Steven Soderbergh's LOGAN LUCKY (2017, 118 min.) on Ultra HD Blu-ray for the first time. Also available for streaming in 4K on Amazon Prime.Picture quality isn't a primary reason to watch or avoid a flick (particularly during Junesploitation!'s lowered standards), but holy crap, "Logan Lucky" is one of the most colorful and gorgeous movies I've ever seen. And since this is Soderbergh's comeback vehicle after a years-long, self-imposed exile from directing, you bet those pretty colors aren't just for show. The cinematography reflects the surprisingly uplifting vibe of a Southern comedic heist/prison caper in which seemingly shallow redneck stereotypes (the dumb brother, the low-class female beautician, the moronic boss, the beauty-pageant obsessed mom and daughter, etc.) are gradually revealed to have more depth than they initially appear to have. Okay, the lesser Bang brothers (Jack Quaid and Brian Gleeson) start dumb and remain dumb the last time we see 'em. Small price to pay to watch Daniel Craig do something I don't recall ever seeing the man pull off before: cut loose and enjoy himself on-camera.Though there's no signature vehicle in the picture (Channing Tatum's '83 truck and the blue V8 Mustang Riley Keough "borrows" from her former brother-in-law come the closest) "Logan Lucky" is surrounded by and has NASCAR car culture at the core of its far-fetched-but-entertaining heist tale. "Ocean's 7-11" one character calls it, and that nails it except Soderbergh is as concerned with the off-screen lives of its main characters as the convoluted plot mechanics. Any movie that can swing from a prison riot with inmates demanding George R.R. Martin complete his "Game of Thrones" novels to a genuinely heartfelt song from a daughter to her father has more in its filmmaking brain than car gears or stunt driving. Highly recommended.Just posted my review for 1980's "Prom Night" in SLASHERS! Finally up to date with all the J! categories. :-)
VAN NUYS BOULEVARD (1979) – Available on PrimeIt’s Wednesday night in Los Angeles and the young residents of the city seem to have only one thing on their minds: cruising on Van Nuys Boulevard. There are plenty of cars on display. The police are not very open-minded about these antics, so the main characters soon all find themselves bonding while waiting to be released from jail. What follows is a spirited and random flow of scenes showing everybody having a good time 1970s exploitation style. There is no plot to the film, but the attractive cast more than makes up for it. Van Nuys Boulevard is, for me, pleasant cinematic junk food from Crown International.
The Love Bug (1968)And that little Volkswagen Beetle grew up to be Chrstine. If you swap out the 1963 Beetle and Buddy Hackett with a 1958 Plymouth Fury and Keith Gordon, neither movie is going to change all that much. I mean Herbie has a dark side.Actually this dopey movie kinda won me over.
I loved this movie as a kid! Unfortunately, I haven't reseen it since then.
For some reason I never grew up with live action Disney. It's very cute but it holds up.
Trading Paint (2019, dir. Karzan Kader, First Time Viewing)Biggest surprise of Junesploitation so far is this movie was actually pretty good. Performances are good, Travolta + Shania Twain actually works, but Kevin Dunn steals the show as Stumpy (he lost his leg to a gator). It’s generally low stakes and without much conflict but it’s got a lot of heart!
I had fun with it too!
Back to the Future Part II (1989)My littlest daughter woke up this morning and asked if I would show her BttF 2. It has one of the most famous movie cars in it, so I'm counting it as a car movie. When asked to give a review she said, "I loved it. Can we watch Part III right now?" I said, "Oh, I'm sorry, but is this western day at F This Movie???" Then she said, "What's F This Movie?" and I said, "Are you kidding me right now?" and she said, "Um, no." and I said, "Oh, well in that case, you know Santa? Well I was kidding about him!" and she said, "What?" and I said, "That's right! He's about as real as Marty's fucking hoverboard!" and then she said though tears, "But..but.." and I said, "Just kidding! Let's watch WHEELMAN now!"While most of the above didn't happen, she DID love the movie, Santa is definitely real, and I'm going to try to watch WHEELMAN later tonight.
