Streaming TV Guide: Favorite Youtube Channels & Discoveries of September 2022 – Letters A thru D.

YOUTUBE:

Prolific and talented filmmaker.

 

 

 

 

Nice selection of books to pick up. I can cosign some of them. THE BOOKS OF BLOOD by Clive Barker are a must as is IT by Stephen King.

 

One of the best voices, and some of the best stories on Collecting and Nostalgia on Youtube.

 

Great Channel, filled with great music, it would behoove you to pick up the CDs for.

 

 

This is the premier channel for all Blu-Ray/UHD Boutique Label news. The specific video highlighted above is their interview with the new 2 Man Label DEAF CROCODILE, that has quickly with only 5 releases under their belt (a sixth is on the way) become my most anticipated and sought after label of 2022. Everything they have put out so-far has been a must own for me. 

 

Well guys if you have enjoyed that coverage of MUST WATCH Youtube Streaming Channels for September of 2022 then pay it forward. Please like, subscribe, email/comment and definitely go support this installment’s sponsor by purchasing items at the stuff here!

 

I really want to devote more time to making HEROIC TIMES full time, bringing it to you daily, rather than as other responsibilities allow…  your support of the links will help make that doable.

 

Thanks!

 

Ebay Store!

 

Movie Review of the Day : DACHRA (2018)

There are moments of real directorial flourish here, I was quite with this movie for the first half an hour or so. I was all prepared to anoint this the next remarkable debut. Unfortunately the story quickly shows itself to be a very typical and tired rehash of the “annoying young people go into the woods looking for trouble and finding it” genre.

The supposed twists you see coming 30 minutes into the movie, which makes the film and the performances, especially the screeching, nails on chalkboard and not in a horrific way— just in an annoying way,  performance of the lead, just overlong and overwrought to the point of self parody.

Incredibly disappointing film, which is a shame because as mentioned, there are some moments of wonderful camera work here, and oddly enough it is the mundane moments of the characters driving or walking that the cinematographer lends a sense of innovative beauty and interest to.

Unfortunately the uninteresting story and annoying performances, the Director did not know how to pull them away from self parody, outweigh the brief moments of sedate but striking camera work.

Grade: I can’t even recommend watching this one. Time is too precious for you to waste 2 hours like I did, on a film that proves undeserving of the time. D-

Short Horror Film of the Day : Caleb Slain’s DEMON (2018)

25 minutes is long for a short horror film, but Writer/Director Caleb Slain’s (I love that name) ‘DEMON’ earns every minute of its running time. With really magnetic top notch performances by the three actors, it’s a “what is it”, in the middle of the desert that keeps you engrossed until the end. Beautifully filmed, and stellarly acted.Particularly Kirk Baltz of RESERVOIR DOGS fame, is really magnificent here, bringing a world wearied gravitas to his role that you feel right down to your bones.

 

 

 

Two impressively terrifying short films by MOUNTAIN NORTH PICTURES!

Two impressively terrifying short films by MOUNTAIN NORTH PICTURES.

 

Great horror, effective horror is like great comedy, it is about timing. The unnamed Director (Directors? Appear to be two Swedish gentlemen) behind these two shorts, has it in spades as he effortlessly creates real tension with real payoff moments of terror.

 

MULBERRY MIGHT

and

HOUSEWARMING

 

 

I really hope these filmmakers do more short horror films, they have a definite knack for it. Filmmakers to watch.

Streaming TV Guide – Youtube Edition : Best Short Horror Films of the Day!

Before we go into this week’s recommended short films, here is a refresher on the A+ films that make up the HEROIC TIMES Short Film HALL OF FAME:

 

  • THE THING IN THE APARTMENT – I , to borrow from Stephen King discussing Clive Barker, have seen the future of horror… and his name is John William Ross. A masterpiece of terror.
  • 2AM:THE SMILING MAN -Like David Sandberg”s LIGHTS OUT  there are numerous versions of THE SMILING MAN story out there but except no substitutes and go to the source, Michael Evans 2013 film 2AM:THE SMILING MAN is not only that particular story done better than anyone before or since, it is hands down without argument the short horror film done as well as anyone can do it. A simple premise, executed sublimely. On any given day you can make an argument for it being the best short horror film ever made. Like LIGHTS OUT i got to see it before all the pretenders and poor copies, I got to see it pure, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. It horrified me, this simply premise, simply told… it horrified me. I loved it then, I love it now.
  • LIGHTS OUT – What can I add to the accolades of this film that has not been echoed in every corner, it is a couple minutes of genius, and is arguably the most influential short film ever made, and this labor of love by David F. Sandberg has now given him a big screen career not only turning his short into a money making feature for a major studio but being tasked to do other high profile feature films. David Sandberg now has thousands of filmmakers if not 10s of thousands trying to mirror his Cinderella story. Unfortunately for the majority of them they lack his inventiveness, talent, love and respect for the genre, and more then that his dedication.
  • DON’T MOVE- Magnificent. After the effective but zero budget films of LIGHTS OUT and 2 AM it was great to see a film with big screen special effects, and superior small film creativity

