HK and Cult Film News's Fan Box

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

2 Arctic Bloopers From "The Thing From Another World" (1951) (video)




Before Kenneth Tobey and his men are menaced by the Thing...

...they find its crashed flying saucer submerged in the ice.

There's the saucer's fin.

And there's the...truck?

Later, they set off a thermite bomb to thaw the ice.

An upward camera pan reveals what appears to be...

...the top edge of the painted backdrop. (Although some dispute this.)


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




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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

John Wayne's Coolest Scenes #8: Just Lead, "Chisum" (1970) (video)




John Wayne plays cattleman John Chisum...

...in this tale of the Lincoln County Wars.

In this scene, he and Ben Johnson trade hot lead with some rustlers.


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



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The Original "SUSPIRIA" and More Giallo Cult Horror Classics Are Available on Freemium OTT Streamer MIDNIGHT PULP!



THIS HALLOWEEN, OTT CHANNEL 

"MIDNIGHT PULP"

SERVES UP DARIO ARGENTO'S "DEEPLY TERRIFYING" ORIGINAL SUSPIRIA AND A COVEN'S WORTH OF ITALIAN HORROR CULT CLASSICS

Giallo Films Include Argento's Phenomena, Mario Bava's Black Sunday, Luciano Onetti's Francesca and the 2013 Giallo Homage, Sonno Profondo, and More!


               Streaming all things strange | Midnight Pulp

New York, NY (October 30, 2018) - Luca Guagadnino's remake of the 1977 Dario Argento cult classic Suspiria just set a 2018 box office record for best opening per theater before it goes wide this coming weekend. The update, which stars Tilda Swinton, Dakota Johnson, Mia Goth and Chloë Moretz, is set at a prestigious dance academy, and, as in the original, involves grisly murders and the supernatural.  But for genre fans interested in screening Argento's version "considered by many to be one of the all-time best horror films,[1]" the OTT platform MIDNIGHT PULP has horror fans covered - for FREE.

Offering an expertly-curated selection of horror, thriller and cult programming, MIDNIGHT PULP is one of the few streaming outlets online offering the original SUSPIRIA, guaranteed to put an extra chill into this spooky season. In addition to this supernatural classic, MIDNIGHT PULP also offers a coven's worth of Italian horror classics in the GIALLO collection, featuring the best of the Italian horror genre from notable directors like Argento, Mario Bava and Luciano Onetti, and viewers can choose to view on a no-charge freemium model or with an ad-free premium subscription starting at $4.99.


GIALLO Collection titles now available on MIDNIGHT PULP include:

SUSPIRIA (1977, Director Dario Argento) -- A newcomer to a fancy ballet academy gradually comes to realize that the school is a front for something far more sinister and supernatural amidst a series of grisly murders. Starring Barbara Magnolfi, Flavio Bucci, Jessica Harper, Miguel Bosé and Stefania Casini. (97 minutes)

BLACK SUNDAY (1960, Director Mario Bava) -- A vengeful witch and her fiendish servant return from the grave and begin a bloody campaign to possess the body of the witch's beautiful look-alike descendant. Only the girl's brother and a handsome doctor stand in her way.  Starring Andrea Checchi, Arturo Dominici, Barbara Steele, Ivo Garrani, John Richardson and Mario Passante. (88 minutes)

FRANCESCA (2015, Director Luciano Onetti) -- Two detectives must hunt down a maniac bent on cleansing his city of impure souls. At the same time, a young girl who'd disappeared 15 years ago mysteriously resurfaces. Could these two events be connected?  Gustavo Dalessanro, Luis Emilio Rodrigues, Raul Gederlini and Silvina Grippaldi star. (80 minutes)

MADHOUSE (1981, Director Ovidio Assonitis) -- Julia has spent her entire adult life trying to forget the torment she suffered at the hands of her twisted twin Mary... but Mary hasn't forgotten. Escaping hospital, where she's recently been admitted with a horrific, disfiguring illness, Julia's sadistic sister vows to exact a particularly cruel revenge on her sibling this year - promising a birthday surprise that she'll never forget. Starring Dennis Robertson, Michael MacRae and Trish Everly.  (93 minutes)

PHENOMENA (1985, Director Dario Argento) -- A young girl, with an amazing ability to communicate with insects, is transferred to an exclusive Swiss boarding school, where her unusual capability might help solve a string of murders.  Daria Nicolodi, Donald Pleasence, Federica Mastroianni, Fiore Argento and Jennifer Connelly. (116 minutes)

SONNO PROFONDO (2013, Director Luciano Onetti) -- A stylish, lush, and lurid film from Argentina, Sonno Profondo faithfully recreates the style of Italian horror films of the 70s. After murdering a woman, a killer that is traumatized from his childhood memories gets a mysterious envelope slipped under his door. The hunter becomes the prey when he finds out that the envelope contains photos that show him killing the young woman. Starring Daiana Garcia, Luciano Onetti and Silvia Duhalde. (67 minutes)

THE NIGHT EVELYN CAME OUT OF THE GRAVE (1971, Directed by Emilio Miraglia) - A decadent English lord thinks his second wife is his first wife back from the dead.  Anthony Steffen, Enzo Tarascio and Marina Malfatti star. (101 minutes)

Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key (1972, Directed by Sergio Martino)-- As a string of violent murders plagues the town, a lecherous writer, Oliviero, is visited by his young, beautiful, and self-confident niece, Floriana. A silver-haired stranger observes. More women die, and thoughts of harming his wife give Oliviero new inspiration. What's Floriana's game and who's the observant stranger? Watching all is a black cat named Satan. Starring Anita Strindberg, Daniela Giordano, Edwidge Fenech, Ivan Rassimov and Luigi Pistilli. (97 minutes).

Midnight Pulp is available on the web, iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Samsung Smart TV and additional platforms, and features thousands of streaming titles, with new titles programmed each week.   Registered users can watch videos for free with commercials while premium subscribers can access the entire selection of titles without commercials, in addition to early releases, director's cuts and exclusive content.


 About Digital Media Rights

Based in New York, Digital Media Rights (DMR) is a privately-held digital media and advertising company founded in 2010 by industry veterans Michael Hong and David Chu. As a pioneer in digital distribution, they've helped to transform the industry while evolving to specialize in three distinct areas: Digital Distribution, the DMR Advertising Network and OTT Digital Networks.

DMR is one of the largest content aggregators and distributors in the world with a catalog containing over 7,500 premium titles from 250+ partners across leading television networks, studios, producers and sales agents. Their broad distribution footprint includes direct distribution deals with many leading platforms including Amazon Instant Video, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Netflix, Cable VOD, iTunes, Google Play, FandangoNow, Hoopla, Kanopy, Vudu, and many others.

