Currently Listening : Paul Simon STILL CRAZY AFTER ALL THESE YEARS
I love literature and films that thrum with the heartbeat of magical realism.
Whether the fiction of Ben Okri or Gabriel Garcia Marquez or Percival Everett. Or the films of Bunuel or Kalatozov.
Rodrigo Aragao’s THE BLACK FOREST is a film that thrums with the heartbeat of Magical Realism.
I caught this today, on a whim, when browsing Amazon Prime. I added it to my watchlist, but almost did not watch it today.
The loss would have been mine, and it would have been monumental.
I always love those films I discover and know… know.. I am in the presence of genius. THE BLACK FOREST is such a film, one that I finished, thinking masterpiece, and that is going on my shelf, in some manner or form. It is a film to return to often and with awe.
It reminds me of the first time discovering Orson Welles and Carol Reed’s THE THIRD MAN or David Lean’s GREAT EXPECTATIONS or LAWRENCE OF ARABIA. Or the first time I saw Richard Donner’s SUPERMAN. THE first time discovering Sam Raimi’s EVIL DEAD, or John Woo’s THE KILLER or Tsukamoto’s TETSUO: THE IRON MAN or Mambety’s HYENAS, Depalma OBSESSION or Fulci’s ONE ON TOP THE OTHER or Peckinpah’s PAT GARETT AND BILLY THE KID or the Hughes Brothers MENACE II SOCIETY. They were trans-formative experiences that instilled in me a love of cinema and Directors and Cinematographers.
Most recently IT LIVES hit me that way, and A GIRL WALKS HOME AT MIDNIGHT and III: THE RITUAL and Rahi Anil Barve’s TUMBBAD, and now THE BLACK FOREST.
It starts with a beautiful floating shot, and begins like a dream or a fable, and goes places… unexpected.
I love when a movie leaves me with my jaw… dropped.
The less you know about this film, the better, just go in, and take the ride into… a dark fable.
This film has intriguing visuals, Victor Salva creating another memorable movie boogie man in the Axe-Men, and the syncopated way they move. However the movie gradually loses steam to a forgettable ending. Worth a look, but not a keeper.
DISCARNATE is another movie, where the monster/monster design is unfortunately better than the movie it is in.
The movie is ok, worth a look, but I feel the creature is the most interesting thing, and the surrounding actors and plot, while talented, have the definite feel of very rote and not particularly engaging. When not on the monster effects, it all seems a bit by the numbers.
QUEEN OF SPADES – I have praised this movie before. A lot of other movies do the “kids daring each other to summon up things that go bump in the night” very few do it as competently, or intriguingly, or captivatingly as this film. Most of the time, it is just a bunch of stupid choices made by stupid people, followed by even more “lacking common sense” responses.
Yes we are entering the world of the fantastic, but even in that fantastic world, the responses have to be responses that we feel we would or could make in such fantastic situations.
And when the choices are even more fantastic than the premise, that is when suspension of disbelief breaks down, and we are done with the movie.
That is the problem with the vast number of horror movies. Not so here. You feel the path the characters are on, and the choices being made, are true to the constraints of the world and situation created. Huge fan of this movie. It’s a solid B/B+ of a movie. If you are a fan of LIGHTS OUT the short and feature (while this film isn’t to that level, it is not far off), give this one a try.
HELL HOUSE LLC- This has a bit of “people behaving not the way a rational person would behave in such a situation” vibe, it feels to me. However the movie keeps it moving, and slightly mollifies the protagonists stupid actions, by painting him into a corner, and when you feel you are in a corner, stupid decisions tend to trump rational ones.
Besides that, the movie is just well constructed, leading to the forewarned ending. Not a great movie, but a very good one. And one I can re-watch. One of the best Scare House movies (WAY better than the HOUSES OF OCTOBER movies)
BAD BEN series – I can not even tell you how many BAD BEN movies there are. IMDB list at least six, however there may be some tangentially connected films as well. I’ve seen at least 4 of the BAD BEN movies proper, and starting with the 1st (LEAVING DC) I have been a fan.
Just a great series that has fun with the haunted house and found footage tropes.
It is not Shakespeare, does not take itself too seriously (well the first one is the most sinister and ‘serious’ of them all), but isn’t just played for laughs, it is told straight forward, but like SCREAM the protagonist is aware of the movie tropes, so it is a bit “inside baseball” fun to it. But it is fun, and is better than most horror movies out there that trod similar ground, and that have stupid, unlikable 20-something protagonists.
