Found at the last minute that Anthology Film Archives here in NYC would be showing a 4K restoration of Mario Bava's BLACK SUNDAY, aka MASK OF THE DEVIL (1960) for free if you e-mailed for an RSVP. Gothic as hell and thick with Universal Monster atmosphere, this feels like the unofficial start of what would eventually morph into Italian horror as we know it now. Barbara Steel in the dual role of vengeful witch and would-be victim does a lot of the heavy lifting. The primitive-but-creative special effects get the job done and, along with the gorgeous cinematography (also by Bava), look great in B&W 4K.Michael Jai White's OUTLAW JOHNNY BLACK (2023, THEATER) doesn't reach the delirious heights of "Black Dynamite," but it's a love letter to spaghetti westerns that makes the most from its odd juxtaposition of tones. There are scenes that are straight-up slapstick (prison bitch-slapping escape) mixed with dramatic-as-hell, character-arc heavy moments (Johnny preaching to a crowd using the flashback words from his own father, which make the bad-ass lead character realize the revenge driving his life wouldn't give him peace of mind) that shouldn't work as a whole... but they do. Besides the absurd length (130 min.) and the outright theft-as-homage re-use of "Blazing Saddles" jokes (horse punch) and footage from other westerns (Walter Hill's "The Long Riders") this one's worth the theater trip for western fans. Also, first movie I've ever seen where ALL the extras with no lines get listed in the title credits. :-)I usually don't skip sequels, but couldn't pass the chance to see direct-to-video prequel FROM DUSK TILL DAWN 3: THE HANGMAN'S DAUGHTER (1999, MAX) as a watch-along with fellow Jury Room 4.0 in one of the few times none of us had seen the film. The too-orange cinematography and slow pace after a good-but-not-Robert-Rodriguez good action start didn't do it any favors, but having Michael Parks as a main protagonist kept me engaged. Alas, as expected (though it still felt unexpected), the halfway mark switch from early 20th century outlaw chase to vampire slaughter (complete with Danny Trejo reprising his role in the first "FDTD") allows the filmmakers to let their freak flag fly and the digital mayhem to take over. Can't recommend this to fans of the first "FDTD" (it's nowhere near as good), but glad I saw this with appreciative online friends. EXPEND4BLES ('23, DOLBY CINEMA) and THE RETIREMENT PLAN ('23, THEATER) are cut from the same cloth, even though the entertainment gap is widened by the latter's budget limitations. "Expend4bles" (dumb name!) benefits from giving Jason Statham top-billing and lots of screen time kicking ass while Iko Uwais is clearly having fun playing a villain. These two easily steal the movie and their absence is felt when the camera cuts to anybody else, which happens often. :-( Stallone's still in it, but in a much-reduced role. The rest of the team ranges from passable (Dolph Lundgren trying to stay sober, Randy Couture becoming team pet, Tony Jaa fighting the urge to kill) to awful (Megan Fox, 50 Cent and Andy Garcia have nothing to do). There are only two action scenes, but they're lengthy and well-paced. I liked "Expend4bles" enough, but it helped tremendously that I'd seen "The Retirement Plan" a few hours prior. Nicolas Cage (looking like Jimmy Buffett, R.I.P.) tries to pull off the "Taken" shtick to save his estranged grandkid from bad guys chasing after a MacGuffin thumb drive (stolen by the kid's parents) the U.S. government wants. Shot in/around the Cayman Islands to give it at least some visual panache, the acting/production values make this feel like an AARP production. Cage is constantly outshined by supporting players (Ron Perlman, Ernie Hudson, Jackie Earle Haley, etc.) who seem to be in on the joke of a film they're in better than him. Every character has his/her name flash on-screen with a whip sound effect, but doesn't bother telling us what happened to some of them (is Jimmy dead or alive? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯). Hard pass on this one.
Do you know which version of Black Sunday was shown? It definitely started the Italian horror boom.
l was there in the theater, I saw the movie (my RSPV was accepted). It was the U.S. version in EngIish with the ’Mask of Satan’ titIe, but we were assured it was uncut despite being in EngIish. :-)
I have the Kino releases of the American and European versions. The only difference between them is the dubbing and the music.
Bottoms (2023) that movie is so weird, and great. They basically did Fight Club in the guise of a Teen Movie parody.