The next three come from Neill Blomkamp’s OAT STUDIOS. While not a fan of his feature films (they have wonderful core ideas, but tend to get lost under poor Hollywood casting and plodding or extraneous backstory), I do find in the short film is where Blomkamp shines.

Sporting cutting edge world class visual effects, great actors and performances, and big screen direction the films of OATS STUDIOS are, 30 minute or less, masterpieces of creativity and speculative fiction, of science fiction mixed with war, mixed with horror, mixed with a cautionary mirror tainted with pressing concerns, both moral and material.

  • RAKE
  • FIREBASE (which I have also titled DREAMS OF THE RIVER GOD), the 2nd film released, is a little over 26 minutes, and set in Vietnam War era Vietnam… combines so many mind-blowing concepts, and creates one of the screens memorable creations, in the character of… The River God. I can see this spawning a lot of spin-off short films, set in this universe.
  • ZYGOTE – simply spectacular

Next is one of the best short Werewolf films ever made

  • LUNA
  • MAMA- Drenchingly horrifying
  • HARBINGER  – Cosmic Horror at its best
  • END OF THE ROAD – END OF THE ROAD skews closest to the traditional WEREWOLF film,and it pays off in a GREAT creature design, and just a pretty memorable and fantastic sequence. A must watch.
  • DEVIL’S NIGHT (MUSEUM, SCHOOL, WAXWORKS)

 

This Week’s Short Film Discoveries and a couple possible additions to the above HALL OF FAME list are:

IGNORE  IT (2022) – As a rule I do not like horror films that put children in jeopardy. I generally find it cheap, lazy, uninspired film-making. There are rare exceptions, MAMA being one, and this film. Exceptional. A+.

DON’T DIE FIRST (2022) – There are not many films that can do what this film does tonally. Left me flabbergasted. In the contender for one of the best short horror films of 2022. A+

FINLEY – Horror Comedy hybrids, generally not my thing. This short film proved to be the rare exception. Really enjoyable. B+/

FOXED – Stop motion Horror Short. Definitely my cup of tea. B+.

TRANSFIGURE – A very timely horror film for the age of social media. Quite entertaining. B+

DINAH- Another really well done short that takes on the dark side of social media and cyber bullying with a supernatural twist. Stumbles a little at the climax with the reveal of the creature. They didn’t have the budget or makeup to pull it off, so it would have been better if they had shown less, that aside, very entertaining film. B+.

TRICK OR TREAT! -Well acted and very entertaining. An impressive new Boogey Man.B_.

SMILING WOMAN 1 thru 6 -Prolific writer/director Alex Magana is a talent to watch, as he puts his own unique spin on the Smiling Man short film, using it as a jumping on point for his own mythology. Overall an excellent run of short films. B+. Also recommended from this director are the films ASMR and THE MIME and DON’T LOOK IN THE MIRROR and BACKWARDS MAN. All four very inventive. You could legitimately populate this list just with the films of Alex Magana. Enjoy his short films while you can, I feel it is only a matter of time before he gets snapped up to do Feature films.

Honorable mentions:

OTHER SIDE OF THE BOX-  What typically separates a great horror film from an ok one, is typically if the actions of the protagonists are not contrived. Most horror films have their protagonists act irrationally to have them stay in or worsen a bad situation. Because generally the script isn’t smart enough to give us a rational reason why they don’t just leave the house, or stay together, or turn the lights on or don’t leave their girlfriend alone. OTHER SIDE OF THE BOX while well photographed and performed, is just an ok film, because the protagonists acts in an irrational way, even for a horror movie. That and they borrow a Dr. Who gimmick to weaker effect. C.

DIRTY LAUNDRY – cute little film about a missing sock. Ok, but relatively forgettable. C.

SINK OR SWIM – No surprises. C–.

KOOKIE – Okay little film about cookies and a cookie jar. C+.

DON’T LOOK IN THE CLOSET – Inventive creature, nicely pulled off. B.

DON’T PLAY WITH GHOSTS –  Ehhh. Pretty bland. D.

LUCID- Seems like a teaser for a short film, rather than a complete short film in and of itself. A little too incomplete for me. C.