Ben is a character you definitely like, and root for during his misadventures.
HEX– I enjoyed this film. Dire, and complicated, and horrible, and beautiful, and an ode to hatreds and conflicts… and the emptiness and wastefulness of those hatreds and conflicts. It is haunting, in the best and worst ways. Not a big film, or a great film, it is a small intimate film, yet there is something… great in it. Not as beautiful as THE WITCH but it, like that film, stays with you long after you see it.
With a title like THE SHE-CREATURE and being from the schlock days of 1956, especially with the poster art, you wouldn’t expect much from this film. But what people forget is even though the special and creature effects were in their infancy and it shows (that poster is everything that is wrong with this movie, selling the monster rather than the mystery), the acting and direction is actually very strong in a lot of these films.
And THE SHE-CREATURE is an example of real actors (past their prime in some cases, and in roles arguably beneath them, but still delivering that star power), beautiful direction and cinematography and an intriguing premise that includes (for 1956 and arguably even today) controversial concepts of hypnotism, past life regression, spiritualism, and a palpable racial memory that lives on in our very genes, that hold up, despite the limitations of the creature design and affects.
The film would have been better served if it never showed the monster, or showed it only in brief glimpses (ala NIGHT OF THE DEMON) unfortunately selling subtle over schlock, was not an easy sell then or now.
So we have a movie that is actually engrossing, until the outlandish rubber suit monster at its core turns up. But despite the ludicrous of everything associated with the creature design, there is a brutality to the murder scenes that the monster leaves behind, that is ahead of its time.
And bottom-barrel rubber suit or no, the story and performances around it, keeps me intrigued enough to keep watching. That aside I still enjoyed my watch.
In-fact if you were to CGI in a credible monster, over the awful blonde haired sea-monster with boobies rubber suit (Those are words you do not expect to use together in a sentence. 🙂 . Even for the 50s that monster design is deplorably bad, and a bit inexcusable when people were able to do impressive creature designs such as CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON), or edit around those scenes, you would actually have a good little movie. So definitely not a must see by any means, but it is worth a look on a slow movie day. There are things to like about it, even in 2019 going on 2020.
So… 4 solid recommendations, and 3 not quite ready for prime time films reviewed for Halloween. If you have Amazon Prime, all the films are available to view at no cost. Come back tomorrow to see what makes the list on Day 11, of our Halloween countdown.
FIRST WE FEAST – Is the name of the channel, but the show HOT ONES is the “must watch show of the FIRST WE FEAST channel.
It has become one of the most popular Youtube shows, attracting world class stars for a reason. Because beyond the antics of eating extremely hot wings, the host Scott and his crew create really interesting questions, to ask their guests.
They do their homework and they are here not for shock, mud-raking nonsense (which is the purvue of typical “established” media) but they are here to have fun conversations with the stars. And that shows.
More than one star has been impressed by the shows thoughtful and insightful questions. A refreshing breath of air from the typical moronic fox/broadcast or social media or tabloid interviewers they have had to endure.
Like podcast interview shows such as WTF with Marc Maron and WORD BALLOON with John Siuntres, HOT ONES is a show done by people who love the medium, for people who love the medium, and as such… transcends the established interview shows hosted by billion dollar conglomerates.
HOT ONES, along with the JOHN CAMPEA show, is arguably the most consistently watched show in our household. The Henry Rollins, Al Roker, Steve Austin, Idris Elba, and Neil DeGrasse Tyson episodes stand out as great ones. But you can’t go wrong with any of them, including the most recent.
JOHN CAMPEA SHOW– As mentioned above. Love this show. Not because I always agree with him (I don’t. I love SORRY TO BOTHER YOU, and do not like at all MAN OF STEEL) , but because he helps teach his viewers by example, how to have INFORMED opinions. And not form your opinions based on rumors, or misinformation or people with dark agendas of hate.
He reminds us that people do these films with the interest of entertaining us, and like or dislike the film, you shrug your shoulders and move on to something you do like. Attacking these people personally, or asking for someone to lose their job because you don’t like a movie, is like asking for seamstresses or designers to be fired because you do not like the style of shirt you bought. 🙂
Who comes to your job and attacks you personally and asks for you to be fired, because they don’t like something they bought from the company you work for? That’s not the behavior of a rational person. And because someone works in Hollywood, does not change that they are entitled to the same basic human rights and dignity doing their job, as we want doing ours. Whether the job we do is teacher or writer or fire fighter.
