Friday, June 18, 2021

Junesploitation 2021 Day 18: Free Space!



    CENSOR (2021, New York City's IFC Center)
    for the first time.

    Enid Baines (Niamh Algar) works for the British Board of Film Censors (BBFC) classifying all types of nasty horror pictures during the 'video nasties' panic of the early 80's. She's more strict and wants to cut more than her fellow censors, especially after one of the horror movies she authorized to pass (1974's "Deranged") is fingered by the yellow press as responsible for someone going on a murder spree that killed an entire family. But Enid's facade has already started crumbling when her elderly parents told her it's time for all three to put behind the memory of Enid's young sister after two decades of her disappearance. A horror film called "Don't Go in the Church" by a certain 'Frederick North' lands on Enid's docket, and what she sees affects her and slowly starts eating at her perturbed, troubled soul.

    First-time director Prano Bailey-Bond is more interested in exploring the mind of an emotionally fragile woman absorbing horror movies into her very being than making judgement on the past. Love the scene where Enid goes to a corner store and asks the clerk for copies of the movies she's banned under the table (the drug enforcer becomes hooked on the very thing she's trying to suppress). "Censor's" highly stylized interpretation of the '80's ends up being mostly window dressing, a setting for Niamh Algar ("Wrath of God") to go from mousy librarian-type repressed being to a... you'll have to see it. The first hour is kind of dull and slow, but it builds momentum toward a finale that's... again, check it out yourself. Not what I signed up for, but at least Sam Raimi's "The Evil Dead" and a truckload of early 80's video nasties (along with some made-up ones) get some nods. 3 FAN CONVENTION AWARD STATUETTES (out of 5).

    1. WRATH OF MAN! Niamh Algar co-starred in Guy Ritchie's "Wrath of Man." God, it's late! :'(

  2. RENT-A-PAL (2020, Blu-ray). Also streaming on Hulu.

    I'll be honest, "Censor" left a bad taste in my mouth (again, my fault for placing high expectations on it that weren't met). So I had to rewatch this first-time effort by writer Jon Stevenson that delivers everything I wanted "Censor" to be. The fact I own it on Blu-ray when it's still available for streaming (free on Hulu, rental on Amazon, VUDU, etc.) tells you how much I like it. Set in 1990 (never mentioned on camera), "Rent-A-Pal" follows a middle-aged bachelor (Brian Landis Folkins) living with her elderly mother (Kathleen Brady) that escapes into his fantasies with the aid of the TV-and-VCR in his basement apartment. The carrot of happiness is dangled in front of David when too-good-to-be-true Lisa (Amy Rutledge) enters her life, which takes away from his viewing time of a VHS tape that feels... jealous?

    "Rent-A-Pal" pulls no punches as it plays the slow-burn, get-to-like-then-pity the too-real personality of David. At times it's truly uncomfortable to watch, but that only builds the tension toward a go-for-broke ending that earns it a place among the unheralded greats of 2020. Not for everybody, but a love letter to those that believe the greatest horror movies are the ones that make viewers empathize with characters that could have become good had someone paid attention and loved them when they were sad little boys/girls. :'( 5 WIL WHEATON SWEATERS (out of 5).


    Paul Feig's BRIDESMAIDS: 10TH ANNIVERSARY (2011, AMC Theater) for the first time.

    There's some really funny shit in this typically-overlong Judd Apatow production (over two hours??!!) that has pretty much defined the careers of Paul Feig, Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig ever since. Cuban food = diarrhea, Jon Hamm being a male pig, Jill Clayburgh talking dirty, Rose Byrne taking the 'France' concept to ridiculous extremes, etc. Loved it, made me laugh hard, and I appreciate the subversion of the wedding day disaster trope (didn't see that one coming).

    Too bad it penetrated the psyche of these folks that "Bridesmaids" is the dragon they have to chase to make another $100 million hit. The Wilson Phillips concert at the end traces directly to "Ghostbusters: Answer the Call's" aborted dancing sequence with Chris Hemsworth. McCarthy's Megan being a pathetic loser sister-in-law to Wiig's Annie is so much funnier than her aggressive mugging in "The Happytime Murders" or "Spy." And other than 2014's "Skeleton Twins" (an underrated gem) Kristin Wiig's been coasting on the Annie persona (the actor's own?) so long it now becomes a detriment to films like "Wonder Woman 1984" (though that one's more on Patty Jenkins for not reigning her actor in). In the FTM vernacular, "Bridesmaids" 'is fine,' © but I feel like I've seen it already from every copycat made by its creators over the past decade. 3 COLORFUL CUPCAKES (out of 5).

