Good weekend to everyone. I realized this week that Scary Movie Month is only 1 ½ months away now. With that in mind, I turned to some horror films on Tubi to cheer me up from some summertime blues. I chose Mario Bava’s BLACK SUNDAY (1960) and the 1968 Mexican boarding school horror film HASTA IL VIENTO TIENE MIEDO (Even The Wind Is Afraid) for their gothic qualities. There is something comforting in the familiarity of the films. Although Black Sunday gets more visually impressive with each watch, the slow pacing and weak script still impact my enjoyment of it. The silliness of Even The Wind Is Afraid came through more this time, yet the creepy moments remain creepy. BIANCO, ROSSO E.. (1972, dir. Alberto Lattuada) – A dramedy featuring the lovely Sophia Loren as a nun sent to Milan to run a hospital. One the patients is not actually a patient: a communist with an injured leg with connections that allow him to stay there. Things happen and don’t happen between them. The charm is all the small interactions that take place. A slight film overall.THE TROUBLE WITH GIRLS (1969) – One of Elvis Presley’s last films. The Trouble With Girls is at heart a period piece about a travelling show in the 1920s that somehow cannot help the 1960s intruding in. By no means a bad film judging by ordinary standards of filmmaking, it suffers from a script that goes all over the place. Annissa Jones, the little girl from the sitcom Family Affair, is a delight to watch in her small role.KISS ME, KATE (1953) – Pleasant entertainment from the dying days of Hollywood’s musical golden age. During the staging of a musical version of The Taming of the Shrew, the two leads in the show have a relationship that parallels the story they are performing. There is plenty of color and a few memorable numbers to enjoy. Bob Fosse has a small role and gets a chance to briefly show off his distinctive dancing style. FASTER, PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL! (1965, dir. Russ Meyer) – Junesploitation in August! I have not seen this for a long time. Unmistakably a Russ Meyer film, FASTER PUSSYCAT is appropriately cheap, trashy, and ridiculous with memorable dialogue. “You won’t find it down there, Columbus!” Though I prefer other Meyer films (BVD, Mudhoney), FASTER PUSSYCAT deserves it cult status. Tura Satana owns the screen whenever she appears.
There is a nice version of Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! on Youtube if anyone is interested in watching it.
woot! thanks! ive never seen this cult fav!
The Russ Meyer estate has done a terrible job getting his films out in digital formats. The one subscription service I see Faster Pussycat available on is Full Moon's website. That and Beyond the Valley of the Dolls seem to be the only Russ Meyer titles readily available. As for physical media releases, few of his films have even made it onto Blu-ray, and the DVDs sold by the Meyer company are very overpriced.
American Ultra (2015): Was originally intrigued by the premise of an over the top stoner action comedy but not real intrigued by the casting. I totally loved it. Its a silly popcorn action movie with comic bookesque villainry. I think it coexists nicely in the same universe as odenkirks Nobody. And, as with Nobody, its better to go in not knowing details or character reveals so try to avoid reading too much on it. Check it out for some crazy action/violence/sillyness.
Daimajin Strikes Again [AKA Wrath of Daimajin] (1966, dir. Kazuo Mori)Third in a trilogy of Godzilla-like Japanese monster features from the mid-60s. Daimajin is a vengeful mountain god awoken by defenseless villagers pleading for help against an invading army. The film follows four children who decide to trek over the perilous mountain to save their captured parents. In the end Daimajin (who looks like a giant stone samurai) hears the pleas of the desperate children and brings the hammer down on the army… and everything else around them. The guy-in-the-suit smashing models is in full effect, and gives a satisfying conclusion. Strictly B-movie fare, but fun.Stillwater (2021, dir. Tom McCarthy)The latest Matt Damon vehicle, loosely based on the Amanda Knox story, about a roughneck oil-driller father attempting to help his daughter imprisoned in France for the murder of her lover. A movie about the search for redemption and family with a stranger in a strange land. I suppose this movie dodged a bullet by not making Damon’s character an abrasive racist redneck (he’s abrasive, and a redneck though), but it allows him some substantive growth. The third act turn contains a ridiculous movie plot thing that downgrades the whole endeavor a full letter grade. I’m also not sure I buy the love story arc, but taken with the entire package, it works.The Dark Divide (2020, dir. Tom Putnam)David Cross’s first(?) foray into a straight-dramatic role in a biopic of a butterfly scientist trekking through woods in the Northwest. It’s a journey-through-hell-but-also-self-discovery that also contains a dying wife and traces of bigfoot. The story is not overstuffed nor overly comedic, but it’s also not deadly serious like “Into the Wild” or “127 Hours” either. I found it hard to overlook Cross’s trademark whiny vocal affect, which I permanently associate with silly, absurd, batshit comedy. This movie wants him to be dorky and aloof; the butt of jokes not the joke teller. But Cross sells a kind of naive but hopeful curiosity that, I think, forms the dramatic backbone that ultimately makes it work. Still, hard not to giggle a little with David Cross running around the woods in his tighty-whities holding a butterfly net.
