This space for rent.
We're at about the halfway point of summer! Good news for those of you who are weary of expensive blockbusters, GREAT news for those of you who are excited to be that much closer to #ScaryMovieMonth!
Let's talk about what we're watching, thinking, and talking about. META.
The weekend began with a couple of yakuza films directed by Yasuharu Hasebe, MASSACRE GUN (1967) and RETALIATION (1968).ReplyDelete
Though there are many similarities in the stories and the cast of both films is roughly the same, each film is stylistically a distinct entity. Neither film is lacking in style, either.
Massacre Gun is a black-and-white film with a jazzy score that is a joy to watch. The cinematography is beautiful, the cast energetically plays its roles, and the pacing is just right. The elegance of Massacre Gun made it my favorite of the two.
Retaliation is a much rougher film. The violence is more prolonged and graphic, and there are a couple of sequences of sexual violence. The amount of nudity and sex, actually, is surprising for the period. This seems like an exploitation film at times. The chaos of the story unfolds in lively color with some very creative camera work. Moreover, the location shooting is very impressive. Some of the street scenes do not feel staged at all. (I wondered if some guerilla filmmaking was involved there.) The fight sequences are also exciting and bloody. Although I found the plot a little too convoluted to follow at points, it did not detract from my enjoyment of Retaliation.
I crammed both films because they are going off Fandor after this weekend. Another film I watched a couple of days ago for the same reason is Fernando di Leo's KIDNAP SYNDICATE (1975). While the beginning is very strong, the film loses steam as it nears the conclusion. Luc Merenda was better in another di Leo film, SHOOT FIRST, DIE LATER.
Hope all of you have some enjoyable watches this weekend.
A Casual Listener
Casual, just wanted to say that your participation during Junesploitation was one of my favorite new aspects of it! You've got a great knowledge of and interest in the same types of genre pictures I do, and it's always exciting to hear what you're watching!ReplyDelete
And speaking of genre pictures, I'm crazy excited this weekend because I just found out about the upcoming re-release on blu-ray of AGFA and Something Weird's 2k restoration of the early '70s parody porno Bat Pussy. This is incredible news, because Bat Pussy is one of the most mind-blowingly awful and rare movies ever put out there, and really doesn't deserve the kind of treatment it's getting here (which I mean as a compliment.) It's an hour long movie that feels like it's four times that length, and it takes place nearly entirely in one bedroom where one drunk, disgustingly un-sexy married couple scream at and insult each other until a girl in a Batman costume shows up to scream at them too. The only known copy in existence was found in the storeroom of a Tennessee porno theater. This is up there with the restorations of Thundercrack and Manos in my mind, and if the AGFA never made a single other release, this one will have justified their entire existence.
Thank you for the kind words, E.S.A.D.D.Delete
While I have been a cinephile for more than twenty years, it is only in the last decade that I have delved deeply into genre films and exploitation. It is a pleasure to discuss these movies here and discover new ones through all of you. Seeing the range of titles and genres covered on the website, especially for Junesploitation, has provided motivation to dig a little deeper for lesser known films worthy of more attention.
It definitely is surprising and heartening to see movies like Bat Pussy restored and released today, particularly in light of the decline in the physical media market and the rise of streaming services. Bat Pussy, like the bulk of Something Weird's catalog or the adult films released by Vinegar Syndrome, caters to a niche audience and is not likely to show up on Netflix or Amazon Prime.
A Casual Listener
Saw Beatriz at Dinner. I'm sort of down the middle on it. I was expecting basically a Democrats-Republicans Thanksgiving dinner argument with talented actors, but it's more muted. I thought it was sort of heavy-handed and obvious as I watched it (though there are things to admire, especially Salma Hayek's performance) but then I started to think more about it and it hasn't left my brain since yesterday. I'm not sure though if that's because of the movie or because it is about what life is like in 2017 where many are furious but can only point out they are furious and do nothing about it and many are motivated to act but only in ways that benefit their own self-interests.ReplyDelete
Also saw Spider-Man: Homecoming. It's fine. I definitely have things I didn't like about it but it's funny so I'll take that.
I'm chomping at the bit, to hear the podcast. Trying to figure out what anyone could not like a bout it?Delete
I won't go in depth until the end of summer show because Patrick (I think) is covering that one and I don't want to step on his review. I didn't think Spider-Man: Homecoming was bad or anything but it left me with a "yeah, that was that" kind of vibe similar to Doctor Strange or Ant Man. It just didn't connect with me.Delete
Woke up from a dream where Michael Myers took off his mask only to reveal another mask. So naturally I'm watching Rob Zombie's Halloween and Halloween 2.ReplyDelete
Spider-Man Homecoming is a funny teen comedy, but a pretty bad Spider-Man movie. I'd take all the Raimi films over it.ReplyDelete
I'm dedicating July to a few filmmakers that I want to see more of, so I've been diving into De Palma lately. Dressed to Kill is a rock show of awesomeness and my favorite De Palma so far! Sisters is also a really fun, solid thriller. The Fury is fine. Excited to watch more from him!