The DMR Advertising Network provides video and display ads via direct sales and programmatic channels across Connected TV, desktop, and mobile. Connecting brands and media buying agencies to relevant audiences across its premium publishers, DMR handles over 500 million ad requests per month globally across all screens, while optimizing ad revenue through its direct relationships with brands, advertising agencies, networks, DSPs, SSPs, and other demand partners.

DMR is also an OTT channel publisher and developer with a suite of five owned and operated over-the-top (OTT) channels that have become leading destinations for their respective genres: AsianCrush (pan-Asian), Midnight Pulp (horror/thriller), Yuyu (general entertainment), Cocoro (kids/family) and KMTV (K-Pop). DMR's OTT channels are available across multiple platforms and devices such as web, iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, and many leading Smart TVs.

Visit www.digitalmediarights.com for more information. 

[1] Bustle.com


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Monday, October 29, 2018

Academy Award® Winner Mel Gibson, Charlie Hunman, and Eiza Gonzalez Attached to Star in Tim Kirkby's Thriller "Waldo"




ACADEMY AWARD® WINNER MEL GIBSON, CHARLIE HUNNAM AND EIZA GONZÁLEZ ATTACHED TO STAR IN TIM KIRKBY’S THRILLER ‘WALDO’
 

Based on Howard Gould’s novel Last Looks; IMR International will launch foreign sales at the AFM this week

LOS ANGELES (October 29, 2018) – Academy Award® winner Mel Gibson (Braveheart, Hacksaw Ridge), Charlie Hunnam (“Sons of Anarchy,” King Arthur: Legend of the Sword) and Eiza González (Baby Driver, upcoming Welcome to Marwen) are attached to star in Tim Kirkby’s (“Fleabag,” “Brockmire,” “Veep”) Waldo.

The action-packed thriller follows brilliant ex-detective gone rogue: Charlie Waldo, and is based on the novel Last Looks a razor-sharp, exquisitely paced, compelling thriller written by Howard Gould and published by Dutton. The sequel, Below the Line, is set to be released in Summer 2019. Andrew Lazar, Christina Weiss Lurie and Steve Shainberg will produce. IMR International is handling foreign sales, which will launch at the American Film Market (AFM) this week. CAA Media Finance is handling the US rights.

Waldo introduces a new and compelling hero in disgraced former LAPD detective Charlie Waldo, currently living the life of a minimalist in the woods. His quiet life comes to a startling halt when he is roped back into working as a private eye to investigate the murder of an eccentric television star’s wife. Filming is set to commence in Q1 of next year.

Gibson can next be seen in Dragged Across Concrete, which had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival this year. Upcoming films include Farhad Safinia’s The Professor and the Madman and Boss Level directed by Joe Carnahan. He directed the lauded feature, Hacksaw Ridge starring Andrew Garfield, and is next set to direct WWII drama Destroyer.

For seven seasons, Hunnam starred as ‘Jax Teller’ in FX’s “Sons of Anarchy,” the highest rated drama in the network’s history. Since wrapping “Sons,” Hunnam starred in Guy Ritchie’s Knights of the Round Table: King Arthur; James Gray’s Lost City of Z; and Papillon for Michael Noer. He will next be seen in JC Chandor’s Triple Frontier, Justin Kurzel’s The True History of the Kelly Gang and Max Winkler’s Jungleland.

González is best known for her role alongside Ansel Elgort in Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver, and can next be seen in Robert Zemeckis’ Welcome to Marwen, alongside Steve Carell, Robert Rodriguez’s Alita: Battle Angel, and Bloodshot alongside Vin Diesel.

Gibson is represented by CAA; Hunnam is represented by CAA and Brillstein Entertainment Partners; and González is represented by CAA and Management 360.

IMR’s slate also includes: Justin Kurzel’s Ruin, starring Margot Robbie and Matthias Schoenaerts; What is Life Worth starring Michael Keaton; Olivier Assayas’ Wasp Network starring Penélope Cruz, Pedro Pascal, Gael García Bernal and Edgar Ramírez; and John Michael McDonough’s The Forgiven.



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From Palme d'or Winner Hirokazu Kore-Eda Comes "THE THIRD MURDER", a Gripping Legal Thriller on BD/DVD on 11/13




"Insistent, gripping." -- Manohla Dargis, The New York Times


"Hauntingly beautiful." -- Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal


"A crime drama like no other." -- Bilge Ebiri, The Village Voice


FROM THE DIRECTOR OF SHOPLIFTERS AND AFTER THE STORM, Palme d'Or winner Hirokazu Kore-Eda, COMES THIS gripping legal thriller, WINNER OF SIX JAPANESE ACADEMY AWARDS


THE THIRD MURDER


Street Date: November 13, 2018
DVD SRP: $24.95

Film Movement's DVD Release of the Acclaimed New York Times Critic's Pick Includes a "Making of" Featurette and "A Gentle Night"
Winner of the Palme d'Or at Cannes in 2017 for "Best Short Film"

WATCH THE OFFICIAL TRAILER


Following its critically-acclaimed 2018 theatrical release, Film Movement bringsKore-eda's THE THIRD MURDER to home audiences with a loaded DVD being released just prior to the theatrical release of Shoplifters, winner of the prestigious Palme d'Or winner at Cannes in 2018.

In this compelling, slow-burning thriller, high-powered attorney Shigemori (Masaharu Fukuyama) takes on the defense of murder-robbery suspect Misumi (Kōji Yakusho), though he does so with reluctance, knowing that the man already provided a full confession and had been previously convicted of murder thirty years earlier.

But as Shigemori digs deeper into the evidence and hears Misumi's own conflicting testimony, the once confident lawyer begins to doubt whether his client could be the murderer after all. A striking departure in genre and tone from Kore-eda's typical family-oriented dramas, THE THIRD MURDER is a gripping and morally complex crime procedural that incisively explores the meaning of truth and innocence.