The John Campea show helps by example, teach people to have informed opinions, and by example teach people to be respectful of differing opinions.
That makes his show rare, and invaluable.
And if we could do that with politics, or the environment, or the news… well we would be on better ground as a nation and a world.
SCOTTY KILMER – It is just an enjoyable and essential car advice show even for non-car heads. Amusing and Informative.
SHAANTI – I am enamored of this very addictive channel of natural scenes to meditate to, or read to, or fall to sleep to, or just relax to. Great channel.
In this age of streaming everyone is heralding the death of physical media. Here’s true talk guys, for movies you love, and intend to re-watch, streaming is no replacement for physical media.
[Arrrggghhh! get out the pitchforks, he is defending physical media and attacking streaming!!! Arrrgghhh! You Maties! Get the landlubber!! (I have no idea why I went into pirate voice 🙂 ) ]
Streaming by its very nature will always be more compressed and of fluctuating quality, compared to the entire movie preserved on DVD/Bluray.
The streaming companies will compress the movie, than your ISP will compress the movie, than your data usage will affect the movie, so at the end of the day streaming channels can advertise 1080p or 2K or 4k or 8k (and remember this is about real estate, canvass size. Increasing canvass size beyond a point is just about introducing noise, rather than increasing quality, especially on a screen that will fit in a residential living room. It becomes a case of not just diminishing returns, but shrinking ones), the truth is your picture quality as a whole, on average, is going to be inferior to your DVD/Bluray presentation.
Whereas on DVD/Bluray that quality is set in stone. And let us not even add the issue of movies expiring off of digital platforms, or content being edited or changed/censored for political or PR reasons.
So to be clear, I an not a streaming/VOD hater.
I LOVE streaming/ VOD!!
Streaming is great and wonderful and I love it for discovering new movies or shows, or casual viewing, HOWEVER for a movie or tv series you love and want to have and re-watch and preserve, there is NO replacement for physical media.
Now all that said, physical media does take up a lot of space. So these days I want my physical media, since it does take up space, to be physically something attractive and compelling, and something I want to look at. I’m a bit over typical DVDs or Blurays, and plastic flimsy sleeves, or paper slipcovers. These days I only buy a DVD or Bluray if it comes in a Steel Book or a mediabook or a digibook. If it looks like a work of art on my shelves.
But primarily these days I am only looking to purchase Steelbooks. And steelbooks are exactly what the name says, a movie that is sold in a metal container, usually with stunning art. I just recently learned about and purchased my first steelbook, the beautiful steelbook of John carpenter’s THE THING. There is no going back now, I love… STEELBOOKS!
I’ll be doing a post soon on my growing steelbook obsession, but the below are some of the Youtube channels that are feeding my recently discovered Steelbook mania.
CEREAL AT MIDNIGHT
Now lets move into some comic book related channels…
SILVER AGED DAVE– It is always great to see a new video from Silver Aged Dave. Just an informative senior statesmen of the eclectic hobby of comic book collecting.
REGIE COLLECTS – Arguably in about a year he has become one of the best and most popular comic book related shows on Youtube, and there is a reason for that, he breaks the hobby down for newbies, as well as experienced readers/collectors. And more than that, he informs you regarding the business of the hobby; ie insuring your collection, getting your books graded, how to sell and buy books. On top of that he is one of the most personable faces and voices for the hobby, he has fun and it shows, and makes the audience likewise have fun. If you were to pick a spokesman for this hobby, you could not pick a better one than Regie of Regie Collects.
SILVER HAIRED BRONZE AGE BABE – I absolutely adore her channel. So informative, so eclectic in her collection, so enjoyable in her stories. She has great taste in books and a not to be missed show!
And lastly giving love to two absolutely stellar knife channels. A relatively recent passion for me, while I have owned an edc (everyday carry) for many years (being a tech I always have tools with me), and owned a Spyderco long before most people even knew what that was, I was never a…. knife guy, whatever that is.
However in the last couple months been checking out the vibrant knife community channels on Youtube, and I really love them. Super entertaining, super informative, and it appeals a bit to my natural collecting spirit.
I’ve subscribed to about 20 different knife channels in those two months, however two of the standouts this week are two of the elder statesmen of the Youtube Knife Community, and just superb reviewers, ambassadors for this eclectic passion. They are:
LUV THEM KNIVES
Guys if you liked this post, subscribe, give a like and support this blog by using the link below, and purchasing this entry’s items of the day! These are items I recommend, and I think will be of good value as a gift to others or yourself!