  4. BO GIA ['DAD, I'M SORRY'] (2021, theater) for the first time.

    A Vietnamese family comedy co-directed, produced, written and starring comedian Tran Thanh, "Bo Gia" requires a lot of reading. It's a very pretty and colorful movie (much bigger than its measly $1 million budget suggests), but man, the subtitles come fast and furious because there are dozens of supporting characters that all speak their minds (to great comedic effect). If you can pay attention (and I wouldn't blame you if you can't given its 128 min. running time) the story rewards you with elderly Sang (Tranh in old man make-up) trying to hold his very extended family together though one personal crisis after another. Whether it's the sister living next door trying to buy Sang's house or the real estate-licensed cousin trying to sell Sang's YouTuber son on moving to his own place, things are lights and sitcom-like... until they turn poignant and even life-threatening later on.

    I've never seen a movie from Vietnam before, but there's some laugh-out loud funny shit here (a monk trying to recharge a phone in a temple, Sang visiting his YouTuber son's new apartment, etc.) that occasionally gets very emotional and made me cry like a girl. "Bo Gia" speaks the universal language of everybody's family being a bunch of weirdos you're forced to live together with, and milks it for all the cheap laughs and draining pathos you'd get out of a British or American comedy with the same set-up. Can't wait to show this to my father next time I visit him in Arizona, because the ending (get some tissues ready) earned my repeat viewing business. 4 MOPEDS NOT OUTRUNNING GANG MOTORCYCLES (out of 5).


    THE CONJURING: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT (2021, IMAX) for the first time. Also streaming on HBO Max until July 4, 2021.

    Like my recent Junesploitation! theatrical viewing of "Spiral: From the Book of Saw," the latest addition to "The Conjuring" canon is my introduction to the series. And somehow I got this movie's only attempt at being funny ('We'll take you home and introduce you to Annabelle') and laughed along with the crowd. As an alleged 'Inspired by True Events' narrative this one's a pretty dire "Exorcist" ripoff. It literally peaks during the opening 10 minutes, when the filmmakers throw every special effects-enhanced exorcism movie cliché in LOUD, BOOMING Dolby Atmos. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga make an appealing middle-aged couple of supernatural ghost investigators; if I choose to watch any more "Conjuring" movies and/or spinoffs (and that's a commitment I'm not prepared to make this June) it'll be assuming these two are the main characters. I'd so love to see an HBO Max TV series about The Warrens solving monster-of-the-week cases, like "Kolchak" or "Friday the 13th: The Series." :-)

    "The Devil Made Me Do It" is just too dumb and predictable a horror flick to take seriously, but it has moments (the morgue hand-touching scene) that made it worth the last slot on my A-List weekly subscription quota. 2.5 EXPLODING WATER BEDS (out of 5).

    1. For me, Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson were at least half of the fun of the first entries of these movies. They really do have a great chemistry.

    2. You're selling me on watching more "Conjuring." 👹😻

    3. I think you could have a good time with them. =)

  6. Jon M. Chu's IN THE HEIGHTS (2021, IMAX) for the first time. Also streaming on HBO Max until July 11, 2021.

    Saw this one yesterday afternoon, and I'm so torn. It has many positive messages (love your community, pursue your dreams, etc.), star-making performances by Anthony Ramos (the narrative lifts up when Usnavi enters any scene that starts without him) and Gregory Diaz IV (the Latino re-incarnation of young Joseph Gordon-Levitt), director Jon M. Chu ("Crazy Rich Asians") directs the dance sequences with lots of energy, etc. But the bottom line is that "In The Heights" is just too long and the songs aren't memorable. If your musical feature's going to last close to 2.5 hrs. the characters better be fun/interesting and the music so toe-tapping good you don't mind the running time. Lin-Manuel Miranda (who appears as the Greek Chorus-like Piragüero throughout the film) and his crew give it an honest try, but I'm struggling right now to remember any of the songs. The dance numbers are spectacular (dozens of dancers in pools, 175th street intersection, etc.), but the tunes just don't match the strong visuals.

