Good weekend to all of you. Hope everyone found some movies to enjoy this week. LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (2008)– Definitely not your average vampire film. Am I strange in finding this a poignant love story? It seems like Oskar is being seduced by Eli. I liked the quiet- for lack of a better term- mood of the film. It renders the violent moments more striking. SCACCO ALLA REGINA (1969)– A podcast brought this stylish work of late 1960s Italian cinema to my attention. The film looks beautiful, the actresses are committed, and Piero Piccioni’s score is delightful. I think the film is worth watching just for the score. The most striking aspect of it is how evenhandedly the sub/dom (I believe that is the right term) relationship between two women is handled. This has a release under the title of The Slave. GATOR BAIT (1974)– Claudia Jennings stars in this swamp adventure that has been on my watch list for years. She plays a young woman being hunted in the Louisiana bayous for a killing she did not commit. The film more than entertains despite slowing down considerably in the last third. Filmed all on location, this must have been a grueling production for everyone involved, but it truly adds a sense of place to the film. A good choice for anyone looking for a hick/backwoods adventure film for Junesploitation. CRUEL GUN STORY (1964) – A Japanese heist film starring Jo Shishido. This is as straightforward a crime story as they come in narrative and style. I think that was where the problem with it lay, for I like the stylistic excesses of the previous yakuza films I have seen. That being said, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the film. The black and white cinematography is excellent and serves the film well.THE SNOW DEVILS (1967) – Despite my love of the genre cinema of Italy, I have never warmed up to the science fiction films produced there. I really wanted to like this film, which was directed by genre stalwart Antonio Margheriti. The story is intriguing, but the execution of it was less than engaging. The special effects are also laughable. While I can forgive the flaws in other genre films of the time, it was impossible for me to do so with this.
About Let The Right One In, i just listened to the old podcast Patrick did with JB a few years back. They talk about this one, and the remake. Great movie, i need to rewatch it
Oh I need to check out that podcast. The first time I watched Let The Right One In I saw it as a love story, but I revisited it a few months ago and got out feeling that Ellie was just grooming Oskar to be their Thrall. I think that the same thing happened to Hakan years ago. I love that movie it’s perfectly ambiguous enough to create some awesome discussions.
Eli's intentions are difficult to read. Is there tenderness or self-interest motivating her courting of Oskar? Probably a little of both, yet which one is dominant? The casting for the role of Eli was excellent. Although she looks innocent on the surface, there is something in her gaze that is not that of a child.
The only new movie I saw this week was The Death of Stalin, which was at times hilarious and at other times just plain odd.I also rewatched Armomurhaaja (The Euthanizer) on Blu-ray. It's a Finnish movie from last year that takes heavy influences from 70's exploitation and mixes them with a typically Finnish, slowburn, Kaurismäki-style filmmaking. I love this movie. So far I don't know if it's released anywhere outside Finland, but the Finnish Blu-ray (and presumably DVD) has English subs, so if you can get your hands on it, I heartily recommend it.Another thing I rewatched (for like the fifth time) is the scifi/fantasy miniseries The Lost Room from 2006. I freakin' love how it starts with a (relatively) simple premise and then keeps on upping the ante for the whole duration. Like I said I've seen it something like five or six times and I still get chills at a few scenes. It's three 90-minute episodes and worth the watch.Other than that, I'm still on a high from Infinity War and have been making my way through all the other MCU movies. And just started watching Futurama from the beginning. Bought the original four seasons for dirt cheap because it's been a long time since I last saw them. I'm here to tell you the show holds up.And happy birthday to Rosie!
The original run of Futurama is absolutely amazing. I've been putting on when I go to bed (I've seen every episode many times over) and it is simply genius. There are a couple of episodes that would put the most hardened into a state of crying. Hope you enjoy.
"Death of Stalin" is amazing, especially since I walked into the theater not knowing anything about it besides the movie's name. It's political satire so well-tuned and in complete control of its comedic tone it threatens to become an all-put farce... which it doesn't, because the creator of "Veep" knows how to keep things in check. Too bad he's in #MeToo trouble now, because Jeffrey Tambor is so got damn perfect. And who knew Nikita Krushnev was a Brooklyn-born raised wiseguy? :-P Best Steve Buscemi role in years!
