Friday, June 28, 2013

Netflix This Movie! - Vol. 32

Your last round of Junesploitation picks. Everything will be back to normal soon.

Adam Riske: Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (?, dir. Jim Jarmusch) Use your June 28th free space for an exploitation movie of the truest and most sincere sense -- it could classify as samurai, revenge, blaxploitation or war. And it's great at being all of them. What I admire most about Ghost Dog is how it avoids its inherent ironic nature (yet still remaining amusing) and becomes a really touching story about code, honor and existing in a society that has long since moved on. Director Jim Jarmusch is very savvy in realizing this applies as much to the gangster characters as it does to the lead, Ghost Dog, played wonderfully by Forest Whitaker. From the music to the script, everything just gels here. I can't recommend it any more highly. One of the best exploitation movies ever made. A true original.
Heath Holland: Tremors (1990, dir. Ron Underwood) Erich seriously just picked this movie earlier in June, but we're nearing the end of JUNESPLOITATION! and I'm tapped out on things that I've seen and can actually recommend without feeling guilty. Sure, I could steer you toward something that's in my queue that I haven't seen yet, but what if it sucks? Worse, what if it sucks and you get hit by a car right after watching it? Then I'll feel like I wasted your last 90 minutes on something I haven't even watched myself. Then I might as well have been driving the car. And I can't watch much more than I'm already watching, because I'm already doing a movie a day just to keep up. So what do you want from me?!

Tremors is a very good bad movie. Rubber monsters, Kevin Bacon, Reba "Is That How She Really Talks" McEntire, and the dad from Family Ties somehow come together to make an incredibly fun movie that's a throwback to the monster and mutant movies of the 1950s. It's not a great movie, but I don't watch Tremors when I want to see a great movie, I watch it when I want to see phallic tentacles pop out of the ground and grab people. This works for either Monster Day or Free Space day. Footloose!
June 28th: Free Space—Devil’s Angels (1967, dir. Daniel Haller) Produced by exploitation king Roger Corman. I will watch anything with John Cassavetes in it.

June 29th: Peplum—Take Your Pick: Hercules Vs. Hydra -- original title: The Loves of Hercules ("Gli amori di Ercole") (1960, dir. Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia) This movie stars Jayne Mansfield and Mickey Hargitey, who were married at the time. The result? Mariska Hargitay, star of NBC’s Law and Order, SVU. Thanks, Hercules.

Hercules Vs. Moloch -- original title: Conquest of Mycene ("Ercole contro Molock") (1963, dir. Giorgio Ferroni) This one stars Gordon Scott, who earlier starred in all those cheap-o Tarzan flicks in the late fifties and early sixties that were impossible to avoid on television when I was a kid. Geez, THANKS A LOT, Hercules!

June 30th: Post-Apocalypse—The Stand (1994, dir. Mick Garris) This movie, originally an ABC miniseries, is a mixed bag. The book was epic, the television miniseries less so. Still, there is a lot to like. Gary Sinise and Ray Walston acquit themselves honorably, Jamie Sheridan and Laura San Giacomo less so. Wouldn’t you know that the showdown between good and evil at the END OF THE FREAKIN’ WORLD would happen in Las Vegas? Buckle yourself in; The Stand is over six hours long!
Mark Ahn: Holy Motors (2012, dir. Leos Carax) For the free space in Junesploitation, I couldn't think of anything more appropriate than a movie that fights free from most norms of categorization. Denis Lavant gives several amazing performances throughout the course of what we can loosely call a narrative.
Free space! - Super (2011, dir. James Gunn) If you haven't already seen James Gunn's fantastic meditation on super heroes, loss and mental illness, you can finally catch up with it on Free Space day. It's a great revenge movie, and it has all the violence and low-fi aesthetic of a lot of classic exploitation movies (read: everything is dirty and grimy). Here's my review from when the movie was first released. But really you should probably just watch Miami Connection.

Peplum! - Conan the Destroyer (1984, dir. Richard Fleischer) John Milius' original Conan the Barbarian is a true genre classic: it's BIG and IMPORTANT and sweeping and violent and wonderful. So how to follow it up? Hire the guy who made Doctor Dolittle to direct the sequel, get Wilt Chamberlin and Grace Jones to co-star and make it PG-rated. The first movie feels like art; this movie feels like shlock. In other words, PERFECT.

Post-apocalpyse! - Hardware (1990, dir. Richard Stanley) This is NOT a perfect movie, but it's an interesting one. A guy scavenging the radioactive wasteland finds a robot; he drops it off at his girlfriend's house, where it promptly comes back online and tries to kill her. Very low budget, but has a well-deserved cult following. Netflix's picks are slim.

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