I started to dive more into Paul Verhoeven and watched Basic Instinct, but I hated it so much I'm taking a break from that guy.
Just got my hands on a bunch of Cronenberg films and rewatched Videodrome last night. Good grief I love that movie I feel like watching it again right now.
Dressed to Kill is one on my favorite De Palma films (only Blow Out beats it). I'd be interested to know what you think about Raising Cain. If you can, get the Scream Factory edition and watch the "restored" version.Delete
I just saw "The Fury" on Netflix Instant. De Palma tries to substitute character development with the thunder and fury of its crazy premise and even crazier cinematic execution. It's as if the director wasn't aware the reason the supernatural portions of "Carrie" resonated so strongly with audiences was because we cared so deeply for the bullied teenage girl at the core of the story. There's not a single likable character in "The Fury," including Kirk Douglas; sorry, but trying to find your kidnapped son is no substitute for actual character development. That said, holy shit! "The Fury" keeps topping itself with one set piece (terrorist attack on the beach) after another (Amy Irving's slomo escape from the institute) after another (a go-for-broke ending that at least knows it has to end because nothing afterward could ever top it). "The Fury" was the "X-Men" of its day, back when genre pictures started to get big studio budgets backing up flimsy premises.Delete
I saw Blow Out a while ago, and liked it, but I definitely need to rewatch it now that I "know" De Palma as a filmmaker. Raising Cain is on the list! Should I watch the restored version because of quality, or is it a different cut?Delete
Yes, I found The Fury's characters very boring.
It's a different cut, more or less De Palma's original idea for the film. While it's not perfect, I do think it makes for a more interesting movie.Delete
Don't sleep on "Sisters" - my personal favorite De Palma film.Delete
I believe Psycho II ripped off a key "shock" moment from Sisters.Delete
Yep, watched Sisters and had a great time.Delete
Great to hear!Delete
I caved by checking out Boat Trip (2002) on Netflix during the holidays. Damn this was clearly not where Cuba Gooding Jr.'s career was going to turn out post-Oscar win for Jerry Maguire.ReplyDelete
But Roger Moore was hilarious, right?Delete
Yeah Homecoming didn't work for me either. I actually hated it.ReplyDelete
Michael Keaton was so good in this, yet it's the way his motivations were twisted around and I'm just baffled by some of the decisions the movie made. And the action scenes, imo, were the worst Marvel has made yet by far, or any other Spiderman movie for that matter. I could go on but nobody wants to read it. Basically, the naivety of the character was pushed forward to an annoying degree, and when the villain is juxtaposed to that so hard to which he tells him this, over and over, I'm rooting for Vulture to murder Peter Parker right there on Coney Island because to me, he's presented as a literal problem.
The action scenes were terrible. Vulture was a problem as a villain because I too found myself rooting for him. I totally understood where he was coming from and didn't think he was that bad. I kind of wanted Spider-Man to leave him alone. Spider-Man was actually causing more danger than Vulture.Delete
Like, am I supposed to be mad that he's stealing from Tony Stark?? Stark is a rich dick who screwed him over when he was trying to provide for his family!Delete
Yeah agreed with all you guys are saying. I will say that I really liked the third act, the turn it takes there is awesome. I think the action scene on the plane is the only visually interesting one in the film too (the way the cloaking panels are used is cool). I felt like the Washington monument and Staten Island Ferry set pieces pretty much repeated the same thing beat for beat too? Ben is so right on with 'naivety of the character was pushed forward to an annoying degree.' I like the idea that a teenager is like an incompetent hero but jesus I did not enjoy watching him fail at literally everything he attempts, endangering lives every single fucking time ahahaDelete
I saw Spider-man: Homecoming of course, but don't really have much to say about it. I liked it but I can't see myself watching it again outside of a rewatch of all the MCU movies.ReplyDelete
I also watched Wings (1927) and the Big Trail (1930). Both were very big productions with an astonishing amount of work and manpower that went into making them. Wings had the better story, but overall I enjoyed them both.
So I finally saw the Ghost in the Shell live action film. Kunider provided some sage advice last week, in that I should not even try comparing it to the original anime. I didn't, and ended up liking it. It's really a mash-up of Blade Runner (the overall visual aesthetic and themes of corporate power) and Robocop (the Major's journey of self-discovery), while not coming close to the quality of those two films. Still, for a sci-fi action film it's not bad.ReplyDelete
Isn't it amazing how 35 years on movies are still chasing the look of Blade Runner?