JIGSAW- for all the blurb hype, found this one underwhelming. C-.

WAITING ROOM – Starts Interesting but doesn’t ultimately go anywhere. C-.

REFLECTION – Nicely filmed and performed. B

THE ASH : SAFE HAVEN- Is a well done take on an oft tired sub-genre. Young actor does a great job. B+.

That’s it guys. This week’s short film selections. Hopefully you found lots of great viewing thanks to this list. If there is an A+ short horror film you think should be on this list go ahead like, subscribe, email or comment.

SAFE- This shows the creativity of making a short film. Two teenagers who had a hotel room, a smart phone and an idea, cobbled together this pretty good 4 minute short film. Should give inspiration to anyone who really wants to make a film.

Jack Shanks MAN ON A TRAIN- is genuinely creepy. B+.

SAFE TILL SUNSET – favorite line “The world is full of monsters, what’s one more”. B.

Todd Spence’s JOLLY is a must watch Christmas Horror film. B+.

Evan Spark’s DON’T STARE is a fun little horror flick. B.

Starring Lulu Antariksa, Lisa J. Dooley’s THE LONELY HOST is a really well done cautionary tale in the age of AirBnB’s. B+.

 

 

Till next time… be well!

BUY THIS NOT THAT : Criterion vs 88 Films – MATEWAN Edition!

BUY THIS NOT THAT : CRITERION’S (REGION A) MATEWAN vs 88 FILMS (REGION B) MATEWAN

If Region does not matter (which if you have a Region Free player, like you should, region ceases to matter; you become uniquely freed of the tyranny of geographical gatekeepers. That’s the freedom physical media gives you that you will lose, with quite a few other freedoms, in a solely streaming world) than as a smart, savvy, prepared film fan the determination of which of these releases is the best, becomes an examination of the finer details and is the topic we hope to come to some conclusion on in this article.

Now without further ado:

TRANSFER/PICTURE QUALITY:

Sane transfer. No discernible quality difference. Films tie in this category. 1/1.

PACKAGING:

While 88 FILMS gives us a slipcase over the Amaray case, I do feel Criterion’s clear full art Amaray case, remains the best on the market. Superior to the Blue partial art adorned Amaray cases the majority of the field still uses, including in this case 88 films. I do think the sturdy slipcase saves 88 Films an easy loss in this category, So this criteria is a tie. 2/2. Both Criterion and 88 Films are so far batting a 1000.

TYPOGRAPHY, COVER ART and MOVIE BLURB

I broke this off from packaging, as this concentrates on the embellishments on the packaging rather than the quality of the packaging.

1.Okay so looking at the embellishments, let us talk COVER ART.

88 Films the Amaray case art is inferior, however they wisely use the same iconic moment as Criterion for their slipcase artwork.

You would be forgiven for thinking they are using the same image as Criterion, but have just changed the color grading; however that is not the case.

When you really study the two covers you see 88 films has chosen a different frame from that climatic scene, as you can tell by the positioning of the foreground character, and his distance to the opposing party. The 88 films cover is taken with the protagonist having walked 1 or 2 steps closer to bloodshed.

It is a really subtle change to have made to the cover art, not better or worse, but inventive and appreciated. To have this later 88 FILMS release, in the slipcase artwork be advanced 1 or two frames from the previous Criterion cover. A nice thematic and conceptual and referential and chronological touch.

I think Art-wise I might lean a little more toward the Criterion release, with its sepia tones, the majority of the gun in frame, and the protagonist’s face turned a little toward the viewer, but it really is very close. 88 Film’s striking black and white palette, is also vastly appealing. But for the minor differences I point out, sepia tone, gun in frame, face more toward camera, CRITERION by the narrowest margin takes this one.

2. Now going to the typography portion, 88 films again makes changes to the logo that are at once subtle and striking. They keep the same movie font as the Criterion release however they thicken the characters, and make two nice typography improvements of book-ending the title by enlarging the first and last letters, and introducing a competing black/white motif in the letters themselves. And John Sayles’ credit on the film becomes larger and more noticeable.

If 88 films had stopped there, it would have been an easy win for them in terms of typography, however they decide to add a title blurb, IT TAKES MORE THAN GUNS TO KILL A MAN, which just comes off as unnecessary and trite (not to mention untrue, guns kill men just fine, as this film can attest) rather

than what they were seemingly going for of deep and meaningful.

It takes away from the successful tone and improvements of the title masthead. As it is, while the title blurb is insipid, it is not enough to undo the improvements 88 Films have made to the Masthead/Title. So typography by a very narrow margin goes to 88 FILMS.