    I don't care that principal characters Benny (Corey Hawkins) and Nina (Leslie Grace) are played by non-Hispanic performers, but I wish they had better chemistry and their musical numbers (including a show-stopping "Spider-Man"-like sequence on the side of a building) had heart. Benny and Nina are fine on their own, but together they're dullsville. Ditto for the patrons at the nail salon where Vanessa (Melissa Barrera) works, which are just as over-the-top stereotypical as Frenchy in "Grease." Olga Merediz and Jimmy Smith have strong moments as elder immigrants with dreams for the younger generation, but the core of the narrative (told before and after a summer blackout that changes the lives of its principals) feels like it belongs in the "West Side Story" era, not the 2020's.

    I've been to Washington Heights many times over the years (it's literally five subway stops away from where I live), so maybe I can't help but feel "In the Heights" it's too romantic a depiction of a typical working class New York neighborhood (with the good and bad that entails). Worth seeing for Anthony Ramos and some cool dance sequences, but only if you're ready with the fast-forward button. 3 MEXICAN COCA-COLA GLASS BOTTLES AS PORTABLE AIR CONDITIONERS (out of 5).

  7. I Know What You Did Last Summer (1998 - Jim Gillespie)
    After this month' podcast on this flick, I had the very deep desire to rewatch the first two movies. I remembered liking them when I first saw them, but I was a stupid 12-year-old at that point (not on cinema, on DVD/VHS on a birthday party). While I do understand that IKWYDLS is not doing a lot for horror enthusiasts, I think it's an okay gateway to get teenagers at that time into horror. The cast is young and "sexy", two effects are quite good (hook and hand) and sadly, the dynamics between the teens match my experience in that age. At the same time, it's perfect for noisy teen birthdays, because there isn't a deep plot to follow (or not really worth it for that matter). A plus for me is the general coastal setting, I'm a sucker for that.

    3 out of 4 unfulfilled career dreams.

  8. Cold Steel (1987; dir. Dorothy Ann Puzo)

    Mild revenge action with Jonathan Banks and Sharon Stone. Decent story and plot, with a cop starting out for revenge against someone who killed his father, but that is quickly forgotten and it becomes a story of the bad guys trying to get revenge on the cop, for certain reasons. it’s decent. Good stunts and explosions. Yes, that Puzo. Daughter of Mario. This was her only film. Pretty crazy scene in the end that’s worth sticking around for.

  9. THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE (1946, dir. Robert Siodmak)

    A killer is on the loose in a small American town at the beginning of the 20th Century. Women with various kinds disabilities are the victims. Helen, a mute woman working for a rich family, just may be the next one. The Spiral Staircase is an old-fashioned suspense tale that could not be more atmospheric. This is a prime example of the unique qualities that black-and-white film could bring to creating a mood. The film is worth watching for the cinematography alone. The cast does a great job bringing the tight script to life, with a notable performance from Ethel Barrymore. Elsa Lancaster, of Bride of Frankenstein fame, also has a small role. A hearty recommendation.

    KISS ME DEADLY (1955, dir. Robert Aldrich)

    Time for a little noir this Junesploitation. When private investigator Mike Hammer picks up a hitchhiker on a California highway, he has no clue that some dangerous people are looking for her. They catch up with them on the road, which leads to her murder and a staged accident. Under pressure from the police and the murderers, Mike launches his own personal investigation fraught with tremendous peril to himself and the people around him. The conclusion was one that I did not see coming at all. As is common in film noir, people are not often what they seem. Ralph Meeker is terrific as the rough private eye. Nobody would ever confuse Mike Hammer for being a nice guy. There is also some compelling filmmaking from Aldrich, who used unusual angles and camera movement to keep things interesting. One particular image in Kiss Me Deadly has been referenced by many filmmakers. This is a classic for a reason.