My week in movies:The Most Dangerous Game, dir(s). Irving Pichel and Ernest B. Schoedsack (1932)Time to go back, way back, back to the year 1932 and the first cinematic telling of a story that I've seen over the years a number of variations on, Hard Target directed by John Woo and Surviving the Game directed by Ernest Dickerson being two I've seen an enjoyed, however I had never (till now) seen the classic 1932 version... and... I'm blooming glad I have! Packing more story and memorable characters into it's just over an hour running time than the majority of today's bloated movies, some great black and white cinematography and a great tense final twenty minute climax! Certainly a film that has more than stood the test of time...Game Night, dir(s). John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein (2018)Well this was a rather wonderful surprise! Considering directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein last movie was the god awful (National Lampoon's) Vacation reboot a couple of years ago this is a breath of fresh air amongst the usual glut of crappy studio "comedies" we get these days... For one it has a genuinely clever and well thought out plot, a great cast with everyone getting their moment to shine (MVP's awards to Rachel McAdams and Jesse Plemons) and also for being a rare comedy that is really well made, shot and has actual running jokes (another rare thing these days)... It nicely embraces the "R" rating and is a really entertaining riff on the kind of movies David Fincher makes, yes this would make a really good double bill with his underrated third feature "The Game".Downrange, dir. Ryuhei Kitamura (2017)Director Ryuhei Kitamura's spiritual sequel to the criminally underrated "No One Lives" is a lean, mean bottle movie that gets going from its first few opening frames and doesn't let up till the end credits roll... Gleefully nihilistic and with some gnarly practical F/X work this isn't for everyone BUT if you like your horror both tense and rough then I highly recommend Downrange!
ps. And a Happy Birthday to Rosie too! :)
Most Dangerous Game is great; another thing that makes it an interesting watch is that some sets and cast members were later reused in King Kong the following year. For Shoedsack, it’s as if Game is a dry run for Kong.Happy Birthday, Rosie!
I did not know this, cheers for the extra knowledge JB!
That's where I saw The Most Dangerous Game! I was wracking my brain as to why I'd just seen it, but it was included as a bonus on the King Kong DVD I borrowed from the library a while back.
Happy Birthday Rosie!!!
"Revenge" is as good as Patrick's review. What's even more incredible is how confident the director is with her feature DEBUT! Wow. What a movie. "Ready Player One" is just awful. I swear the dude who directed "Ender's Game" actually directed it cause if it was really Spielberg than he's gotten even worse than I thought. "November" (streaming on Prime) is a surreal, absolutely gorgeous folklore, fantasy, slow burn horror-esque film from Estonia. It's a bit long at just under 2 hours but it's so fantastic to look at that it doesn't feel like it.
You're not wrong about Revenge. One of the best genre entries in quite some time. It's directed with the same confidence and style as a film by someone like Refn or Adam Wingard. I can't believe this is her first film.
Happy birthday, Rosie! May your heart be filled with joy and your belly be filled with Skittles.
Watched Revenge & it's so stylized it made me think of Neon Demon so many times. The lead actress kept reminding me of Jessica Alba mixed with Mandy Moore. Some shots I thought she looked exactly like Jessica Alba in Into The Deep. I want to see more from this director. I wonder what she could do with a John Wick type script.
*Into the Blue
Happy Birthday all the way from England RosieHave a great day
A Dennis Atherton FTM post that doesn't mention "Xtro"? :-O(plops on the ground, passes out in shock)
Picked up Revenge on Vudu for $15 and it is everything everyone has been saying and more. Brutal and satisfying, it has a lot of really clever creative energy to set it apart from other rape revenge entries. I really love it. Also watched Angel Heart for the first time last night. It's okay, I'm sure I would've liked it a lot more if I didn't know what De Niro's obvious homophone name meant going in. Well, maybe not a lot, but a little. I just found the plot a big of a slog. The final revelation is a bit obvious and it takes it's time getting there. And happy birthday Rosie!