BONUS FEATURES
Bonus Short Film - A Gentle Night(Directed by Qiu Yang | China | 15 minutes) In a nameless Chinese city, a mother with her daughter missing, refuses to go gentle into this good night. Winner of the "Best Short Film" Palme d'Or at Cannes Film Festival in 2017.
Making-of featurette
Message from the Cast

PROGRAM INFORMATION
Type: DVD
Running Time: 124 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen
Audio: 5.1 Surround Sound/Stereo 2.0
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles

About Film Movement
Founded in 2002 as one of the first-ever subscription film services with its DVD-of-the-Month club, Film Movement is now a North American distributor of award-winning independent and foreign films based in New York City. It has released more than 250 feature films and shorts culled from prestigious film festivals worldwide.  Film Movement's theatrical releases include American independent films, documentaries, and foreign art house titles. Its catalog includes titles by directors such as Hirokazu Kore-eda, Maren Ade, Jessica Hausner, Andrei Konchalovsky, Andrzej Wajda, Diane Kurys, Ciro Guerra and Melanie Laurent. In 2015, Film Movement launched its reissue label Film Movement Classics, featuring new restorations released theatrically as well as on Blu-ray and DVD, including films by such noted directors as Eric Rohmer, Peter Greenaway, Bille August, Marleen Gorris, Takeshi Kitano, Arturo Ripstein, Sergio Corbucci and Ettore Scola. For more information, please visit www.filmmovement.com.


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"Halloween" (1978) Blooper: Palm Trees In Illinois (video)




"Halloween" takes place in Haddonfield, Illinois... 

...but was filmed in southern California.

The trees are noticeably green.
The film crew scattered dead leaves everywhere to simulate autumn.
The leaves were then swept up and reused for the next shot.

But perhaps the biggest clue that this is California and not Illinois...
...are the palm trees. 


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 28, 2018

John Wayne's Coolest Scenes #7: Hold-Up, "The Shootist" (1976) (video)




Duke plays J.B. Books...

...an aging gunfighter with a terminal disease.

Books doesn't suffer fools.

So when one tries to hold him up, it's the fool who suffers. 


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 27, 2018

Magic Door Trick At The End Of "The Birds" (Hitchcock, 1963) (video)




Mitch and his mother help the traumatized Melanie to the front door.

The foyer is dark.  Mitch opens the door, illuminating the three figures.

Except...there's no door.

Rod Taylor mimes opening a door.  The lighting does the rest.

And that's the magic front door trick.


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



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Friday, October 26, 2018

Michael Keaton and Seth Rogen To Star In "KING OF THE JUNGLE", IMR International To Sell At AFM




SETH ROGEN AND MICHAEL KEATON TO STAR IN "KING OF THE JUNGLE"

IMR International to Introduce the True-Life Tale to Buyers at AFM


LOS ANGELES, CA (October 26, 2018) –– Seth Rogen (This is the End, The Disaster Artist) and Academy Award® nominee Michael Keaton (Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), Spotlight) will star in King of the Jungle, a comedy to be directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (I Love You Phillip Morris) from a script by Golden Globe® and Emmy® Award winners Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski.

The film is based on a true story first published in Condé Nast’s Wired magazine by Joshua Davis. The film is from Condé Nast Entertainment, Zaftig Films, MadRiver Pictures and Endurance Media, who have come on board to co-finance, and Epic Entertainment.  IMR International will introduce King of the Jungle to foreign buyers at the AFM next week.  CAA Media Finance are representing the U.S. rights.

Based on the Wired magazine article “John McAfee’s Last Stand,” the film tells the wild true story of rogue tech magnate John McAfee (Keaton), creator of the McAfee Antivirus software, who cashed-in his fortune, left civilization, and moved to the jungle in Belize.  There, he set-up a Colonel Kurtz-like compound of guns, sex and madness.

In the film, Wired magazine investigator Ari Furman (Rogen) accepts what he thinks is a run-of-the-mill assignment to interview McAfee, but once he arrives in Belize, he finds himself pulled into McAfee’s escalating paranoia, slippery reality, and murder. 

The film will be produced by Jeremy Steckler of Condé Nast Entertainment, Zaftig’s Charlie Gogolak, Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, MadRiver’s Marc Butan, Endurance’s Steve Richards, and Epic’s Joshua Davis.

The multi-hyphenate Rogen starred in and produced the critically acclaimed The Disaster Artist for A24 and Sausage Party for Columbia Pictures.  He is currently in post on the untitled Lionsgate comedy, starring alongside Charlize Theron, and best known for roles in This is the End, Steve Jobs, Superbad, Knocked Up, and Pineapple Express.  He was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award® for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program for “Da Ali G Show.”

Keaton won a Golden Globe® and was nominated for an Academy Award® for his performance in Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), and starred in the Academy Award® winning Spotlight, directed by Tom McCarthy. He can next be seen in Tim Burton’s Dumbo for Disney which will release next year.

Rogen is represented by UTA and Principal Entertainment LA. Keaton is represented by ICM Partners and Ziffren Brittenham.

IMR’s slate also includes: Justin Kurzel’s Ruin, starring Margot Robbie and Matthias Schoenaerts; What is Life Worth starring Michael Keaton; Olivier Assayas’ Wasp Network starring Penélope Cruz, Pedro Pascal, Gael García Bernal and Edgar Ramírez; and John Michael McDonough’s The Forgiven.



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John Wayne's Coolest Scenes #6: First Gunfight, "Red River" (1948) (video)




Cattle man Tom Dunston (Duke) boldly stakes a claim in south Texas. 

His claim is challenged by two gunmen from a local Mexican land baron.

The dispute is settled with lead. 


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 25, 2018

How "Halloween" (1978) Became a Horror Classic (VIDEO ESSAY)




Today marks the 40th anniversary of the day Halloween began to terrorize audiences.

Check out Fandor’s video essay on why this cultural phenomenon has managed to remain terrifying after 40 years.

In 1978, John Carpenter released Halloween, introducing the world to the silent and horrifying serial killer, Michael Myers. Carpenter’s film was a game-changer and kicked off a golden age of slasher horror, paving the way for classics like Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street.


Obviously, Halloween is the go-to film for the titular holiday every year, but its legacy spans far beyond that. From the costumes, to the memes, to the film references, Halloween isn’t simply an old horror movie from the 1970s — it’s a cultural phenomenon.

It has endured a seemingly endless spew of critically panned sequels and reboots (save for David Gordon Green’s 2018 sequel) and has managed to remain terrifying after 40 years.

But why? This video essay chronicles the lasting legacy of Halloween, a film that has simply refused to die.



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Kubrick Uses George C. Scott's Accidental Pratfall In "Dr. Strangelove" (1964) (video)




Stanley Kubrick told George C. Scott to overplay his role in the warm-up rehearsals.

He then filmed those rehearsals and used the more exaggerated takes in the actual film.

Scott resented this...
...but it resulted in one great accidental pratfall...
...in which Scott never breaks character.

Thus creating one of the film's best moments.


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




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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

FISHY STONES -- DVD Review by Porfle




Here's another of the South African apartheid-era films, made for black audiences, which are now being rescued from oblivion, restored, and released by IndiePix Films. 

As with the others I've recently seen, FISHY STONES (1990) is a low-budget affair that falls squarely into the category of films that I enjoy because they show filmmakers with severely limited resources doing their best to come up with something entertaining.

