morally defective lead. I’ve only recall ever seeing him play suave assholes, and here he is the perfect suave asshole. While not as scandalous as some pre-code films, this one was still a lot of fun.


106 04/19 Psycho Cop Returns (1993) 3/5   It’s the Vinegar Syndrome time of month! This one is a horror comedy about… A PSYCHO COP! It’s a sequel to a film I have never seen, but it doesn’t matter since it’s a stand alone film. Started off pretty painful with some hammy performances but once things get going it’s pretty near non-stop crazy gore effects and tits (cult legend Julie Strain!), so you can’t really complain. No risk of this one becoming anyone’s favourite film (guessing I’ll be proven wrong), but there are worse horror comedies to watch.


107 04/20 Secrets of the French Police (1932) 3/5   A burglar gets recruited by the police to help track his missing girlfriend who has been kidnapped by Russians in a ploy to get the riches of the missing Princess Anastasia. Throw in more than a touch of mad scientist and I don’t think you’ll get a more convoluted hour of film anywhere else. It’s not so much good as it’s so jam packed with different things going on that you can’t help but be enraptured by it.


108 04/21 Nighthawks (1981) 4/5   I hadn’t seen this one since the VHS days. I remembered it as one of my favourite Stallone films and it’s nice to see it holds up. Stallone and Billy Dee Williams are a pair of street cops that get recruited to a newly formed NYC terrorist squad to track terrorist Rutger Hauer. It’s a pretty typical action movie that pre-dates the jokey “Buddy Cop” formula that would take over the 80’s so it plays it pretty straight. It mostly just really works with Hauer putting in a great villain turn and the seedy NYC locations fitting the action. Worth checking out. (And for dirty film fans, porn legend Jamie Gillis has a bit part as a fashion designer!)

109 04/21 Hot Flashes (1984) 2/5   Pointless adult fair about a sexy news network doing sexy news stories. One of those quickies where you can periodically hear the director giving suggestions should tell you all you need to know. One of Vinegar Syndrome’s weaker efforts.


110 04/22 Double Exposure (1983) 2.5/5   More thriller than horror about a pin-up photographer who has nightmares of his models being killed, or are they memories? It mostly works, it’s interesting in that it’s a middle aged cast when most of these tend to skew younger. It has a TV vibe (despite being graphic) which hurts it more than helping it and it sadly just never seems to fully kick off properly.

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111 04/22 Sicario (2015) 4/5   Crime film dealing with American agents going after the Mexican drug cartels and is fantastic. A great backdrop of the blurry politics involved helps the dramatic aspects be as interesting as the intense action bits. Emily Blunt is perfect as the agent swept up into the investigation, and Benicio Del Toro once again steals the movie. Highly recommended.

See? Not a bad week with something for everyone! Or nothing for no one. Who knows who even reads this thing? I should check the metrics.

That’s it.