I spent the week alternating on two Japanese film series I had on the list for a long time, Lone Wolf and Cub and Battles Without Honor and Humanity (The Yakuza Papers). I alternated between the two so as not to get burnt out on either's style.I won't give a review of each individual film but just overall thoughts on the series.Lone Wolf and Cub: Wow, a lot of fake blood and rape. About movie 3 I was wondering if I could find a kill count. So I wish I had saved this movie for next month's exploitation marathon but too late now. These films as a whole weren't really the best. The fourth film spends a great deal of time building up a badass female character, and badass she was, only to make an abrupt edit cut to her and Itto fighting, for 30 seconds. In pro wrestling terms, they hot shotted the angle. Six was just beyond insane. Itto turned the baby cart into a freakin sled, there were zombie warriors, and dudes in clan hats burrowing like gophers. Oh and just when I thought we might make it through one of these with no rape, boom, incest rape. Glad I watched them, but doubt I'll ever revist them. I'm fairly interested in the manga now, if anyone can comment.Battles Without Honor and Humanity: These on the other hand were simply amazing. It was difficult at times to keep up with who was who and all of the inner workings of the syndicates, but wikipedia (and the movie itself) helped smooth out some confusion. Part two does something interesting where we get to see the story mostly through the eyes of a grunt with the big players from the first film acting as background characters. My favorite part of this series was the depiction of violence. So imagine the highly stylized violence one would see in a Tarantino film, now imagine the exact opposite of that. Every gun fight is up close, unblinking, and raw. Casablanca: This was a well overdue rewatch, as I hadn't watched it since my freshman film class in community college. Somehow my grandmother had gone her entire life without seeing this one (despite being able to quote Gone With the Wind), so I shored up one of her blind spots. This is a case of older me not understanding younger me's thoughts; I didn't care for this movie ten years ago. I can't figure out why because Casablanca has been called "a perfect screenplay" and frankly I can't argue with the sentiment. The film has aged amazingly and it's emotional weight is hard to describe.Universal Soldier: "I'm all ears." Sums it up.Very excited for next month's Junesploitation, already building a list of things I'd like to see for the first time:Crank, Dolemite, Faster Pussycat Kill Kill, I Stand Alone, Pink Flamingo, Harry Brown, Ichi the Killer, Assault on Precinct 13, The Street Fighter, Ms. 45, Frankenhooker, The Death Wish Series, Showgirls, The Duke of Burgundy, Revenge, Rolling Thunder, The Mack, Shaft, Coffy, Lady Snowblood and Sex and Fury. Is there anything else "essential" I should add to the list?And last but not least, a very happy birthday to Rosie.
About Battles Without Honors And Humanity, i have the limited box set from Arrow, and in it there's a very useful 'family tree' showing who's who and related to who. Awesome box, awesome film series. It should be seen by everyone
I have heard about the box set, my buddy has it somewhere. I was able to follow along for the most part. Thing that kept messing with me was you'd think someone was really important and would figure into the ending and then they'd die half way through. Really hammered home how disposable everyone was.
Have you watched the entire series yet?
yes, watched it twice. once when i bought and discovered it, and then to show it to my friend. i got the set when it came out a couple of years agoi also got the other set, which contain 3 more movies. they don't share anything, only the title. some actors comes back, but as different characters. the movies are not that great, but still worth it.
You have a good list there for Junesploitation, Cole. If you have not seen them, Death Race 2000, The Big Bird Cage, and The 36th Chamber of Shaolin are worth adding to it. A couple of foreign exploitation films that were fun watches are Terrifying Girls High School: Lynch Law Classroom and Lady Terminator.
Yeah I definitely meant to have Death Race on there, and I've watched 36th Chamber, love it. Yeah I've heard the New Battles aren't nearly as good. What'd you think of the first series? It gets labeled as the "Japanese Godfather" and I think that is fairly apt. Far grittier though.
To be honest, i don't like the label Japanese Godfather. It's about criminal families, but the style is different, there's no central character in Battles, it's also based in reality instead of glamourising being a criminal. I understand why name it that, but it's not necessary to compare everything to something. And the first series is a masterpiece. Though the 5th movie might be one movie too many it's right near the top of the best series i've ever watch
This comment has been removed by the author.
Awesome list Cole! If you enjoyed 36th Chamber of Shaolin then Master of the Flying Guillotine, Crippled Avengers, The Street Fighter, or Shogun Assasin have been some of my junesploitation martial arts highlights.
So martial arts films are considered exploitation?
There's usually been a day dedicated to martial arts or kung fu movies each Junesploitation. Probably this year too.
And a few other great exploitation movies that come to mind are Raw Force, Starcrash, Ninja III: The Domination, Sleepaway Camp, Blood Rage, Pieces and Ironmaster.
I don’t think martial arts movies are necessarily exploitation but there’s definitely a lot of them (especially some Shaw brothers movies) that sway into exploitation. Of course as far as Junesploitation goes if you’re on the fence, watch it anyways.I second Blood Rage! It’s super fun plus you can listen to the awesome commentary track with Patrick, Mike, Adam, and JB when you’re done.
Junesploitation, as I experienced it last year, incorporates an appreciation of genre cinema along with the celebration of the craziness of exploitation films.An exploitation movie is not easy to define. For me, it comes down to how the story material is treated. Exploitation generally is more sensationalistic and excessive. While there frequently is a connection between genre cinema and exploitation, a genre film is not necessarily exploitation. When the first wave of martial arts films came out, they were commercially handled like the exploitation films of the day. In that way they became linked with the grindhouses of the 1970s.
Well if we are counting martial arts films then I'm really ready for this!
There is definitely a day devoted to kung fu/martial arts movies this year.