Here, it's director Tonie van der Merwe (UMBANGO, OPERATION HIT SQUAD) again, concocting a modest comedy/drama about two diamond thieves (Popo Gumede and Hector Mathanda of UMBANGO as "Robert" and "Makhosi") who must toss their bag of "fishy stones" out the window during a police chase in hopes of returning later to recover it. 


The diamonds are later discovered by David and Alex, two teenage boys on a camping trip.  When Robert and Makhosi escape from jail and return to find their diamonds missing, they descend upon the hapless young boys with threats and intimidation.  The rest of the film is a back-and-forth conflict between the two good guys and two bad guys with the missing diamonds in the balance.

Tonie van der Merwe's direction is passable and occasionally imaginative as it was in UMBANGO. The film even opens with a nifty car chase between the two diamond thieves and the local cops, with some well-rendered "poor man's process" shots.

The rest of the story takes place almost entirely in economical outdoor locations, mainly the forest where the two boys stumble across the bag of diamonds while camping out.


Diamond thieves Robert and Makhosi are, respectively, the handsome brains of the duo and its extremely low-I.Q. comic relief.  As Makhosi, the manic, gap-toothed Hector Mathanda (who also plays a mad bomber in GONE CRAZY) ably conveys a sort of sublime idiocy that helps turn most of their scenes together into amusing comedy routines even when they're at their most desperate.

While spying on David and Alex's camp, it's funny to listen to the two crooks argue about who's going to watch which boy (Makhosi claims that since he has smaller eyes, he can see the skinny boy better and thus Robert should keep watch on the fat one). 

They also fight over whose diamonds they are ("My diamonds! Mine!" the childish, intellectually-challenged Makhosi keeps insisting), finally turning on each other and wrestling for their only gun.


After the action of the first act, FISHY STONES settles into a leisurely pace that doesn't generate all that much suspense but does keep us interested in how things will eventually turn out. 

Some will find the long stretches of dialogue and meandering bits of business boring, with David and Alex lying around their camp hashing over what they're going to do with the diamonds (most likely they'll turn them in to the police) as Robert and Makhosi argue endlessly and get on each other's nerves while lurking in the bushes.

As for me, I managed to settle into FISHY STONES' modest groove and enjoy it as a likably low-key and ultimately harmless adventure that goes down easy. 


TECH SPECS

Actors: Popo Gumede, Hector Mathanda, Mandla Ngoya
Format: Color, NTSC
Language: Zulu w/ English Subtitles
Region: All Regions
Number of discs: 1
Rated: NR
Studio: Indiepix Films
Extras: Trailer



indiepix.com
gravelroadafrica.com
retroafrika.com



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John Wayne's Coolest Scenes #5: Axe Handle, "The Sons of Katie Elder" (1965) (video)




Curly (George Kennedy) strong-arms a mortician (John Doucette)…

...for information about John Elder (Wayne).

Duke returns unexpectedly, and...


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



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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

GONE CRAZY -- DVD Review by Porfle




Talk about obscure--I couldn't find any info about GONE CRAZY online, it isn't on IMDb, and even the press release from IndiePix Films lists its year as "1980s." (Amazon says "1980" and the DVD cover says "1983.") 

The castmembers who actually appear on IMDb have no credit in their filmographies that resembles it.  That alone gives this enigmatic effort a bit of lost-film mystique which adds to its interest.

It's an interest this movie can use, being a rather dull and unremarkable affair.  What makes it noteworthy is that it's part of a roster of South African films made during apartheid and shown to black audiences, films which have succumbed to neglect over the years but are now being digitally restored and released to modern-day audiences as part of IndiePix Films' "Retro Afrika Collection."


The story begins when a disgruntled former city employee named Vusi firebombs the mayor's house, then breaks into a scientific facility and steals a new "super bomb" with which he plans to blow up the nearby dam where he used to work, and flood the town in retaliation for having lost his job. 

The mayor calls in the town's chief inspector while a lady scientist, Professor Gumbi, hires a private investigator.  The two end up working together to track down Vusi and find the bomb before it can destroy the town and its inhabitants.  Vusi, meanwhile, kidnaps Professor Gumbi and leaves her tied up atop the dam as the minutes tick down to detonation.

This is very basic stuff--blandly directed, languidly paced, and repetitive (the same exposition and plot points get rehashed over and over while the good guys try to decide their next move).  Most of it is filmed in cramped indoor sets until finally, in the third act, a terrific found location is used as the town's dam.


It's here, late in the film, that things finally pick up and the good guys go into action to foil Vusi's twisted plot.  Director Tony Cunningham manages to generate some suspense at last, and the cast, particularly those portraying Vusi and Professor Gumbi, do their best to sell it.  

Visually, GONE CRAZY is sort of a spiritual cousin to those threadbare shot-on-video titles that started coming out in the 80s and 90s when anybody with a video camera could make movies (the works of J.R. Bookwalter come to mind), although being shot on actual film makes a big difference.  The print used here has been restored quite nicely. 

While many viewers may rightly avoid a film of this nature, I derive a good deal of fun and pleasure from watching such an effort in which the filmmakers have severely limited resources with which they do their best to turn out passable entertainment. 

In its own way, GONE CRAZY is sort of the cinematic equivalent of "primitive art"--earnestly done and, if watched in the right frame of mind, somewhat endearing.


TECH SPECS
Actors: Pepsi Mabizela, Fikile Majozi, Roy Dlamini
Format: Color, NTSC, 3:2, Stereo
Language: Zulu
Subtitles: English
Number of discs: 1
Rated: NR
Studio: Indiepix Films
Run Time: 75 minutes
Extras: Trailer




indiepix.com
gravelroadafrica.com
retroafrika.com


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George Falls Flat On His Face In The Beatles' "A Hard Day's Night" (1964) (video)




The Beatles' first movie opens with a typical scene...

...of the boys being chased by a mob of fans.

While most of them manage to stay on their feet throughout the scene...
...one of the girls takes a rather cringey dive.

But that's nothing compared to George's harrowing header in the opening shot.
He hits the sidewalk hard, and then Ringo trips over him.

Naturally, John gets a hearty laugh out of the whole thing.


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



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Monday, October 22, 2018

UMBANGO -- DVD Review by Porfle




Part of Indiepix Films' "Retro Afrika" collection, 1985's offbeat Western UMBANGO is one of hundreds of South African films produced for black audiences during apartheid, some of which are now being preserved for posterity. 

It's a fascinating novelty, seeing an all-black cast (save for one Caucasian gunfighter referred to as a "gringo") performing in this earnest homage to the classic American Western. 

