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Monday, October 15, 2018

John Wayne's Coolest Scenes #1: "McLintock!" (1963) (video)




John Wayne's Coolest Scenes #1: "McLintock!" (1963) (video)


I neither own nor claim any rights to this material.  Just having some fun with it.  Thanks for watching!




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Sunday, October 14, 2018

CITY SLICKERS: COLLECTOR'S EDITION -- Blu-ray Review by Porfle




Being a devout non-Billy Crystal fan might be considered a drawback when delving into a comedy like CITY SLICKERS (1991, Shout! Factory), seeing as it actually stars Billy Crystal.  Fortunately, it didn't take long for me to accept him as his character, a not unlikable family man named Mitch with a crummy job and an impending mid-life crisis.

His buddies Phil (Daniel Stern) and Ed (Bruno Kirby, THE GODFATHER PART II) are also going through pretty much the same thing in various ways.  Phil just broke up with his harridan of a wife and lost his job, his house, and his direction in life. Ed has a beautiful young wife yet still finds life unsatisfying, leading him to embark on wild daredevil vacations once a year and dragging Mitch and Phil along with him.

Naturally, this will result in the trio ending up at a Colorado ranch and participating in a cattle drive that will test their "city slicker" mettle while giving them plenty of opportunity to find themselves.  The long hours on horseback and huddled around the campfire at night will be like an extended group therapy for them, but with cows.


There's also Curly (Jack Palance), the roughest, toughest old cowboy of them all, who terrifies them all at first until Mitch manages to get through to his human side.  The rest of the crew consists of Cookie (Tracey Walter) and a couple of no-account saddle bums including "Homicide: Life on the Streets" regular Kyle Secor.

Surprisingly, CITY SLICKERS doesn't go for belly laughs, instead content to give us a fair amount of pleasant chuckles throughout along with several scenes that are actually designed to be either heartwarming (there's a good deal of male bonding and mutual emotional support going on with these guys), thought-provoking (deep meaning-of-life stuff and all that), and downright exhilarating, as when Mitch, Phil, and Ed end up having to drive the herd though uncertain territory all by themselves.

Billy, of course, gets a constant supply of throwaway gag lines, but he's restrained and fairly realistic here, which is nice.  The same goes for his co-stars, who each have a seperate journey through their own mid-life pitfalls which the film gently chronicles while keeping us pleasantly amused with the fish-out-of-water stuff.


Western buffs will be pleased to discover that for all its comedic aspects, the film actually does function much as a real western, especially in its second half when the cattle drive is fully under way and subject to a few jarring plot twists.

Also to the story's advantage is the fact that the leads are basically nice guys that we can root for during their emotional ups and downs on the journey.  Director Ron Underwood (TREMORS, THE ADVENTURES OF PLUTO NASH, IN THE MIX) does a solid, unobtrusive job of bringing the script by Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel to life.

Familiar faces abound including Noble Willingham as the ranch owner, Jeffrey Tambor as Mitch's dour boss, Patricia Wettig as his understanding wife, and Yeardley Smith (the voice of Lisa Simpson).  Other city slickers include Helen Slater (SUPERGIRL), David Paymer (GET SHORTY), Josh Mostel, and Bill Henderson.  A tiny Jake Gyllenhaal (DONNIE DARKO) plays Mitch's son, and Danielle Harris can be spotted as a classmate.


The Blu-ray from Shout! Factory features an all-new 4K scan with English subtitles.  Extras consist of:

Audio Commentary By Director Ron Underwood And Stars Billy Crystal And Daniel Stern
Featurettes:
"Back In The Saddle: City Slickers" Revisited
"Bringing In The Script: Writing City Slickers"
"A Star Is Born: An Ode To Norman"
"The Real City Slickers"
Deleted Scenes
Trailer
Reversible Cover Art


While CITY SLICKERS doesn't try to steamroll us with comedy or drench us in pathos, it has enough of each quality in addition to some genuine warmth and sparkling character interaction to succeed as a solid, enjoyable comedy western about three everyday guys coming of age late in life.  And while I'm not normally a Billy Crystal fan, I must admit that this time he actually won me over. 


Order it from shoutfactory.com



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All The Giant Gila Monster Scenes From "The Giant Gila Monster" (1959) (video)




Aside from the notorious ballad "Laugh, Children, Laugh"...

...written and performed by the great Don Sullivan...