3. And the last section in this segment, the tie-breaker so to speak to determine who wins this category is “Back of the Cover Blurb”. While I appreciate 88 FILMS adds images to the back cover, Criterion’s lyric back-cover overview of the film is so much better than 88 FILMS largely uninspired write-up. Criterion’’s write up perfectly evokes the complex and nuanced world you are about to enter, 88 film’s description seems to belong to a much more stereotypical and uninteresting film. Back of Cover blurb goes to Criterion; Criterion wins this section. Criterion pulls ahead 3 to 2.

DISC ART

This is not a category I put a lot of weight n, but 88 films clearly has the better disk art, and criterion just uses a good looking but art free sepia toned disk.

Goes to 88 FILMS. 88 FILMS evens it up 3 to 3.

BLU-RAY MENU

The menus for both companies are well laid out and relatively simple, what it really comes down to is music choice. Criterion menu is accompanied by a subtle, laid back instrumental refrain. 88 Film’s menu is accompanied by the harsh, raw, overpowering, but achingly beautiful vocals that play a dramatic, and unexpected part in the film. As someone returning to this film, getting a dose of that music immediately is welcome, however if viewing this film for the first time, that music should really first be experienced as part of the film. Also as much as I love the strident vocals on the 88 Films menu, I can see that looping audio getting abrasive if you are not in the mood or the mindset for it. So both for a 1st time viewer, or if you will have the menu up for an extended period, the Criterion menu is the more palatable. Plus I love Criterion’s fluid pop-up menus. Winner Criterion, and back in the lead at 4 to 3.

SPECIAL FEATURES

  • CRITERION gives us mostly new (at the time) 2019 Features: DIRECTOR’S COMMENTARY (2013 – I love commentaries, and this is, like the film itself, a compelling and rich one), UNION DUES PRODUCING MATEWWAN (26:17), SACRED WORDS (31:28), AN INTERVIEW WITH COMPOSER MASON DARING (18:46), INTERVIEW WITH NORA CHAVOOSHIAN(14:43), THEM THAT WORK JASON BROWN DOCUMENTARY ON THE IMPACT OF MATEWAN (27:57)

     

  • 88 FILMS gives us four new2022 features. Daniel Griffith helmed, Richard Elliott & James Blower produced COMPANY MAN REMEMBERING MATEWAN 2022 KEVIN TIGHE INTERVIEW (10:35) , UNION DUES PRODUCING MATEWAN, INTERVIEW WITH PRODUCER MAGGIE RENZI (19:11) riveting interview, I could not stop listening to her (discusses everything MASTERS OF LIGHT, WHO NEEDS SLEEP, Robber Barons,etc), then GATHERING STORM:COMPOSING MATEWAN, AN INTERVIEW WITH COMPOSER MASON DARING (12:26), and finally FIRE IN THE HOLE:DESIGNING MATEWAN-INTERVIEW WITH NORA CHAVOOSHIAN. These are voice over interviews and not on canera interviews like the Criterion release, which is understandable given the distance issues, and the lingering pandemic issues. But 88 Films does a good job of interspersing the audio interviews with movie clips, snapshots, etc.

Both of the companies do a fantastic job with their features. But with the commentary and documentaries Special feature’s goes to Criterion. It is just more feature rich. Criterion picks up steam with the score now 5 to 3.

The Booklets/Pamphlets/Writings

And final grading criteria, the Booklets.

A.S Hamrah’s writing for Criterion’s MATEWAN pamphlet is an enriching overview of not just this film but the career of Writer/Director John Sayles. In beautiful and impassioned writing A.S Hamrah, much like Sayles’ MATEWAN call us to recollect the missteps of the past to more adequately prepare us to make the wise choices of the present and the future.

His Career is unique in American cinema, no other writer-director who began making his own films post-STAR WARS has managed to achieve as much while staying as true to his ideals.”

Seth Hogan in 88 FILMS booklet delivers a rich recounting on the Reagan Era America into which Sayles’ MATEWAN the film was sired, As well as a deeper understanding into MATEWAN the historical place, and how that place still lives in the American landscape, places always at risk of ruin, and places always in need of filmmaker’s like Sayles… to bring them to light.

Both writings are essential, so this is a Tie. That brings us to a final grade of 6 to 4. Winner… CRITERION. That said if, like myself, you are a huge fan of this film and can afford to get two versions of this film the 88 FILMS release comes recommended, as the four new features are great additions to the story of MATEWAN the film.

Well I hope you enjoyed this post, this was a very detailed deep dive into the pluses and minuses of two releases and was a lot of work but also a lot of fun.

Please like, subscribe, email and comment.