Described by one reviewer as a "spaghetti western", I would liken it much more to the sort of B-movie oaters that filled double bills back in the 30s and 40s (at 68 minutes it's even the right length for this) and involved upstanding good guys vs. villainous bad guys with the fate of a small frontier town in the balance.


The good guys are ace horseman and gunfighter Jack and his buddy Owen, who dream of staking a claim to some prime real estate nearby and building their own ranch. 

Handsome Jack is in love with pretty young Molly, who owns her own small ranch.  Theirs is a troubled relationship since she loves him but objects to any show of physical violence even when circumstances force Jack to draw his gun in self-defense.

One of those circumstances is KK, a big, burly, ill-tempered cuss whose brother George now sits in prison because of Jack and Owen.  KK's first order of business after taking over the town is to start a gang of thugs headed by his unctious toady, Jake. 


Then he begins a program of intimidation aimed at the rest of the town, including its nervous sheriff, and moves inexorably toward a forced showdown with his two sworn enemies.

Labeled as being in "color", the film seems to have faded to a quite pleasing sepia tone, and the print used here is in fine condition.  The town setting looks rather makeshift but it's fun anyway, and all the signs ("Bank", "Sheriff", etc.) are in English even though everyone is speaking Zulu. The attempt to recreate the look and feel of an old-fashioned American Western is endearing.   

The capable cast get into their roles very well, and the direction by Tonie van der Merwe (FISHY STONES, OPERATION HIT SQUAD) ranges from amusingly amateurish to surprisingly stylish at times, with a lean, uncluttered storyline that moves along nicely toward the final gun battle between the forces of good and evil on the town's main street.


While this proves a satisfying resolution, the film is no more violent or complicated than an episode of a typical Western TV series from the 50s and 60s.  As such, it's a nostalgic throwback to such times for those who enjoy this kind of entertainment.

And the fact that this traditional Western town is populated solely by black Africans (not counting the "gringo" gunfighter) in roles usually played by white actors gives UMBANGO an incongruously fantastic touch which, for me, only added to this novel film's unusual sense of discovery and fun. 


www.indiepixfilms.com

Tech Specs

Actors: Popo Gumede, Hector Mathanda, Kay Magubane
Format: Color, NTSC
Language: Zulu with English subtitles
Number of discs: 1
Rated: NR 
Studio: Indiepix Films
3:2, Color, Stereo
DVD Release Date: October 23, 2018
Run Time: 68 minutes
Extras: Trailer





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Dermot Mulroney Takes On "TRICK" from "My Bloody Valentine" Director Patrick Lussier




Horror Master Patrick Lussier to "TRICK" Us Anew

Dermot Mulroney to Take Lead in New Horror 

Los Angeles, CA (October 22, 2018) - Ellen Wander, CEO of Film Bridge International (Winnie Mandela, Misconduct, Marshall, and Spinning Man) and Gabriela Revilla Lugo of Revek Entertainment (The Tribes of Palos Verdes, The Last Weekend in May, Gone: VR 360) announce the upcoming feature Trick,  a horror thriller to be directed by genre master Patrick Lussier (My Bloody Valentine, Drive Angry, Terminator: Genisys) and written by Todd Farmer, alongside Lussier.

The story centers on an elusive serial killer, who descends upon a small town annually, bringing terror and death.  He is responsible for gruesome murders year after year, each in different jurisdictions and seemingly unrelated.  No one believes this could be the same killer.  Detective Denver has faced Trick once before - he shot and killed him.  Or so everyone keeps telling him.  However, Denver knows Trick is out there and he's coming back for revenge.

"After much discussion with Director Lussier, Dermot was the only choice for this role and we are ecstatic that he was able to take on the project." stated Wander.

Dermot Mulroney (The Family Stone, The Wedding Date) plays Detective Mike Denver. Denver puts his works before anything else in life, including his own marriage but his no-nonsense attitude and steadfast approach makes him a perfect fit for a career in law enforcement. Against everyone else's judgement, he is convinced that Trick is not only alive and well, but the one responsible for a series of gruesome murders recurring over several years.

Director Patrick Lussier's lengthy and accomplished résumé includes several of the most successful horror films and television programs in recent years.  His eye for detail was instrumental in editing the numerous Wes Craven films, including the famous Scream franchise, Red Eye, New Nightmare, and Cursed  to name just a few.

Prolific actor Mulroney, has starred in over 70 films in a career  spanning more than 3 decades.  Most recently, he filmed an episode for the highly anticipated Netflix series "Homecoming" starring Julia Roberts, his co star in the box office hit My Best Friend's Wedding.  

Writer Todd Farmer has worked with Patrick Lussier previously.  He has written several genre films including Jason X, My Bloody Valentine and Drive Angry (alongside Lussier).

Ellen S. Wander of Film Bridge International will produce and handle worldwide sales for the film. Gabriela Lugo will also serve as producer. Additionally, Film Bridge International has partnered Chimney's Fredrik Zander to handle post-production.

Dermot Mulroney is repped by WME.  Patrick Lussier is repped by Paradigm Talent Agency.





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John Wayne's Coolest Scenes #4: Cockpit, "The High & The Mighty" (1954) (video)




Veteran pilot Duke is back after a long absence following a plane disaster.

Robert Stack plays an experienced pilot who is losing his nerve.

Their damaged plane is struggling to reach the California coast before having to ditch.

Will they make it?


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 21, 2018

TRAUMA -- Blu-ray Review by Porfle




When it comes to horror movies, how extreme do you want to go?  With TRAUMA (2017, Artsploitation Films), Chilean writer-director Lucio A. Rojas (ZOMBIE DAWN, PERFIDY) answers that question for us in ways that will have some viewers gasping with perverse thrill and others scrambling to put as much distance between them and this movie as humanly possible.

Even the first few minutes had me feeling nasty and kind of disgusted with myself for even watching it.  The film opens with a scene of the most vile torture porn imaginable, easily earning its original NC-17 rating (and this is the unrated director's cut).

It will get, if not worse, then just as bad in different but equally horrific ways.  The first home invasion sequence, in which four young women vacationing in a secluded cabin find the world's sickest psycho (Daniel Antivilo as "Juan") and his son at their front door, almost makes I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE seem like a rom-com.


Other atrocities, including a tour of psycho dad's hellish chamber of horrors and its woefully unfortunate captives, take everything that was vile and repellant about TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE and turn the dial to eleven.

And I'm saying this as someone who has been watching extreme horror movies for several decades.  This wallow in utter depravity and degradation is the kind of stuff that movie theater walkouts are made of.