"The Kissing Booth" - wow. The love interest is like Pacific Rim height over Joey King. Seriously, it's so badly framed that it's distracting and weird. It's like The Iron Giant falling in love with Bridget the Midget. Weird film. Wanted unoffensive PG, got terrible PG-13 where the director wanted to show Joey in her bra and bathing suit a lot.
oh, and everyone's hair is fantastic.
I have so, so much to say about this movie. I should wait for this week's podcast. Ugh.
I just watched the trailer. Chaybee, you're not kidding. He looks like he could carry her up the Empire State Building.
as i'm watching The Kissing Booth on this sunny, relatively cold sunday morning, i'm thinking this is a perfectly harmless movie. not great, passable performance, kinda sweet... HOLY SHIT I'M ONLY AT THE HALFWAY POINT. i thought it was almost done. is this thing ever gonna end? and that guy is freakin' tall.
Yes to this. I was SHOCKED to learn I still had an hour left in the movie because I was sure it was wrapping up.
Is this week's show on The Kissing Booth? ;)
Can't wait! What a weird movie.
i've been on a biopic kick recently, so this week i watched Trumbo, Good Night And Good Luck, and Frost/Nixon. all of them very good and do something i really like in biopic, focusing on a particular event or period in their lives. it creates a more detailed and specific story.
...and happy birthday Rosie
Happy birthday Rosie! I got to see Revenge this weekend and loved it. I would definitely reccomend seeing it with a crowd of you have the chance! I’m hoping to catch The Endless next week but I’m not sure if it’s in the cards. I think I remember Patrick mentioning he liked it, has anyone else had the chance to catch it?
Happy birthday, Rosie.I ended the night with a viewing of 2005's The Descent. Overall, it is a satisfying modern creature feature. The cave setting and the all-female cast added some different elements to the film, and it had some nice gore and action scenes. The fact that I had a hard time distinguishing between characters was a major problem. Moreover, the ending felt very random and rushed. Still, it is the perfect kind of turn-off-your-mind movie I enjoy on a Saturday night.
Former DVD Verdict reviewer and member of the Online Film Critics Society, Bill Gibron, has passed away after a sudden heart attack. If you can, please spare a moment's thought in memory of Patrick Bromley's and Erich Asperschlager's former Verdict colleague. :'(
Happy birthday Rosie :)I watched 'Attack of the Giant Leeches' last night. What can I say, JB was right, it filled my leech shaped hole.* I thought the first twenty minutes of the film were flat out awesome, the initial attacks and the weird adultery plot are great. It slows down a lot then, but there's still some cool stuff in it (I like the leech's lair). Also have been watching more silent comedies (especially the shorts... they're such a nice way to finish off the day). So far have been enjoying all of Buster Keaton's films SO MUCH, especially 'Seven Chances' and 'Cops', and just started on Max Linder last night. *Not a euphemism
So glad you liked it! Keaton's Cops is a little twenty three minute masterpiece. Seven Chances is so great. Check out Sherlock Junior next?
Thank you for recommending it! It was very much enjoyed. I actually have seen Sherlock Junior and The General a while back (and loved them both), although I think I might just be up for a rewatch, especially being on this little kick. Which others would you recommend? :)
Saw Andrew Niccols new film "Anon" which premiered in cinemas and uk Sky tv on the same day.Niccols always makes interesting films,this feels like a great idea with a story tacked on.It's a sci-fi noir that gets pretty dense and can be a little uninvolving because of this.Still there's beautiful photography (screen ratios used cleverly to delineate experiences) and clever ideas abound.It's well worth a look if your looking for cerebral sci fi
And many happy returns Rosie!
Finishing the weekend with two Tobe Hooper movies: 1986's "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2" (which I last saw many years ago during an overnight stay at a hospital before an operation... yikes!) and, per Patrick's suggestion on the streaming column, 1990's "Spontaneous Combustion." The former is a lot better than I remembered (it's the most Tobe Hooper-esque flick from the three he made at Cannon in the 80's), and the latter is a trainwreck ("Firestarter" meets "The Fury" meets "The Medusa Touch" meets...) but I had so much fun with the opening 50's set-up and the contrast between 50's/80's cultural artifacts (neon-glowing 80's phones for the win!). Good times (John Landis' "fiery" indigestion :-P), and early appetizers for the upcoming Junesploitation! festivities. :-)
Spontaneous Combustion needs to get back in the conversation just so we can bring back neon phones!.. Also I do think that only someone like Hooper could have made it, took me about 5 viewings for it to finally click with me and now I love it!
Happy birthday, Rosie! ������
(Happy Face) (Birthday Cake) (Balloon) :-)
Happy Birthday to Rosie, wish you the best. You are so beautiful and lovely