And what did stepmom Evangeline Lily thought of the way you treat her adopted little angel? :-P
Days of Thunder (1990) Only ever saw bits and pieces of this on TBS or TNT. Tony Scott, man. Dude could make anything interesting and he did that here too. He made movies everyone wanted to see in a big, huge, Hollywood way and I miss him.
Pit Stop (1969)Jack Hill movie about Figure Eight race car driving with Sid Haig and Ellen Burstyn in supporting roles. I enjoyed it, but man it goes pretty dark at the end.
Bullitt (1968)Maybe not a "car" movie per say, but it does feature one of cinemas greatest car chases, which is why I selected it for today. That and I had never seen it and felt like it would slot in nicely today (it did!)Bullitt is assigned protection of a witness. When that witness is murdered while in protective custody, nothing will stop Bullitt from getting those responsible. Impossible to predict the turns in this story. A little long, but overall I had a great time with this one. So far my Junesploitation has been nearly all great movies. Django and Sartana Are Coming...It's the End being my least favorite so far. I've liked or loved everything else. Hope each of you are having a good month too with lots of fun discoveries!
TWISTER’S REVENGE (1987) Some crooks try to steal a high-tech monster truck, only to get more than they bargained for. This is a lot more bumbling redneck comedy than it is high-speed action, but that doesn’t matter when the big selling point is monster trucks. This movie loves monster trucks! Isn’t it neat how they drive over the tops of cars and then do that half jump/half hop thing? You better say yes, because there’s a lot of that. It ends with a monster truck vs. tank fight that, sadly, isn’t as much as it sounds. Bonus #Godzillasploitation: DESTROY ALL MONSTERS (1968) After all the hokey slapstick of the previous movie, this fan-favorite gets back to business with a whole bunch of monsters in one movie. It also introduces Monster Island (called Monster Land in this one). It drags a little in the middle with an astronauts-versus-aliens plot, but the big brawl at the end is really satisfying when all the other monsters gang up on Ghidora like they do.
Vanishing Point (1971, dir. Richard C. Sarafian)A man listens to the radio while driving from Denver to San Francisco. The end.Oh, almost forgot, there's police chases, races, drugs, highway robbers, crazy old snake guys, Christian music festivals, naked chicks, contemplative flashbacks, and a whole lot of traffic violations along the way.
Car Wash (1976)To say this movie has a freewheeling plot is to do a tremendous disservice to the word plot. There’s no plot whatsoever but that’s not an insult, in fact I wish big studios could still make movies like this. It’s a pure hangout movie, just an excuse to watch some colorful characters go about their daily business. I know it’s Cars! day but the cars are pretty incidental here (as is just about everything else), the focus is on the people.Richard Pryor is front-and-center on the blu-ray case, but he’s only in one scene. George Carlin, also given primo box-art real estate, has a similarly small part as a dim cab driver using his hippie-dippy weatherman voice. There are a handful of other familiar faces like Franklin Ajaye, The Pointer Sisters, Garrett Morris, Antonio Fargas, and Bill Duke and everyone gets a moment or two to shine. Also, I hope you like the theme song because by my count they play it approximately eleventy billion times throughout the movie.
LOCKE (2013):Might not be the action spectacular that most people are looking for today, but I genuinely don't understand how this one flew so far under the radar. I adore it.
I love Locke. Fun fact: Tom Hardy is the only actor on screen, but the voice cast includes future Oscar winner Olivia Colman, future Spider-Man Tom Holland, and future Moriarty Andrew Scott.
Vanishing Point (1971)FINALLY pulled this one off the shelf and i really enjoyed it. It was much more existential than I anticipated, but I appreciated that. The car chases are as great as everyone says and they’re wonderfully filmed. I would kill to see this one on the big screen.