Every purchase via the links below helps support this blog and keep the proverbial lights on! AND… You get a great item!!! That is a win/win and is just good Karma.
Technology is moving so quickly I would hold off spending a lot for the latest and greatest Bluray that does 4k etc, but rather just pick up an affordable, all region, beater Bluray player that is backward compatible with 3D discs, and DVDs and 1080p Blurays, and can even handle 4K. Also I don’t like wifi in my appliances or consumer devices. Not every item in your home needs to be able to “phone home”. So for those reasons and the price, if looking for a Bluray player… I recommend this one.
Well that’s all folks. Hope you enjoyed this post!!! Like, subscribe, and hit those links! 🙂
One quick note on Youtube channels.
And this was spurred by a recent knife channel I watch, he made a video about the abusive comments on his channel, which spurred me to think of the below…
The only reason I am on Youtube since about beginning of 2018, is because of streaming platforms such as Roku and their ilk, which took the Youtube content off of the website and onto your big screen/home theater system.
Let me clarify.
I HATE the Youtube comments section. I hate un-moderated comments/social media. I hate the noise that drowns out the signal, and the baying of the mindless mob, that drowns out the measured voice of reason.
So the only reason closing in on 2 years now I have been able to enjoy the mentioned Youtube channels, and am partaking of Youtube (after over a decade of avoiding it like the plague) is because of the rise of streaming and streaming devices, that have moved Youtube off of the website, and onto your big screen tv.
Because of “COMMENTS FREE” Youtube apps courtesy of streaming devices such as Roku and Amazon Fire TV, I can explore these channels without being inundated with some trolls desire to outrage for outrage’s sake. Everyone has their opinion yes, but what you have a right to share… is an informed opinion, anything else is garbage.
And I always felt the lack of moderated comments was a failure of both Youtube as a platform, and the content creators for not taking due diligence to block ignorant/hate speech.
Having a channel of any type, is a little like having a yard sale.
You are inviting people onto your yard to view your wares. It is YOUR responsibility to ensure there are not mounds of dog crap on your lawn, that visitors have to step on or step thru to view the items on your table.
The same with this blog, I get trash comments like any content provider, but I take the (what seems to me) common sense route, of nothing gets posted, no comment, without it being approved.
A lot of youtube channels don’t do that, And unfortunately for years Youtube and the content creators, did not give a damn, and wanted you the visitor to wade through ankle deep crap to view their content.
So thumbs up to streaming platforms that have, in the last couple of years, done it for them, and by so doing helped Youtube become a viable alternative to traditional tv options.
Youtube execs, should kiss the ring finger of streaming platforms such as Roku and Amazon Fire TV, for helping make them mainstream and legitimate. Something Youtube, left to their own poor decision making and lack of moderation, they would never have been.
Ok, enough ranting, the weekend is calling! 🙂
At under $40 it is an easy buy. I love a stylish knife, that flows into a stylish pocket clip. It is a no brainer of a gift for others or for yourself.
THE HOUSE THAT DIRT BUILT by The Heavy
LET THE VULTURES IN by Des Rocs
THE ATTRACTIONS OF YOUTH by Barnes Courtney
THE JOHN CAMPEA SHOW – Hands down currently it is THE BEST Movie Pop-Culture related show I have seen, on any platform. NOT because his opinions will necessarily side or line up with yours, Some will, some will not. (“MAN OF STEEL a great movie”? Uhhh— glad you love it, not a fan at all. Just No. “LUCIFER, the best TV show”… uh, no John, no. Glad you love it, for me it is average police procedural with a twist series. 🙂 )
Yet on the important things, I have never seen another show close to doing what he does for movies and tv and the associated fans. In short teaching people how to love films, have INFORMED opinions, and disagree with respect.
If more parts of our life… from politics, to policy, to gun control,… approached it, the way the Campea show approaches it, i.e. to work toward having INFORMED opinions, and respectful differences of opinion; then we would be a better, smarter, and less bloody society.
His show of 14 Oct 2019 where he reflects on Martin Scorsese’s statement on Marvel Comic Movies is must watch TV/Streaming. 🙂
SCOTTY KILMER – consistently must watch overview on everything car related, revolving mostly on the cost of ownership. Very informative.
LUV THEM KNIVES – Recently jumped into the knife market with both feet, and can not get enough of these Youtube Knife review shows. This is one of the best!
More to come!!!!