Agree on "Stillwater." Was enjoying it tremendously until the final act, when it goes too Hollywood and breaks its already-tenuous reality (how did Bill get working papers to stay in Marseilles?) for the sake of a couple of conventional thriller twists. Still a good movie overall, though, more "Spotlight" and less "French Connection II." ;-)
Brick (2006): My guess is most film fanatics have discovered Rian Johnsons first flick by now. I believe i saw it originally but upon revisit absolutely dug it in that its unlike any other flick. Its this very somber pastiche of a film noir murder mystery thru the eyes of high school students via a story of local drug factions. Oh, and it more or less creates its own language. (In that vein, i suggest it would pair nicely with A Clockwork Orange (Editors Note: apparently i have some subconscious need to pair movies...weird)). I think the film takes a good 15 or 20 m to get its hooks in you, but if it does, its a fabulous ride. I cant say enough about the cryptic dialogue and what a crazy risk it was and how much fun it is to decipher along the way. 4 star flick for sure. One of a kind.
Never seen this, but your review makes me want to check it out. If only to see where the guy who did "Knives Out" and the best "Star Wars" movie of the Disney-fueled trilogy got his early start.
You should totally check it J.M. Its truly unique. Digging deeper into its origins, apparently Johnson was heavily influenced by the works of Dashiel Hammet who isnt on my radar much (aside from Maltese Falcon and The Thin Man).
I was wondering if since the "I stream, you stream" articles aren't around anymore if it would be possible to add where or how you watched these films? It would be greatly appreciated and I feel would be beneficial for all us F-heads.
Great idea...will help interested parties zero in on ways to watch faster!
I'd like to bring "I Stream, You Stream" back someday. It's not realistic right now, but maybe soon.
Don't look at me, I always include the platform I watch the movies in. :-P
I usually mention if I stream a movie. It just happens that most of the films I have watched recently come from television broadcasts or physical media.
CHILLY SCENES OF WINTER (1979, dir. Joan Macklin Silver) – This is a film I have wanted to see for years; TCM finally aired it during the week. The story is about a man named Charlie, played by John Heard, who cannot let go of a relationship. His obsession with his former girlfriend leads to some uncomfortable situations. The winter scenes around Salt Lake City, Utah, add to the somber mood of the film. It was well worth the wait.
Batman:The Long Halloween pt 2 (2021; bluray). I must tip my hat to the folks at DC Animation. For the past several years they have been deep diving into the "classics" of graphic novels that many of us grew up adoring. Batman stories like Killing Joke, Year One, Gotham by Gaslight, and the seminal Dark Knight Returns. Theres no question that many many aspects of these stories and takes on batman have found their way into live action recent takes on the Bat, however direct adaptations seemed unlikely until DC started dropping them. So when they announced that we'd be getting a two movie adapaptation of a personal fav, The Long Halloween (Loeb/Sale0, i was giddy. The two movie aspect seemed a bit of a 'get them to buy two blurays instead of one' buuut the source is long and detailed so i was ok with the choice. And in the end my review of this adaptation is very very similar with the aforementioned other titles....its good..quite good....but not great...and leagues away from reading the source. To provide some differentiation on my thoughts i will say that part 2 of the Long Halloween is probably my fav DC adaptation in a long while. It does stick the landing nicely. I would suggest however that this isnt worth buying unless you are a die hard completest. It'll make its way to streaming soon (HBO Max would be a safe bet) AND if you want to see pt1/pt2 sooner...snag it from redbox. Its a solid fun animated rental.