Okay, there's that.  In addition to the almost invasive nature of TRAUMA's horrific images is something else that director Rojas is really good at, which is building suspense.  This is one of those movies that manages to keep us painfully on edge, not just during the torture scenes but in other ways as well.

The survivors of the initial attack must decide whether or not to make their way to Juan's secluded torture chamber in the woods to help a little girl who has been kidnapped by him.  With a near-useless young local cop as their only help, Andrea (Catalina Martin) and the others embark on a rescue attempt that will lead to prolonged, stomach-churning suspense.


Through it all, there's an underlying message about how violence and hatred are passed down from generation to generation, sickness breeds sickness, etc. which we see in flashbacks to Juan's boyhood.  The dead seriousness of the film adds to its effectiveness--there's no distancing humor or satire to make the horror more palatable.

Nor does it have any amusing technical deficiencies.  Rojas' direction is entirely effective, his script literate.  The cast, especially Catalina Martin and Daniel Antivilo, are fine.  Photography (including some sweeping aerial shots) and other technical elements are above-average.

The Blu-ray from Artsploitation Films is in 2.35:1 widescreen with 5.1 surround sound.  Spanish soundtrack with English subtitles.  A trailer is the sole extra.

Gorehounds who like to get as down, dirty, and just plain twisted as possible with their horror movies should definitely check out TRAUMA as soon as possible. Everyone else--you've been warned.  As for me, I'm a notorious "re-watcher", happily viewing my favorite films time and again over the years, but for this one, once is way more than enough.




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Hokey Hitchcock #2: Gun Hand From "Spellbound" (1945) (video)




Hitchcock's visual inventiveness was often a step ahead...

...of the FX technology needed to convincingly render it.

Sometimes even Hitchcock's most imaginative ideas...

...looked less than convincing in actual execution.

(spoilers)


Suggested by Paul Sanchez

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 20, 2018

THE BEST OF THE THREE STOOGES -- DVD Review by Porfle




If you're already an ardent collector of Stooge-iana, you may have most or all of this material in your collection. But for the Stooge fan who doesn't yet have it all, or for new fans just wanting to get started, Time-Life's new three volume, 13-disc DVD collection THE BEST OF THE THREE STOOGES might be a good bet for big Stooge entertainment.

The eight discs in volumes one and two are from Sony's "The Three Stooges Collection" and contain the first 87 Columbia Stooge shorts--namely, all of the Curlys save for the last ten or so--from 1934 to 1945 (ending with "Micro-Phonies.")  For those who don't own the entire Columbia short subjects output from Sony this would be a good place to start.

For those who do have all the shorts on previous discs as I do, the five discs in volume three contain the really interesting stuff.  Disc one features the Stooges made-for-TV biopic from 2000 co-starring Michael Chiklis as Curly, as well as three vintage Columbia cartoons from the 30s and 40s in which the boys pop up as guest stars.  Since I don't remember ever seeing any Columbia cartoons before, this was of special interest to me as a fan of vintage animated cartoons in general.


Volume 3 disc 2 is a gold mine of Columbia shorts including 14 solo appearances by Shemp, 10 Joe Besser shorts, and 4 Joe Derita shorts.  Shemp either stars or plays back-up to the great Andy Clyde (later to join William Boyd as Hop-a-Long Cassidy's comedy sidekick) and is in his zestful prime here, adding extra zing to even the most pedestrian scripts.

Besser, meanwhile, plays his usual prissy self in some amusing entries which share some gags and even storylines with familiar Stooges comedies.  An acquired taste, perhaps, I find Joe Besser fun and entertaining whether playing third Stooge as he would later or headlining his own shorts as he does quite well here.

After that comes something really interesting, namely seeing a young Joe Derita himself (with hair!) in his very own comedy shorts. I'd never seen him in any non-Stooge films before, so I was surprised to see this relatively bland comedian with little or no discernible comic persona starring in his own series of films.


Unlike Shemp and Besser, Derita goes about the usual Columbia-style slapstick gags and destructive physical comedy by rote, bringing little personality to his onscreen character save for a general passivity and namby-pamby attitude.  With his constantly perplexed expression, he displays little comic timing or finesse, merely playing his character well enough to get the job done.

Be that as it may, I found these shorts fascinating to watch and an indication of his later incarnation as perhaps the least-liked third Stooge.  The Bessers are equally fascinating, albeit much more entertaining.

Stooge regular Christine McIntyre is a most welcome co-star much of the time, and several other Stooges stock players show up here and there.  It's interesting to see how the Columbia shorts without the Stooges lack that extra zippy, cartoonish quality, and it quickly becomes apparent that Columbia's best short subject output was definitely the Three Stooges comedies.


The real treasure in this disc, though, is the collection of Shemp Howard shorts.  Seeing this seasoned, highly-talented, hilarious, and all-around lovable comic superstar at work on his own before being absorbed back into the Three Stooges as Curly's replacement is a real pleasure.

Volume 3 disc 3 contains three of the Stooges' feature films, HAVE ROCKET WILL TRAVEL, THE OUTLAWS IS COMING, and ROCKIN' IN THE ROCKIES. The latter is an earlier one with Curly in which the boys appear sparsely as guest stars in a western-tinged romp.

HAVE ROCKET WILL TRAVEL and THE OUTLAWS IS COMING were among those feature films from Columbia (with Joe Derita as third Stooge) made to cash in on the explosive success that resulted when the Stooge shorts were released to TV and became a sensation.


HAVE ROCKET WILL TRAVEL is an endearing spoof of 50s rocket expedition thrillers ending with a 10-minute party sequence that very much resembles one of their early Columbia shorts.

The raucous THE OUTLAWS IS COMING pokes fun at westerns with co-stars Adam West and Nancy Kovack, and showcases as its trigger-happy outlaws an array of well-known TV kid show hosts known for airing the Stooge comedies to much acclaim.  The disc itself is identical to one contained in an earlier Mill Creek DVD collection.

Besides the Columbia solo shorts, my favorite part of this set is volume 3 disc 4-5's wonderful 9-part documentary series, "Hey Moe! Hey Dad!", hosted by Moe's son Paul.  This densely-packed presentation is several hours long and loaded with choice photos, film and TV clips, home movie footage, audio interview segments, and other treats.

Paul Howard's engaging narration distills the best of the Three Stooges books such as "Moe Howard and the Three Stooges" (Moe's autobiography), "Three Stooges Scrapbook", "Curly: An Illustrated Biography of the Superstooge", and others, some of which were co-written by Moe's daughter, Joan.


Appearing onscreen along with Paul and Joan are other important figures such as Don Lamond, Curly's daughter Marilyn, cartoon voice artist Billy West, and other close relatives and friends.