I also finally saw the original Phantasm. I am in awe of how much the filmmakers were able to achieve on a limited budget. There are some shots in the movie that are quite beautiful. Also, it's creepy as hell. I wouldn't be surprised if the director saw Angus Scrimm on the street one day, and on the spot decided to make a movie around him.ReplyDelete
I also recently started watching the Phantasm series. Highly recommend Phantasm 2, the weaponry alone makes it worth while!Delete
I may still be hungover from Junesploitation, but I watched A Shot in the Dark today and that is technically a giallo film.ReplyDelete
Pink Panther part 2?Delete
Ha! The only thing Italian about that film is Henry Mancini, and he's from Ohio.Delete
Think about it. The black-leather-gloved mysterious killer. The synth score when his hands appear. The gaudy colors. There's even a murder by hedge clippers. It all checks out! (Again, I may still be under the spell of Junesploitation).Delete
It does star Herbet Lom, though, who is as comic relief/killer as they come in giallo pics. :-DDelete
Hello, My Name Is DorisReplyDelete
Very terrifying. I was like SO uncomfortable from the first elevator scene where she is majorly crushing on a kid who looks 40 years younger than her. I cringed, took lots of bathroom breaks, watched from behind pillows, etc. The easy thing would be to say "well I'm nervous FOR her, I don't want to see her get hurt or rejected", but that isn't true. The truth is I felt plainly...embarrassed. Embarrassed by her looks and by her age. But I could also tell DORIS seemed okay and happy with herself, excited about life. So the struggle was all me. Halfway through I was like "Sally Field is gonna get me through this, right? She knows how, right? Yes, she's Sally Field."
It reminded me of when I go home and see my mom now, who is naturally aging. Growing up I was used to her being so beautiful and girls saying they wanted to look like her, men saying she was really something else, and her always sticking out in a crowd. I imagine if she knew how I (especially at first) struggled to see her change physically she would (or she should) say something like "CAN'T you let me change? Can't I graduate from what I was to something else? You're my daughter, can't you support me, (you claim to be a feminist), do you really think my appearance is all I have?" Those would all be good things to say. In reality actually she's struggling herself, though, and feeling a lot of pressure in her job to get a facelift or whatever. I might not know how to process these changes but I love her so I'm always going to want to give her dignity and never try to go backwards that way. I'm always rooting for her.
So anyway the more I think about Hello, My Name Is Doris, the more thankful I am for it. I'm proud of Doris and super happy for her. Sally Field is such a role model. She knows people like me need to see all this. Sally Field interview on this movie: http://time.com/4250412/sally-field-hello-my-name-is-doris-interview/
Rewatched The Bodyguard and Unforgiven on cable today. Late 80s - Early 90s Warner Bros ruled.ReplyDelete
I sense a list coming on. What was it that made the studio good during that period? And was there any kind of unifying characteristic across the movies -- kind of a "house style?" Could you tell a WB movie apart from a Paramount or a Fox? Aside from the appearance of that singing frog, obvi.Delete
I think in large part it's because they made stylish, star-driven movies for adults in a way that shaped their identity for a while as they raked in all that Batman money. It's like they had an innate ability to predict what would be good cable watches 25 years later. I think there was definitely a Warner Bros look as if they had a deep bench of veteran crew. The difference between them and Fox seemed mostly to be their quantity of output. I didn't count the number of movies WB-Paramount-Fox but it seemed like Warner Bros made a new entertaining grown-up movie (in a non-fussy way) almost every month. Paramount movies usually felt like "dad reading a hardcover" movies.Delete
It was my Dad's fiftieth birthday yesterday and somehow we just ended up watching four movies, which was absolutely great. My dad and I don't really watch the same stuff, but it was nice to just come together and really enjoy some stuff for his fiftieth.ReplyDelete
We watched Daddy's Home first cos my little sister was still home. Both Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell are playing such genuinely unpleasant people in that movie, don't understand why that's such a big trend in comedy at the moment. It's also just a really weirdly low energy film. There's quite a few funny scenes though, it manages to pass with the lowest possible grade essentially.
Watched Girl Asleep next, a fantastic little Australian film from last year. The first half is like, uncomfortably close to a Wes Anderson film in affectations and shots which is not great but the second half it get's surrealist and crazy and great. The visuals all feel so handmade and wonderful. It's really delightful.
My dad introduced me to Terminator when I was much younger, pretty key moment for me. So we watched The Last Stand next, to call back to that. Patrick's review is right on for that film. I really enjoyed it despite the flaws.