..."The Giant Gila Monster" is best known for its title monster.


I neither own nor claim any rights to this material.  Just having some fun with it.  Thanks for watching!




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Saturday, October 13, 2018

GET SHORTY: COLLECTOR'S EDITION -- Blu-ray Review by Porfle




I haven't seen any of his more recent movies, but there was a time when John Travolta could play "Mr. Cool" better than just about anybody. That time spanned at least from GREASE to PULP FICTION, and it most definitely includes the making of Barry Sonnenfeld's 1995 Elmore Leonard adaptation GET SHORTY: COLLECTOR'S EDITION (Shout! Factory).

Travolta plays "Chili" Palmer, a Miami loanshark who loves movies and ends up getting involved in the business when he goes to Hollywood to help a Las Vegas casino owner collect on a delinquent debt.  The delinquent in question is B-movie mogul Harry Zimm (Gene Hackman), who sidesteps the debt by offering Chili a chance to co-produce his upcoming dream project.  Tired of the loansharking business, this offer is right up the fanatical film buff's alley.


Trouble is, Harry has other debtors wanting a big chunk of his future movie profits, including tough-guy enterpreneur Bo Catlett (Delroy Lindo) and his strong-arm thugs Ronnie (Jon Gries) and Bear (James Gandolfini in a decidedly non-"Sopranos"-type role).  When Chili's murderous mob nemesis from Miami, Ray "Bones" Barboni (Dennis Farina), shows up to settle old scores and runs afoul of both Harry and Chili, things get wonderfully complicated.

GET SHORTY isn't really all that complicated, but the constant twists and turns of this Hollywood crime comedy make keeping up with it a giddy delight from start to finish.  Fans of both gangster pictures and self-referential satires on Tinsel Town should thoroughly enjoy watching Travolta's cool-as-a-cucumber protagonist--he isn't really a bad guy even though he worked for the mob--push people and situations to the edge and come out on top every time.

There's the delightful subplot about the weaselly dry cleaner named Leo (David Paymer) who collected his own life insurance after everyone thought he died in a plane crash and then skipped off to Vegas with the money (he's the one Chili was originally sent by Ray Bones to track down).  And I love the way Hackman's Zimm clumsily steps all over Chili's efforts to handle things for him and then tries to play tough with Ray, which ends really badly for him.


Travolta looks like he just stepped out of GQ magazine the whole time and totally sells the character like nobody else could.  He's tough and shrewd, but his love for movies is endearingly childlike (there's a great scene of him excitedly watching TOUCH OF EVIL in a dark theater and reciting all the dialogue himself) and he only gets violent in self-defense or to prove a point.

Hackman is a hoot as Zimm, the typical junk filmmaker aspiring to make his one great movie but forever getting in trouble trying to finance it.  As his actress girlfriend Karen who's tired of being in cheap horror films, Rene Russo proves she can keep up with the guys just as she did in LETHAL WEAPON 4.  Danny DeVito is a scream as her ex-husband Martin Weir, now a superstar actor with a colossal ego whom Chili and Harry covet as their lead.

The film itself reflects Chili's sense of savoir faire with a cool score (consisting mainly of Booker T. & the MGs songs) and a slick, easygoing visual style.  The story is richly satirical and filled with scintillating dialogue and situations that evoke a sense of giddiness at times, it's just so right on the money.


The Blu-ray from Shout! Factory looks and sounds great, remastered from a new 4K transfer. The fully-stocked bonus menu includes:

Audio Commentary with Director Barry Sonnenfeld
Featurettes: "Get Shorty - Look at Me," " Get Shorty - Wise Guys + Dolls," "Going Again"
Get Shorty Party Reel
Page to Screen of Get Shorty
Vignettes
The Graveyard Scene
Trailer
Reversible Box Art 


There's action, suspense, and some violence at times, but it's all in service of the overall good vibes the film radiates.  The delightufully unexpected ending alone is worth the price of admission.  And once you've seen it, you'll know just what I mean when I say that GET SHORTY is truly "the Cadillac of minivans." 


Buy it from Shout! Factory



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First Screen Frankenstein: Edison's 1910 "Frankenstein" (video)





Thomas Edison's film studio released the first screen adaptation of "Frankenstein" in 1910.

The Monster was played by Charles Ogle.

A young scientist named Frankenstein creates life in his laboratory.
But his "perfect being" turns out to be a hideous creature.