The documentary series starts at the very beginning with the infant Horwitz brothers, takes us through their showbiz beginnings with top banana Ted Healy, and then recounts the Stooges' rise as stars of the Columbia shorts, their fall when the short subjects department was closed, their re-emergence as global superstars with the success of their comedies on TV and subsequent Columbia feature films, and their continuing posthumous popularity.

The documentary takes its time and examines each phase of their lives in exhaustive detail, and should prove incredibly engaging to anyone who loves the Stooges.  Finally, the set contains an illustrated booklet with Stooge biographies and other info.

THE BEST OF THE THREE STOOGES lives up to its name, at least in part, since the Curly shorts included here are indeed among their best, and the 9-part documentary is surely the best of its kind. That, along with the wonderful solo shorts, cartoons, and features, make this a cornucopia that Stooge fans will want to indulge in.


WATCH THE TRAILER:


AVAILABLE NOW, EXCLUSIVELY AT THREESTOOGESDVDS.COM
DVD SRP: $99.95



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John Wayne's Coolest Scenes #2: Meeting Ella Raines in "Tall In The Saddle" (1944)




Rocklin (John Wayne) gets more than he bargained for...

...when he runs into the town's most colorful citizen, Arly Harolday (Ella Raines).

Will they kill each other or fall in love?


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



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Friday, October 19, 2018

The Wolf Man Is Cured: Lon Chaney In "House Of Dracula" (1945) (video)




In Universal's last "serious" film to feature Lon Chaney as the Wolf Man...

...luckless lycanthrope Lawrence Talbot may finally be cured of his curse.


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 18, 2018

John Wayne's Coolest Scenes #3: "Cahill, U.S. Marshal" (1973) (video)




John Wayne's Coolest Scenes #3: "Cahill, U.S. Marshal" (1973)

While bringing a group of suspects into town, Cahill is confronted by a group of townspeople who want to lynch them.


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




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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Olive Films November Releases: "Mr. Capra Goes To War" and "The 7th Day"



Olive Films is proud to announce the following November 2018​ releases:

Mr. Capra Goes To War: Frank Capra’s World War II Documentaries

The 7th Day


MR. CAPRA GOES TO WAR

FIRST TIME ON
BLU-RAY

US+CANADA
PREBOOK:        10/23/18
STREET:           11/6/18

MR. CAPRA GOES TO WAR   DVD           
CAT:                 OF1418
UPC:       887090141819
SRP:                 $24.95

MR. CAPRA GOES TO WAR      BD          
CAT:                 OF1419
UPC:       887090141918
SRP:                 $29.95
MR. CAPRA GOES TO WAR:
FRANK CAPRA’S WORLD WAR II DOCUMENTARIES
Directed or Produced by
FRANK CAPRA (A Hole in the Head, It’s A Wonderful Life, Meet John Doe)
YEAR: 1942 – 1945
GENRE: DOCUMENTARY
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH (with optional English subtitles)
LABEL: OLIVE FILMS
TOTAL RUNNING TIME: 310 min
RATING: N/R
VIDEO: 1.33:1 and 1.78:1 Aspect Ratios; B&W and COLOR
AUDIO: MONO

SPECIAL FEATURES
 
“Frank Capra: Why We Fight,” an analysis of Frank Capra’s war documentaries by Joseph McBride, film historian and author of the biography “Frank Capra: The Catastrophe of Success”
Introductions to each of the five Capra war documentaries by Joseph McBride

Director Frank Capra, known to millions as the man behind the beloved classics It’s a Wonderful Life, It Happened One Night, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and Meet John Doe, also used his talents in support of the war effort by directing, producing and acting as an advisor on a series of World War II propaganda films. Depicting the ravages of combat, the lives of soldiers engaged in battle, as well as those left behind on the home front, five of the films that Capra was involved in bringing to the screen are represented in this special edition presented in cooperation with the National Archives.

Tunisian Victory takes us behind Allied troop lines and documents American and British forces working together to free North Africa from the grip of the Nazi stranglehold. Capra was assisted by film editor Hugh Stewart (49th Parallel) and directors Roy Boulting (The Outsider) and John Huston (The Maltese Falcon, Let There Be Light), in this film that features the voice talents of Burgess Meredith (Story of G.I. Joe, Rocky), Bernard Miles (In Which We Serve) and Leo Genn (Moby Dick), and a powerful film score attributed to Dimitri Tiomkin (High Noon) and William Alwyn (The Fallen Idol).

Prelude to War, the first in Capra's Why We Fight series of propaganda films, is a rallying cry for patriots to join the fight against the Axis powers and the tyranny of Nazism. A host of musical talent contributed to the score, including Alfred Newman (How the West Was Won), winner of nine Academy Awards®, and David Raksin (Laura).

The Battle of Russia, another of Capra’s Why We Fight films, is the longest and most ambitious of the series. Presented in two parts, the film focuses on the Nazi conquest of the Balkans in an attempt to capture Russia. Capra would share directing credit with Russian-born Anatole Litvak (Sorry, Wrong Number) in a film which is aided immeasurably by Walter Huston’s (The Treasure of the Sierra Madre) narration.

The Negro Soldier, produced by Capra and directed by Stuart Heisler (The Glass Key), was used as an enlistment tool to encourage African-American men and women to join the armed forces. The film incorporates footage of Olympic athlete Jesse Owens at the 1936 Berlin Games, highlighting and contrasting the freedom-loving citizens of the United States with Germany’s oppressive and ever-growing Nazi party.

Your Job in Germany, directed by Capra and written by Theodor S. Geisel (better known as Dr. Seuss), is a short form film shown to soldiers who would be serving “occupation duty” in Germany in 1945.



 THE 7TH DAY

FIRST TIME ON
BLU-RAY

US+CANADA
PREBOOK:        10/23/18
STREET:           11/6/18

THE 7TH DAY    DVD     
CAT:                 OF1420
UPC:       887090142014
SRP:                 $24.95

THE 7TH DAY    BD       
CAT:                 OF1421
UPC:       887090142113
SRP:                 $29.95
THE 7TH DAY
El 7º Día

JUAN DIEGO
(Paco’s Men, Summer Rain, Painless)
VICTORIA ABRIL
(The Moon in the Gutter, High Heels, Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!)
JOSÉ LUIS GÓMEZ
(Broken Embraces, The Skin I Live In, Goya’s Ghosts)
JOSÉ GARCIA
(The Take, The Ax, Now You See Me)
YOHANA COBO
(Volver, Angel of Death, Life Marks)

Directed by
CARLOS SAURA
(Cría Cuervos, ¡Ay, Carmela!, Goya in Bordeaux)

With The 7th Day (El 7º Día), Carlos Saura, the director behind the Academy Award® nominated films in the Best Foreign Language Film category – Mama Turns 100 (1980), Carmen (1984) and Tango (1999) – brings to the screen a riveting story of love and revenge.