  10. Starflight: The Plane That Couldn't Land (AKA Starflight One) (1983, dir. Jerry Jameson)

    Lee Majors is the pilot on the maiden voyage of Starflight One, the first hypersonic passenger plane. And things go wrong. Equipment malfunctions, space debris, zero gravity, dwindling air supply, white people in danger! How are they ever going to land the plane?!? Hurry up, this thing is only 80 minutes long.

    This movie showed up my radar (pun intended) when I was looking at Terry Kiser’s filmography (Bernie from Weekend at Bernie’s, and the baddie "Sorcercer" from Mannequin 2) and noticed the impossibly silly title. But, then I spotted none other than ILM founder and Star Wars sfx wizard John Dykstra worked on the special effects, I had to see it.

    I could only find a VHSRip (VHSRips are the hospice for old, terrible movies), but I was happy to locate even that. A PAL DVD release apparently exists, for you treasure hunters out there.

    Overall, it's what you’d expect from an early 80’s Movie of the Week. Lee Majors looks asleep through most of the movie, plus his character is sitting in a chair the whole time. Hal Linden plays Starflight One’s chief engineer, the Montgomery Scott of this sad trombone of a movie; he saves the day with his ingenuity and forethought, and lots of anxious hand wringing. Lauren Hutton plays a love interest who is barely more than a damsel, which is a waste.

    A waste of a movie, really. Clearly a cash-in on the post-Star Wars scifi craze, it’s full of stupefying and improbable solutions to space disaster cliches and nothing substantial is paid off or earned. NASA comes out the best here, somehow able to launch, dock, land and relaunch a shuttle three times in 2 days to save a few dozen people in space. They blew their whole budget on this?!

    Even after coming out of orbit and barely surviving reentry, Starflight One is able to land gently back in Los Angeles, where it was originally intended to. That’s a wrap, folks. Nothing to see here. Maybe Johnny Carson’s on now.

    Bonus ‘sploitation points for the barely passable John Dykstra model effects of the Starflight and the Columbia space shuttle bobbing around like a fish tank decorations.

  11. Catching up on some classic Junesploitation categories of years past that weren't included in this year's calendar.

    Canuxploitation!: Heavy Metal (1981, dir. Gerald Potterton et al.)

    An animated fantasy/sci-fi anthology "for adult audiences", meaning there's blood and tits. There's some imagination in the fantasy worlds here and the cheap, janky 80's animation is charming at times, but the short stories themselves aren't that interesting or inventive. Eugene Levy as a smarmy starship captain and John Candy as a horny robot are kinda funny. The animators were big fans of naked women with large breasts.

    New Horror!: Satanic Panic (2019, dir. Chelsea Stardust)

    A horror comedy that balances really well between the horror and the comedy, both work while neither cheapens the other. Hayley Griffith in the lead is great and Rebecca Romijn is clearly having fun as the villain. This could make a good double feature with The House of the Devil, but I'm on the fence on which of the two should come first.

    Btw, I just noticed this is coming out in theaters here in Finland next week, 20 months after it was released in the UK on Blu-ray, which is how I watched it. Guess they're a little hard up for new releases right now.

    Monsters! (also New Horror!): A Quiet Place Part II (2020, dir. John Krasinski)

    My second trip to the theater this year.

    I was kinda dreading a sequel that worldbuilds too much and goes into deep lore about what the monsters are and where they came from. Thankfully that's not what this is. AQP2 (as no one is calling it) widens the original movie's world just enough for there to be new perils and opportunities for character growth, but doesn't go overboard. Obviously, the novelty of the first one has worn off, but the sequel is still tense, gripping, and pleasingly tight at just a hair over 90 minutes. Really liked this one.

    It is pretty funny though how Krasinski managed to write his own character into the biggest hero even in the sequel, given the setup of the movie.

    Animals!: Day of the Animals (1977, dir. William Girdler)

    Human Cigarette Christopher George leads a group of tourist on a mountain hike, where they discover the depleting of the ozone layer has made all the wild animals go crazy, because of course it has. Leslie Nielsen, back before ZAZ discovered his comedic talents, plays the asshole of the group.

    It's a lot of vaguely familiar actors(*) walking through the forest and sitting around campfires. When it's time for the animal attack scenes, a lot of them look surprisingly realistic (quick cutting is your friend), but a few effects really show their age.