Last we watched Legends of the Fall, which is actually where my parents got my name from, partially cos they liked the name and partially because they just loved the spirit of that Brad Pitt character. I'd never seen it, but it just felt right that night. I really liked the film, it's a pretty dour, broad strokes melodrama but I think when it hits those sort of 'epic' emotional notes, they resonate (setting and cinematography definitely helps with that, as does Brad Pitt's ponytail). I loved the depiction of ranch lifestyle too, especially towards the beginning. The isolation of it, but the intimacy too, very interesting. Was a good day of films.
Haven't had time to watch a movie this weekend. Watched most of the special features on the Juice blu ray though...ReplyDelete
Holy crap I'm so excited i need some tissues!ReplyDelete
The Xtro 5 disc box set with the Figure. T shirt. Film cell Has arrived at the factory in Germany. Pics on my twitter
God damn I've waited a long time for this, the box is massive becsuse of the size of the figure. It looks amazing. The biggest Bluray box set i have ever seen. Dreams fulfilled here.
Very happy for you Dennis!Delete
I showed my family the masterpiece that is The Thing last night. My little brothers reaction was so special. It's normally hard for me to get him into movies (he's a big reader) but he loved this one. He thought it was really scary and it was the most intense film he'd ever seen! It gave me an even deeper love for the film seeing my brother react like that. It was awesome!ReplyDelete
My Dad was much less impressed. He said he didn't like any of the characters and didn't find any of them interesting so he didn't like it. I truly can't understand what he was trying to say. How could you not be invested in those guys?
Private Parts (1997) - I've seen bits and pieces of this, but never the whole thing. It's kind of a sweet love story. Watching several interviews with Stern afterwards, I realized that Stern from the movie is entirely a work of fiction.ReplyDelete
Miami Vice (2006) - This was a great movie. I'm not sure why Crockett (Farrell) took off to romance the Asian girl working with the drug runners. Was it to get deeper undercover, or was it just to get laid? Both? For a plot point that is quite intrumental in everything that follows, the motivation wasn't clear at all. It seemed done on a whim.
But the movie drips with atmosphere and the music was very good. Absolutely no shaky-cam (which was just exploding style wise at that time, no?), and control-room scenes kept to a minimum.
No I must go read Patrick's review. And then maybe watch Collateral.
Good, in Patrick's review, he says "Don't bother trying to make sense of the all the plot details". Also, after reading the review, I just want to watch it again!Delete
BTW, it's the theatrical cut I saw. On Canadian Netflix.
Collateral (2004) - Wow. I watch 2 Mann movies for the first time today. Has been a good day! I've got a lot of sinking in to get done...ReplyDelete
That car crash scene had more raw energy behind it, due to the way it is built up, the emotion, and accompanying music, than anything I can bring to mind right now.Delete
Sounds like a great day Paul! Mann is my favorite director. You should seek out all of his filmography (except maybe Ali). Also his commentaries are really good too, you can really tell what a detail-obsessed maniac he is (I mean that in a good way).Delete
I'd had been meaning watch Mann movies after seeing much love for him here, from Patrick and commentators. And it's fucking great! I'm looking forward to seeing everything else (except Ali??? It has it's defenders, no?)Delete
I wish that streaming had directors commentaries too....but that would render physical media obsolete :/ just kidding...
Yeah, I'm going to find DVD/Blu copies of both these movies just to hear the directors commentary. Can't wait. Thanks for the recommendation, Matt.Delete
I watched Blow Out. It was really great and fun up until a certain point where I couldn't figure out what the director was doing with Sally. She became annoying and dim-witted far beyond belief. It hit me that Melanie Griffith, who I saw in Body Double, has kind of the same effect. She might have some lovable qualities (BARELY), but she is or becomes a nuisance in the plot. Sisters didn't seem that way to me, although one of them certainly gets man handled and they're both 100% controlled. Um, so. I don't understand. It was fun, but then the last third did not feel ok by me.ReplyDelete
You're not the only person who has taken issue with Nancy Allen's portrayal of Sally, which does veer close to caricature. I personally like her performance, which is a strange combination of jadedness and innocence. The intentional use of heavy makeup around her eyes contributes to the visual of her being like a "doll" that the male characters control. It's certainly not to everyone's taste, however.Delete
For those of you who have access to the Turner Classic Movies channel (at least here in the US), you might be interested to know that it is showing horror films this Thursday from morning into the evening. Among the films featured are couple of Val Lewton productions, vehicles for Peter Lorre and Boris Karloff, and a TV film directed by Peter Weir in the late '70s.ReplyDelete
I will set the DVR for at least a couple of them. It's always nice to have some horror films I have never seen to put on during October.
I'm DVRing Mad LoveDelete