YEAR: 2004
GENRE: DRAMA
LANGUAGE: SPANISH (with optional English subtitles)
LABEL: OLIVE FILMS
TOTAL RUNNING TIME: 100 min
RATING: N/A
VIDEO: 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio; COLOR
AUDIO: STEREO


From master filmmaker Carlos Saura (Cría Cuervos) comes a story of love, betrayal and revenge. Set in the Spanish village of Extremadura, and based on a true account, The 7th Day (El 7º Día) is a tale of warring families and bloodshed that would stain the region.

The festering hatred between the Jiménez and Fuentes households, born out of a broken marriage vow, will unleash a vengeful wrath that engulfs an entire village, leaving no one unscathed. The 7th Day features riveting performances from a cast that includes Victoria Abril (High Heels), José Garcia (Now You See Me), Juan Diego (All is Silence), José Luis Gómez (Broken Embraces), Yohana Cobo (Volver), Oriol Vila (Blancanieves), Eulàlia Ramon (Girl Gets Girl), Juan Sanz (One Word from You) and Carlos Hipólito (Crazy Loves).

The 7th Day is directed by Carlos Saura, written by Ray Loriga (Live Flesh), photographed by François Lartigue (Black Really Suits You), edited by Julia Juaniz (Goya in Bordeaux), with music composed by Roque Baños (Don’t Breathe).



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Lon Chaney Werewolf Transformation: "La Casa Del Terror" (Mexican, 1959) (video)




In this Mexican chiller, Lon Chaney plays a mummy...

...who, after being revived, turns into a werewolf!


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



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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

DRAGNET: COLLECTOR'S EDITION -- Blu-ray Review by Porfle




I've heard several people over the years say that they liked, or even loved, the 1987 feature comedy adaptation of the classic TV cop series "Dragnet" starring Dan Ackroyd and Tom Hanks. To those people I would recommend Shout! Factory's new Blu-ray release DRAGNET: COLLECTOR'S EDITION, which features a new 4K HD scan and an assortment of bonus features.

The film certainly is lively and full of blustery comedic action that people not all that familiar with the TV show can enjoy without a lot of bothersome comparisons to it.

Basically it's the story of a very straight-laced, by-the-book cop (Dan Ackroyd as Sgt. Joe Friday) and his flighty, fun-loving, all-rules-barred new partner "Pep" Streebek (Tom Hanks) having to work together--while constantly getting on each other's nerves--to stop a growing organization of deranged criminals bent on citywide chaos.


For these viewers the film offers a wealth of one-liners and raucous situations as Friday and Streebek must overcome their "odd couple" differences and eventually develop a grudging mutual respect.  The investigation into the crime group known as "P.A.G.A.N." (People Against Goodness And Normalcy) also yields wild car chases, lots of stunts, gorgeous babes, some romantic schmaltz, and a constant barrage of generic action-movie stuff to keep us occupied.

That said, as a longtime devoted fan of the actual TV series (both in its 1950s and 1960s incarnations), I find the movie as a whole to be consistently problematic.  (That's the first time I've ever used that word!)

As a parody of the series, the movie is surprisingly unsimilar to it despite the usual references to "just the facts, ma'am" and other tropes ("This is the city...I work here, I carry a badge", "The story you are about to see is true", etc.) and Friday's unyielding adherence to the rules and loyalty to strict civil order in general.


Ackroyd is actually playing the original Joe Friday's nephew, but his character is meant to be a carbon copy of his late uncle.  It's troubling, then, that he is so far off base in capturing Jack Webb's intonations and body language, instead doing a sort of generic stiff-backed type with clipped speech and no sense of humor.

The more human and even, at times, casual aspects of Webb's portrayal are lost in Ackroyd's robotic interpretation. It often seems as though he's doing more of a take-off on Robert Stack's Elliot Ness from "The Untouchables" than Webb's more haggard, world-weary cop.  And while the old Joe might occasionally hit a bad guy with a long, rapid-fire verbal scolding, this one tends to speechify every other time he opens his mouth.  

As for Hanks, still at the age where he looked like a big, goofy kid, he plays a new character whose main trait is a childlike disregard for propriety and is designed simply to clash with Joe Friday's dogged conservatism in comic ways.  Mostly it works, although the two are at such odds that we miss the teamwork and comradery of Friday and his loyal partners Frank Smith (Ben Alexander) and Bill Gannon (Harry Morgan) from the TV series.


Speaking of Morgan, he plays the same character as before, now promoted to captain.  His devotion to his late partner doesn't carry over to the nephew, hence Captain Gannon spends much of the film bellowing at Friday and threatening to take away his badge (which he eventually does at the insistence of shrewish police commissioner Elizabeth Ashley).

The plot itself is a convoluted affair that bears little resemblance to the usual "Dragnet" investigations.  Friday's traditional "just the facts, ma'am" questioning of a civilian witness is represented by an unfunny exchange in which venerable comic actress Kathleen Freeman must portray a grotesquely foul-mouthed old lady who even has Streebek shaking his head along with Friday.

Dabney Coleman plays softcore sex magazine magnate Jerry Caesar, giving the film an excuse to be fully stocked with bikini babes, and Jack O'Halloran, the big, dumb member of the evil Kryptonian trio in SUPERMAN II, plays a big, dumb P.A.G.A.N. henchman who menaces the good guys.


Alexandra Paul is the button-cute Connie, a kidnapped virgin meant as a sacrifice in the bad guys' big pagan ritual but is rescued by the good guys and eventually develops romantic feelings for fellow virgin Friday. (Again, Jack Webb's Friday was a low-key sort of guy but he was never portrayed as either nerdy or virginal.)  The most surprising bit of casting is Christopher Plummer as a pious TV evangelist who may have a darker side.

But as I said before, all of these misgivings stem from my affection for the TV show and desire to see a more faithful parody of it.  As for everyone else, this "Dragnet" spoof may be a perfectly adequate and perhaps even gutbusting comedy romp.  If so, DRAGNET: COLLECTOR'S EDITION should prove an ideal way to enjoy it. 

Special Features:
NEW "A Quiet Evening in the Company of Connie Swail": An Interview With Co-Star Alexandra Paul
NEW Audio Commentary with Pop Culture Historian Russell Dyball
"Just the Facts!": A Promotional Look at Dragnet with Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks
Original Theatrical Trailers & Promos
Photo Gallery 


Buy it from Shout! Factory



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