    * Andrew Stevens plays Charles Bronson's partner in 10 to Midnight, Richard Jaeckel was in The Dirty Dozen, Michael Ansara played a Klingon in Star Trek, and Lynda Day George memorably yelled "Bastards!" in Pieces.

    Bonus Short Film!: They Grow Up So Fast (2020, dir. Michael Pomaro)

    Two young girls defend their home in a post-apocalyptic world. A fun seven minute short film written and direcred by F This Movie!'s own Mike Pomaro, and starring his daughters.

    If, like me, you've made the mistake of sleeping on it, there's a link to the film at the end of this article.

  12. Halloween (2007, dir. Rob Zombie)

    I like this one a lot, if you can get past the grime and the uber vulgarity there is a lot to enjoy. While I do think it is more interesting to always know less about Michael's motivation, I do not have a problem with the backstory.

  13. 12 Hour Shift (2020, dir. Brea Grant)

    In a just world Angela Bettis would have multiple Oscars by now. She is such a wonderful actor. She's great as a shady nurse who participates in an organ stealing ring. As you can guess things go horribly wrong and continue to get worse and worse. Good little black comedy with a great performance by Bettis.

  14. LARGER THAN LIFE (1996)
    Bill Murray has maintained his brand as something of Hollywood iconoclast for so long that it’s odd to see him in this relatively conventional family comedy. He plays a motivational speaker who inherits an elephant from his long-lost father. It’s mostly him trying to keep it together, reacting to whatever shtick they come up with the elephant to do. It’s also a road trip comedy, so expect all those tropes as well. There are few good goofs, but mostly this is as generic as it gets. This is from the director of Quick Change, a far superior Bill Murray comedy.

    30 days of Chinese fantasy movies, day 18
    LOVE O2O: THE MOVIE (2016)
    The daily lives and romances of college students involved in an online multiplayer fantasy game. This is apparently unrelated to the TV series of the same name, except they’re both based on the same novel. (It’s a CW/DCEU thing, I guess.) This is the so-called “LitRPG” subgenre, where characters have health bars and can open their inventories, etc. The movie’s a little more interested in its romantic comedy hijinks than in its magic swordfights, but the whole thing is all cute and whimsical and Disney princess-ish. I daresay it won me over by the end.

  15. The Passover Plot

    Hugh J. Schonfield was a British Bible scholar who specialized in the study of the New Testament and the early development of the Christian religion. I bet he never believed that when he went from being one of the original Dead Sea Scrolls team members and writing a non-ecclesiastical historical translation of the New Testament to writing The Passover Plot that it’d be made into a movie with Zalman King, Dan Hedaya and Donald Pleasence.

    The central thesis of Schonfield’s book that Jesus was completely convinced that He was the Messiah, as he was a descendent of King David. Therefore, he calculated His journey, keeping many of the Disciples on a need-to-know basis of his true plans, which ultimately included dying on the cross and being resurrected so that He could rule as a king on Earth.

    Then things went wrong.

    The plan was that Jesus would not end up being on the cross for more than a few hours, as Jewish people by law had to be taken down in time for Sabbath. One of His followers was to give him a drug to knock him out. Then, Joseph of Arimathea would take His body while Jesus healed. However, a Roman soldier — one assumes the one played by John Wayne in The Greatest Story Ever Told — stabbed Jesus and killed him before The Passover Plot could be completed.

    Producer by Wolf Schmidt and Menahem Golan (yes!), The Passover Plot was written by Paul Golding (the writer of Beat Street), Patricia Louisianna Knop (the writer of 9 1/2 Weeks, Wild Orchid, Red Show Diaries and the wife of Zalman King) and Millard Cohan.

    Jesus — called Yeshua of Nazareth — is intense, but that’s because that’s Zalman King’s acting style. He’s up against Pontius Pilate (Pleasence), who is working with the Jewish High Priests to rule what will someday be The Holy Land. There’s a commotion at the temple, presumably led by Barabbas, which Jesus hopes to calm so that He can bring the people together and become the Messiah. Either that or ask Jusad (Scott Wilson) to betray him so that he can fake his death.