Like the stories your grandparents told you about walking barefoot in a snow storm to get to school, I literally walked in 90+ degree weather approx. 10 miles back and forth to a mall in Poughkeepsie, NY (was house-sitting my sister's home and chicken hens, one of which died overnight! :'() to watch FREE GUY 3D (2021, theater). And for my sins the 3D calibration/focus was slightly off during the whole pic, bad-enough to be noticeable but not to convince the theater to give me a refund. This story is more interesting than anything in the movie. I don't see Patrick or anybody who isn't into online/sandbox videogames getting most of the in-game jokes, plus the filmmakers save their Disney-IP firepower until the very end for a couple of well-timed MCU/"Star Wars" gags tailor-made for opening night. Ryan Reynolds on PG-13 autopilot and director Shawn Levy ("Night at the Museum") sleepwalks through CG mayhem. Taika Waititi's main heavy annoys, and a cameo by Alex Trebek (R.I.P.) sucks the oxygen out of the room for a minute or two. But thanks for the excuse to lose a few pounds! :-PSaw RESPECT (2021, theater) at the New Paltz Cinema, the Upstate NY college town where I attended school in the early 90's. Last time I was there I took a girl to see "Lion King" in 1993, and except for recliner seat options the theater hasn't changed in the past 28 years. Christ, I'm old! :-O As for the Aretha Franklin biopic, TV director-turned-first-time-feature-helmer Liesl Tommy ("Jessica Jones") and the filmmakers are smart to concentrate on the period of Aretha's career where Jennifer Hudson could still play her without needing make-up or prosthetics. Zero surprises in the "Behind the Music"-patterned ups and downs of Aretha's career (the segment where the titular song emerges feels suitably exhilarating), but Forest Whitaker (domineering preacher father), Marlon Wayans (whose Ted White is the Ike Turner in Aretha's life) and Marc Maron (an excellent Jerry Wexler) give Hudson plenty of acting talent to interact with. Whatever shortcomings this biopic has (the photography looks damp and lifeless), Aretha Franklyn's timeless songs make the 2.5 hrs. running time worth sitting through. 'It's okay.' Rewatched John Lee Hancock's THE FOUNDER (2017, Netflix) with my father, who was first-time watching it remotely with me from Arizona. At the time of its release there were comparisons between Michael Keaton's portrayal of Ray Croc with the recently-elected President Trump. Seen without the spotlight of Trump or executive producer Harvey Weinstein (this was among the last batch of Oscar-bait pics he pushed before his crimes caught up with him in late '17), "The Founder" is an exploration of the winners (Kroc, Linda Cardellini's Joan Smith) and losers (Nick Offerman and John Carroll Lynch's McDonald brothers, Laura Dern as Mrs. Croc No. 1) in the dog-eat-dog world of capitalism. I just invited dad to see this flick because I felt it was a good drama, but it triggered emotions/memories about his youth and middle-age that kept us talking for hours after "The Founder" ended. Glad we watched the pic before Netflix stopped streaming it last Friday. Rewatched George Miller's MAD MAX: BEYOND THUNDERDOME (1985, HBO Max). The PG-13 rating explains why the hard edges from the first two flicks are replaced by bloodless mayhem, pig shit jokes and Max becoming the nanny/protector of a bunch of "Lord of the Flies"-type kids. Miller's direction at the very end with a cool action chase sequence saves it, but this now feels a distant third to "Fury Road" and "The Road Warrior's" vehicular mayhem. Tina Turner doesn't embarrass herself, and the quotable lines ("Who runs Bartertown?") are legion. Deathly dull middle act, but the opening and ending make it watchable.
Regarding your 3d experience..i gotta say that im the last of a dying breed as i was raised obsessed with 80s 3D and have always dug it...HOWEVER....1) ive had a similar experience to yours where the theater had the 3d improperly aligned (opening night Captain Marvel dolby). It sucked. and 2) Feel like that in the last decade or so the 3d is used relatively tamely to add some depth of field. Kinda thinking im gonna be ok without it for a while.
I wanted to see "Free Guy" in 3D (only two 3D showings per day, I went with the 12:30PM one rather than the 7:30PM to avoid walking back to my sis' place in the dark) because I figured a movie based on videogame worlds/premise would be prime material for a quality 3D experience. Shame about the misaligned 3D in my screening, but even with that hurdle a few scenes (the jet fighters flying throughout the city landscape) did feel like above-average 3D Stereo conversion. Only if "Free Guy" is released on 3D Blu-ray will we be able to see if its 3D is any good. Not very optimistic of that happening, but "Free Guy" is No.1 at the box office again this week. If it becomes a big-enough hit then Disney might entertain a 3D home video release. Fingers crossed! :-D
To be fair to Ray Kroc, he did buy the McDonald brothers out of the business with the amount they requested. Does that mitigate that fact that he took the business away from them? Maybe not.