Frankenstein's impure thoughts are to blame.

Frankenstein rejects his creation, but it is insanely devoted to him...
...and jealous of Frankenstein's bride-to-be, Elizabeth.

Finally, Frankenstein's pure love for Elizabeth causes the Monster to fade away.

The film was lost for many years.  A rediscovered print became widely seen in the 1970s.


I neither own nor claim any rights to this material.  Just having some fun with it.  Thanks for watching!

Music by Uniq





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Friday, October 12, 2018

What's With That Thing Arnold Throws In "Eraser"? (1996) (video)




"Eraser" is one of the best of Arnold's old-school action movies.

And the airplane sequence still blows us away.

But in the first showdown between Arnold and James Caan…

...Arnold throws a blade weapon that behaves very strangely.

The thing's just sort of spinning in mid air in front of Caan's arm.

Yet later we clearly see it sticking out of him.

And twenty-two years later, it's still a mystery.


I neither own nor claim any rights to this material.  Just having some fun with it.  Thanks for watching!



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Thursday, October 11, 2018

JET TRASH -- DVD Review by Porfle




An interestingly novel crime drama, JET TRASH (Indican Pictures, 2016) takes place mainly on a beautiful beach front in Southern India with characters who are laidback beach bums just taking it easy.

Until, that is, the harsh reality of how they got there catches up with them.  At which point, to coin a phrase, life's a beach and then you die.

Lee (Robert Sheehan, MORTAL ENGINES) is the impulsive, irresponsible one who got himself and his more levelheaded friend Sol (Osy Ikhile, THE LEGEND OF TARZAN, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION) in serious trouble with the smalltime crime boss Marlowe (Craig Parkinson) they worked for back in England, forcing them to steal a hunk of Marlowe's dirty money and hightail it to their remote paradise.


When one of Marlowe's other employees, the lovely Vix (Sofia Boutella, THE MUMMY, STAR TREK BEYOND), suddenly shows up looking for them, warning buzzers go off in their heads and they start looking for their vengeful former boss to jump out at them with his cronies from behind every corner.  Eventually, of course, their fears are realized in a big, scary way.

Until then, Lee and Sol--along with their really weird ex-military friend Mike (Jasper Pääkkönen), who's now deep into monk-like spiritualism and agonized self-reflection--get into even more trouble when Lee's caught selling drugs (something local big-dog Shay frowns upon).

But that's nothing compared to when they accidentally run over a cow (the phrase "Holy cow!" comes to mind) and find themselves being rousted by Shay's goons and robbed of their nest egg.


The film has a pace as languid as its setting, yet the story gradually heats up as the boys' peril increases along with their own heated interpersonal conflicts (Sol's going nuts over Lee's constant irresponsible behavior, and Mike's just plain nuts).

Vix's arrival complicates things even further since it reignites the love affair that had started between her and Lee back in England, while he and Sol remain torn between trusting her and suspecting that she's still working for Marlowe.

Charles Henri Belleville's direction is eye-pleasing and stylishly dreamlike.  He seems to revel in filming practically every shot in a visually interesting way that contributes to the film's colorful, easy narrative flow and encourages the viewer to interpret what's happening instead of just passively observing.


The conflict between the pastoral concerns of the beachfront village and the ruthless mob violence that Marlowe brings with him from the outside world builds to a suspenseful conclusion.

Rather than relying on big action scenes (save for sort of a chase between a car and a motor scooter), the excitement comes from seeing characters we like in peril and watching them try to blunder their way out of it.

I thought it was going to be boring at first, with salty slackers Lee and Sol on the beach having what seemed like yet another "Royale  With Cheese"-inspired dialogue scene.  But give JET TRASH five or ten minutes, and, if you're like me, you'll find yourself drawn right into this easygoing crime story and sticking around till it plays itself out.
 

Tech Specs
Runtime: 85 minutes
Format: 1:78 HD
Sound: Dolby Sr 5.1
Country: USA
Language: English
Website: www.IndicanPictures.com
Genre: Action




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All The Giant Turkey-Buzzard Puppet Scenes From "The Giant Claw" (1957) (video)




"The Giant Claw" is a passable 50s monster/sci-fi flick.

But it features one of the worst monsters of all time...

...the infamous giant turkey-buzzard puppet.


I neither own nor claim any rights to this material.  Just having some fun with it.  Thanks for watching!



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