    This movie plays fast and loose with the Gospel and the direction by Michael Campus — yes, the same man who made The Mack and Z.P.G. — is kind of wild. But hey! It has a score from Alex North, who did Spartacus and Cleopatra, plus Academy Award-nominated costumes by Mary Willis, who also worked on both the TV movie and original versions of The Diary of Anne Frank.

    How about this for weird? This movie has the same cinematographer as Lemon Popsicle and The Last American Virgin, Adam Greenberg.

    My favorite thing about this whole controversy was that Pat Boone bought national syndicated TV time to create an hour-long show asking people not to go see this movie. In fact, he even called Donald Pleasence on the phone to ask him why he was in it, thereby proving my theory that Mr. Pleasence never said no to anything that would have him perform on camera.

    Also, in The Greatest Story Ever Told, Pat played the Angel at the Tomb. Who did Donald play? Satan.

  16. Excessive Force II: Force on Force (1995)

    I have a soft spot for DTV in-name-only sequels, and as such things go this one is pretty entertaining. Stacie Randall stars as a Special Forces Investigator (or somesuch nebulous military title) out for revenge against a former ally-turned-criminal (played by an actor with whom I am unfamiliar whose face is approximately 72% teeth and who I have decided is named Discount Tom Cruise) who left her for dead.

    The performances are pretty uniformly flat but there are some fun action beats and it’s all pretty breezy. There’s an over-reliance on slow motion during the action scenes (clearly someone owes John Woo a royalty check) but it’s a nice reprieve from the more modern shaky-cam style so I support it. No idea who decided an unrelated sequel to a mostly-forgotten action programmer needed to exist but I appreciate whoever it was and I’d totally watch a third entry (as long as they use the word force at least 5 times in the title).

  17. River of Death (1989)

    The song Beautiful Boy, but all the words are replaced with the name of Michael Dudikoff. Action/adventure flick that is sort of. Raiders rip off and features Donald Pleasance.

  18. Halloween 2 (2009, dir. Rob Zombie)

    The third best Halloween movie? Zombie getting free of the narrative from the first movie really allows him to put his personal touches into this one. The gore effects are top notch.

  19. A QUIET PLACE PT. II (2021, dir. John Krasinski)

    This was good, but I can only watch sad people whispering at each other for so long. If this franchise keeps going, I say they go the SKYLINE direction and start fighting these aliens with big guns and martial arts.

    Also, I wonder if John and Emily had a fight over what a thankless role he gave her here.

  20. Shock Treatment (1981)

    Rocky Horror Picture Show is not only my favorite musical, it's one of my all time top 10 favorite movies. Which makes it even more surprising, not least to myself, that I never got around to checking out its follow-up until today. But isn't that what Junesploitation is for?

    The musical is some kind of a freaky surrealist satire on consumerism, media culture and I guess small-town America? Honestly, I'm not quite sure what the message here is supposed to be. With its garish visual style and imaginative, less-is-more set design, the movie makes the most of its limited scope and budget. It bursts with a similar irreverent spirit as RHPS, but no one here even begins to approach the manic energy and raw magnetism of Tim Curry as Frank N Furter - although the wonderful Jessica Harper certainly comes the closest. As the new version of Janet she's a worthy substitute for Susan Sarandon, and she's a legitimately great singer, which definitely helps. However, the main problem is that the songs Richard O'Brien came up with this time around just aren't very memorable (plus more than one feels like a rewrite of Time Warp), and that's what's holding the movie back the most in my opinion. Neither an underrated gem, nor an ambitious failure, Shock Treatment is simply a good time spent in the company of some weird people given free reign to act as weird as they please. And sometimes that's enough. You can't make a timeless cult classic every time out of the gate.

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  22. I just became aware of that thing where there are a few disparate movies that are all connected to the Bladerunner universe. generally intended by the screenwriter, but interestingly they include my two double features for the day staring with

    Soldier (1998 dir. yukky Paul W. S. Anderson) - This film was both better and worse than I remember. Kurt Russel is hard face acting the whole way through, but I really liked him as the brainwashed killer trying to make sense of the world. The best part is when they're going through his dossier, pause it, and see that he's got to have killed more than 1,000 people and his medals reference the Shoulder of Orion and Tannhäuser Gate. Cool!