And since Michael Keaton plays him in the movie, Ray Croc comes across as a likable shark of an a-hole businessman. I'm sure in real life Ray was less colorful and more of a brute force type of guy. 🙂
The Texas Chainsaw Triple was really fun. Never watched any two films back to back, much less a third one too. One and two are really perfect back to back in that setting. TCM III, which is a movie I like, suffered a little bit... ok quite a bit, after watching the first two Tobe Hooper powerhouses. Big Bob Elmore (Leatherface TCM II) who is a very intimidating presence on the outside because he looks like an outlaw biker, was awesome. He had the best anecdote about not knowing what TCM II was going to be coming in to the role, obviously thinking it was going to be just like the first. Basically he said that there were a lot of takes because of him, because when acting next to Bill Moseley as Chop Top, he would just watch him and his bonkersness and forget to do anything other than just be amazed.
oh yeah and The Night House is really great and tense AF too
Benny Chan's RAGING FIRE (2021, theater) feels like a throwback to the 80's and 90's Hong Kong action epics that put John Woo on the map, a fitting coda to Benny Chan's directorial career (he passed away in Aug. '20 after completing post-production; almost the entire closing credits are dedicated to him). Donnie Yen delivers one of his best non-"Ip Man" action hero roles as Bong, an honest-to-a-fault HK detective dealing with the fallout from his past coming back to haunt him. Nicholas Tse is clearly having fun playing Ngo, a criminal mastermind driven more by revenge than riches. If it wasn't because the female roles are so thin (pregnant wife, diligent background cop, etc.) and the plot so generic "Raging Fire" would draw favorable comparisons to Michael Mann's "Heat," it's that good. The less you know in the better (reviews spoil parts of the story that in the narrative are treated like major surprises), but it's been a while since we've had a Honk Kong/Donnie Yen action vehicle this polished and entertaining. Highly recommended, especially if you can catch it on the big screen.Even though it's streaming on Hulu, HOMEROOM (2021, theater) played better for me alone in an empty theater. A narrator-less documentary (executive produced by "Black Panther's" Ryan Coogler) about the 2019-2020 school year a class of high school seniors in Oakland experience, "Homeroom" has the cloud of the eventual COVID-19 outbreak hanging as it chronicles normal HS ups (college applications accepted, virtual graduation) and downs (police incidents in school buildings). To my surprise, the Black Lives Matter killings resonate strongest with these particular students than COVID. An interesting fly-on-the-wall doc about a memorable time in our lives for those of us who weren't in the American West Coast at the time.Andreas Koefoed's THE LAST LEONARDO (2021, theater) tries and almost succeeds in making the couldn't-care-less world of art dealing interesting. Fans of "Tenet" will already be familiar with the nebulous world of expensive art being stored in airports for tax shelter purposes that "The Last Leonardo" explains in detail as it tracks the whereabouts of a painting that may or may not be a missing-for-centuries Leonardo da Vinci masterwork. 'It's fine,' but the more invested you are in classical paintings and art in general the more likely you are to get something from this particular doc.The Simplistic Reviews podcast has a couple of movie commentary tracks that gave me the perfect excuse to rewatch 'em. THE PIT (1981, TUBI) (a demented slice of creative Canucksploitation heaven) and Dwight H. Little's MARKED FOR DEATH (1990, Blu-ray) (Steven Seagal moonlighting over at 20th Century Fox during his string of Warner Bros. hits) were an entertaining rewatch with Valentine and the gang either not knowing what was coming (they rejoiced with every new person the creepy kid threw into the pit, and some were genuinely shocked by Screwface twist near the end of "Marked for Death") or seeing it coming a mile away was a delight. A good time was had by all, especially me. :-)
The Pit is reserved for a Junesploitation watch. My DVD is ready to go at right time.
I watched THE CURRENT WAR (2019), about the race between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse to see who's current system would power the US with electricity for the first time (using Edison's bulbs). I agree with JB's review that it was really chopped up - it seemed like two distinct movies to me. The first part was super boring, then we get to...THE WAR! Woohoo! The inventions at the end of the 19th century are so cool. What hits me about this story is how, if only these big-ego men (but the movie is undeniably more sympathetic to Westinghouse) could see a bigger picture and just be happy that the world will have electricity, rather than fight about who's first, you know? I couldn't get that out of my head. Like in the end, does it matter who made the lightbulb and who's name was attached to it first? Or does it just matter that electricity benefits humanity? Similarly I thought about Amadeus - you know how Mozart makes fun of the Emperor's composer by "fixing" that little piece of music he wrote for the Emperor to play? So Mozart made him look bad and he was butt hurt (I'm sure I would be, too, I guess)...but centuries later, isn't what matters the fact that we get to hear Mozart's genius music and appreciate his God given gifts? Sometimes I just wish I could get past my ego and see the bigger picture and what really matters. Humanity benefits from electricity, humanity benefits from Mozart (at least some say so), so why not think about humanity over one's self/name/image?
There always seems to be ego involved with these fights over technology. The money is not a minor consideration, either. A modern technology war is the commercial space vehicle competition between Tesla and SpaceX. Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are certainly not friendly rivals.
Yeah I have serious doubts about their interest in humanity. I would not see their movie!!