If this movie is not on every top 10 of the year, i'm gonna flip out man
Hello FTM! :) Hope everyone's been doing well. I rewatched AMADEUS (1984) last night maybe for the first time in 15 years? It was one of the first movies I remember watching, ever, and I loved it as a kid. I realize it's even better watching it as an adult, of course, but it's interesting that it's a movie that even little kids can entirely understand. The bad guy is very bad and old and jealous - which is a problem feeling kids kids can easily relate to - and Mozart is completely childlike. There's nothing I understand as an adult that I didn't understand as a kid. Except for one thing. There's a really creepy element as things start to escalate and as an adult I can identify exactly what that creepy element is - it's Cynthia Nixon. She brings all the creepiness in, like a wailing ghost child. It's clearly her job to make things look psycho-scary. As an adult I do feel the tragedy of the whole story more, though. Such a masterpiece.
Also: Nipples. Of. Venus. Giant. Candies. I forgot it was like one of my life goals to find these and try one.
Amadeus is a favorite of mine, i watch is at least once year. I'd sell my mother to have a proper 4K Dolby Vision blu-ray of this movie
Nice. I saw it with extended scenes on Prime. But I think the theatrical vs is perfect already.
We rewatched it a couple of years back and I'm convinced it's one of the best movies ever made.
And there you go. Patrick Bromley say it's so.
The only time I saw this was in Music class in high school. With the auditorium seating, and it playing on a small TV off of VHS, it couldn't have been the best viewing experience.
I watched the extended version so many time, the one time a tried the theatrical cut, i felt something was missing. But yes, the theatrical cut is fine
Oo, that sounds pretty bad, Paul. There are so many gorgeous, important scenes that are set in giant ballrooms, grand theaters, on huge stages. Need bigger screen.
Amadeus has... too many notes (just kidding, it's fantastic).
Another eclectic week of movie watching before the scary movie marathon begins. I got through a couple of Netflix DVD watches with only a week left to get movies from there. With the delays in mailing discs, there probably is only time for one more watch before the shipping deadline comes next Friday. I saw that Amazon Prime is going to be adding commercials to next year. I cannot say that having to sit through commercials for a "pay" service seems fair, but I have no control over it. Thinking about Scary Movie Month but not sure what to do for it. I have followed a horror challenge the past two Octobers to determine my watches, but the desire to follow my own path is stronger this year. I will see. I probably will not have the free time of past years, either I, THE WORST OF ALL (1990, dir. Maria Luisa Bemberg) – Does the intellectual and creative life of a nun conflict with the Catholic Church? It does when you are expressing views on theology in 17th-century Mexico. The literary and scholarly endeavors of Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz get a distinctly political slant in this dramatization of her life. It helps to do a little homework about Sor Juana to fully comprehend all that happens. Though not a fun experience, I, The Worst of All is a thoughtful watch for those interested in depictions of religious lives. COME AND SEE (1985, dir. Elem Klimov) – The European eastern front of WWII was a savage battleground, a detail this harsh Soviet film viscerally conveys. An adolescent boy named Flyora joins the partisans (guerilla forces) fighting behind enemy lines in the Soviet republic of Belorussia. It does not take long for him to experience the pitiless combat and violence of the war. The Germans tend not to discriminate between soldier and civilian, resulting in a numerous atrocities committed across the countryside. As an avid World War II history buff, nothing in the film comes as a surprise, but the cruelty it shows is certainly difficult to comprehend. Neither side of the conflict had any mercy to show each other. LEATHERFACE: TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 3 at the Mahoning Drive-In (1990, dir. Jeff Burr) – It’s….. okay. The film only really came alive for me when the demented antics of the Sawyer family become prominent. The rehashing of scenarios and images from the original film only reminded me of how effective that particular film is. Young Viggo Mortenson stands out the most in the cast, but I did like the interpretation of Leatherface here. CRIMEWAVE (1985, dir. Sam Raimi) – I saw The XYZ Murders cut of this. The film is co-written by the Coen Brothers, and it undoubtedly has the hallmarks of the zany comedic style (Raising Arizona) of the early part of their career. Raimi contributes his penchant for slapstick comedy and the presence of Bruce Campbell in a small but memorable role. The general idea of the film is that two cartoonish hitmen are on the prowl and a woman has to be saved from them. One ridiculous scenario follows another ridiculous scenario, culminating in an impressive car chase sequence for a low-budget film. With the Embassy studio completely re-cutting the film for theatrical release (XYZ Murders), it would be interesting to see what the original vision for the film was. Flawed but not without merit.