The Hitcher (1986)This is another movie I wasn't sure if I had seen or not. I definitely had not seen it. What a treat. In my head, this was more like Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. Instead, this was a lot of fun. It wastes no time. It gets right down to business. This and Class of 1984 are my favorites of Junesploitation, so far. There's a point near the end where they go to a place I did not expect. And I loved every minute of it.
I don't think I have ever gotten what happens to Jannifer Jason Leigh or Rutger Hauer's crazy shit eating grin out of my mind since. It's a fantastic movie.
"Hi-Riders" 1978, Dir. Greydon ClarkGreydon Clark has been my favourite discovery thus far. Thanks F This Movie for sleazing up my life so delightfully.
Collateral (2004)I'm not the biggest fann of Michael Mannnn. I really enjoy Thief and this...and that's about it. I don't like how his movies look. It looks like he doesn't know what he's doing. I know people love him and I'm sure some will think I'm an idiot. That's fine. They're wrong but that's ok. I love this movie eventhough there are shots out of focus. He likes to use natural light, which I appreciate. But at night, that can make things difficult. There are some beautiful shots in this, though. Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx are spectacular. Which makes me a little angry for two reasons. One is how is Foxx so good in this but so lackluster in Miami Vice? That movie is a trainwreck. A slow, boring trainwreck that never ends. Two is that Tom Cruise never really plays a bad guy, again. He is so good in this. It is a damn shame.
Michael Mann texted me and told me I was a tad harsh. I told him that I was just some guy and that he shouldn't take me seriously. He texted back "lol" then went back to swimming in his money.
Warlords of the 21st Century aka BattleTruck (1982)I did not know New Zealand had their own Mad Max. And as you would expect it looks about 10 years older than it actually is, and held together with some spare tin roofing and number 8 wire, eh. I think I enjoyed the New Zealand-isms and a Bruno Lawrence in the background more than the story, because that did drag at times. As in still putting pink bats in a house structure that was clearly built for the BattleTruck to drive through it, or trying to ugly up the Otago Plains where it was set, which can't quite help still showing it is genuinely one of the most beautiful places on earth.BattleTruck.
I watched this for Day 1/80s Action, and while some of the actual BattleTruck action was cheesy fun, the main standout was the landscape. Some great shots of just following a motorcycle across the countryside.
The Driver (1978)Am I a monster for thinking that the non-chase and non-robbery scenes were kind of slow?
Supervan (Lamar Card, 1977)1/2 narrative film about a solar powered van trying to win a competition while on the run from big oil that wants to stop this tech from going big; 1/2 montages of vannin' life and driving shots set to groovy music. A pretty cool time capsule/slice of life flick.
American Graffiti (1973)I've mostly heard good things about this but for some reason I hadn't seen it. I love "one crazy night" movies. I felt complete comfort watching this movie. I loved all the characters and each one of their individual stories. It was easy to relate to everyone. We've all been one of those people. I've been a lot of those people. This was such a great way to finish the day. You did it, George!
Ronin (1998) first watchI remember Patrick speaking highly of this movie, and now I see why. It really felt like a throwback, with rear projection car chases, real cars flying through the streets, real crashes, real stuntmen in crashes/collisions, and half the population of Paris apparently working as stunt-extras to narrowly dodge out of the way of the cars flying down narrow streets. I loved the Old Europe Paris setting, both for how it worked for the car chases (narrow streets and street markets to be driven/smashed through), and the rest of the spy/heist/thriller plot too. Perfect for Cars Day!
The Gumball Rally (1976, dir. Chuck Bail)I think I like cross-country race movies more than I realized. Like maybe this is a thing with me. This should be Joanne Nail's movie because she's Joanne Nail, but it's the Raul Julia show all the way.Eat My Dust (1976, dir. Charles B. Griffith)Some good car stunts, especially at the end, but I like Ron Howard's other car movie (Grand Theft Auto) a lot more.
Vanishing Point (1971)First half is pure car porn before turning into something very different (but no less entertaining) in the second half. Really dug it, but the sudden shift may turn some people off.