    And secondly, a movie that needs no introduction Alien (1979). There isn't much to say, I hadn't actually watched it in a few years and need a midnight refresher. I will say now how much the Part where Ripley refuses to let them back in the ship citing "Quarantine". Truly a woman ahead of her time!

    1. Or technically behind her time since the vents in Alien take place 100 years from now in 2121. Sadly, no chance I make it there.

  23. The Amusement Park (1973, 2019, 2021, take your pick as to what date you want to go with)

    Had some family stuff to do today but at 52 mins runtime, I was able to squeeze in George Romero's long unreleased cautionary tale about treatment of the elderly which recently got released on Shudder. It's hard to overstate how amazing it is to get a "new" Romero film in 2021. Even with the short runtime there's not really a lot of plot to set so it just kind of relentless with one uncomfortable or terrible situation after another for our lead. Some have called it scary, but more than that it's genuinely upsetting at times so I think the point it's making gets across as intended.

    Probably not one I'll revisit much just due to the nature of what it is, but I'm very glad it is out there.

  24. Gods of Egypt (2016)

    I have now seen this movie twice. TWICE! And the first time was in theaters. WHYYYYYY!?!!?

    1. Because it has a scene where a hundred 9-foot Chadwick Bosemans (Bosemen?) ponder the true essence of lettuce? I think that's a good enough reason.

  25. Marked For Death (1990)

    I've only seen a few Steven Seagal movies, but this was the most entertaining one so far. It's got everything you want in this type of movie. Car chases, shoot ups, Keith David, arm snapping, leg snapping, back snapping, Jamaican voodoo gangs. The villain, Screwface, is legitimately terrifying and provides a nice surprise in the end.

  26. The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard (2021)

    Well, this was funny. Way more comedy this time but somehow more exploitation too, bc Salma Hayek's mouth is filthy. I thought, at first, that it was gonna be grating but no, she kept it up and is legit funny. Also Frank Grillo is funny? It was nice to be in theaters surrounded by laughter. Only been back to theaters for horror movies, which rules, but dumb fun comedies are such a different experience. A lot of straight Butthead laughing tonight.

    1. How about that Morgan Freeman/Sam Jackson scene? I thought I was gonna die from laughing so hard I couldn't breathe with the damn mask on. And I wasn't the one that laughed the loudest at my IMAX screening. ;-)

    2. omg, dude, that was legit hilarious. same experience over here, people were yelping. It was almost like a bit straight out of Austin Powers. And that wasn't the only one either lol.

  27. Burying The Ex (2015)

    I love this movie

  28. Frogs (George McCowan, 1972)

    So here's my dilemma:
    - I love (LOVE) killer animals movies
    - I can't stand watching real animals get hurt (that includes reptiles and arachnids).
    Which is obviously tricky when it comes to movies from a certain era (era). Frogs doesn't have any on-screen killing or torture, but features several motionless reptiles at the beginning of the movie, which I'll just pretend were sedated for my own peace of mind.
    This is the youngest I've evern seen Sam Elliott, who hasn't fully transformed into Sam Elliott yet but already and effortlessly looks like the coolest, smartest dude in the room.
    Not unexpectedly, the movie itself doesn't have much to do with its great poster (featuring a frog having seemingly just swallowed a human body), since there's no giant frog to be found here, and little to none frog action, beside frolicking around. They leave all the hard work (= killing) to various reptiles and swamp creatures, my personal favorite being tegus knocking down jars filled with toxic chemicals, not so much out of malice but because they're chonky boys and those are narrow shelves.
    I'll give the movie credit for its "fuck humanity" message and its tongue-in-cheek tone.
    Be sure to stay until the very last seconds of the end credits!

  29. PLAN B (2021, dir. Natalie Morales)


    Fantastic new comedy about two teenage girls on a road trip to planned parenthood to get the plan b pill. Very funny, very endearing characters, and great social commentary that felt very real and natural. Loved this movie.

  30. ROUGH NIGHT IN JERICHO (1967, dir. Arnold Laven)

    Really solid western with Dean Martin playing a scumbag who takes over a town and George Peppard as the man who has to stand up to him. One of my favorite discoveries of the year so far.