Come and See is one I've been meaning to get around to watching. I know it's not the most pleasant watch, so I'm waiting for an opportunity where I'm in the right frame of mind.For SMM, I don't have any plans, and am going to just play it by ear. Last year, I didn't worry about watching only horror, and I enjoyed the month a lot more. I like horror, but a month of only horror is just too much of a good thing.I recently watched Hot Fuzz with my son, and he loved it, so we're going to watch Shaun of the Dead together. Otherwise I'll probably just seek out whatever horror I've missed over the past year. Patrick has mentioned Cobwebs several times, so will watch that for sure.
Come and See is not a pleasant watch, but it is a great movie
Come and See is best watched when in the mood for a heavy viewing experience. I have had Saló in my watch list for seemingly forever, but I have never been in the mood for it. There is a long list of horror films I have yet to watch, Paul. The horror challenges have actually helped to get to more of those films than I generally would have on my own. Another important aspect of a movie challenge is the incentive it provides to explore new realms in the horror genre. So much of the past 20 years of horror cinema is unknown to me.
BULLITT (1968) Steve McQueen is cool. Lalo Schifrin is cool. The car chase is cool. The finale airport confrontation is cool. But a lot of the plot mechanics continue to elude me. HARDCORE (1979) If it weren't for the fact that this deals with serious subject matter (human trafficking, basically), this movie would be unintentional comedy. It's meant to be shocking, but it goes past that to become ludicrous. Fun to see George C. Scott and Peter Boyle go full ham, though. THE INCREDIBLES (2004) Brad Bird goodness! FROM DUSK TILL DAWN 3: THE HANGMAN'S DAUGHTER (1999) A lot of B-movie sex n' violence here, plus some beautifully terrible CGI effects make this some cheeseball fun. But it's frustrating that there's no protagonist, just a bunch of characters with their own subplots. This is exactly why your screenwriting 101 teacher told you never to write ensemble scripts. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3 (2023) Plays really well on rewatch. The emotional beats and the big laughs really hit. The only quibble is how Adam Warlock is so poorly depicted. Still had a great time with it, though. No sleep 'til Brooklyn!
After the strong recommendation on the podcast, I watched Malice. So many twists and turns! I enjoyed it a lot. Up until rather recently, I would have said I disliked Alec Baldwin, but I'm coming around on him. I think seeing him in 30 Rock (I've been watching a bit) has played a part in that.I hadn't seen any Expendables movies, so I decided to start with Expendables 3. The movie is really dumb, and full of problems (why do we care about these new guys? Randy Couture can not act. Jet Li is done dirty) but damn did I have a good time watching it. He might be a piece of shit (sugartits!), but I love seeing Mel Gibson on screen. It was great seeing Wesley Snipes again in a movie, even if he disappears after the first act. One of the new guys speciality is riding bikes, so spends the whole final act zipping around and doing sick jumps on his bike. I'm not sure that helped much in the fight, but I guess they didn't need much help because they killed 300 people without any of them getting so much as a scratch.
Blue Beetle (2023) is fine. Does some good stuff, but fail at the end. But the biggest sin is how they screwed Susan Sarandon. She's so miscast, it's weird. I think Sigourney Weaver would make a better evil CEO (as seen in Paul 😁)
I saw Stop Making Sense in IMAX this weekend. I'd never seen it before, and it kinda blew me away. I wouldn't even say I'm a huge Talking Heads fan (I love a couple of their hits, and generally like most of their music, but I've never owned or listened to any of their albums), but I'm closer to being one now. There's a short build over the first few songs as more set pieces and band members are added to the stage, but after those first 15 minutes or so, the band hits a sort of frenzied level of fun energy that never lets up again. The audience can't help but join in, and the show just becomes an all out party. Demme plays his direction pretty straight, wisely getting out of the way and letting a band on fire do most of the work. It's pretty close to the best time I've had in a theater this year.
We have an episode on STOP MAKING SENSE that now you can go back and listen to! It's a great movie.
Well that's just the cherry on top!
ZANDY'S BRIDE (1974)Gene Hackman has no charm! A first! Set in the Wild West late 1800s, a grumpy, lonely, idiot cattle rancher gets a mail order bride (Liv Ullmann). Pretty miserable watch. Eileen Heckart plays his mom and steals the scenes. More of her please. I'm so happy Gene Hackman went on to become Gene Hackman.