Streaming VOD Movie of the 2nd Week of 2020 : MANDY Shudder Amazon Prime

 

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MANDY (2018)– Finally catching this 2018 released film courtesy of SHUDDER. And I have to say… stunning. A lurid and at times lucid nightmarish primary color tinged, cosmic fueled descent into the Maelstrom; a revenge flick that goes to damnation and beyond. Panos Cosmatos has created a singular vision of the places that wait beyond our reason, places horrid , and awe-inspiring, and unrelenting. And all we must offer up… is everything.

A stunning film by Cosmatos, fueled by a great score by (I have just found out) the late and uber talented Johann Johannsson (composer of one of the best scores of recent memory, SICARIO… he will be missed), and powered by transformative performances by all; but particularly by Nicholas Cage, who takes us into the maelstrom with him, into hearts of darkness.

Nicolas Cage has really been taking some rough roles, brutal roles recently. That will take much out of any actor, and he does it again here, but going further than anyone should have to, into places dark and demanding. And it is so great to see the legendary Bill Duke in a film, he just raises the bar of everything he is in, and does so here. Panos Cosmatos (the son of George Cosmatos who directed one of my favorite films, TOMBSTONE, also an iconic film, with revenge, pushing the wrong man too far, at its core conceit)  with only his second film, the first the equally magical realism imbued BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW, has cemented himself for me, as a director to seek out, and to purchase his films when available.

And Kudos to producers Elijah Wood and Daniel Noah for helping champion these criminally underused (and in one case, seemingly blacklisted) visionaries, and working with them to get their films out to a wider audience again. MANDY is very much a gift, from a filmmaker who we have not heard from since 2010. Also very much looking forward to their collaboration with Richard Stanley.

Final thoughts on MANDY… Hypnotic and an experience, that is… compellingly watchable and re-watchable. It is a rabbit hole, and will suck you in. Highly recommended!

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When you have viewed it courtesy of streaming, ‘tried before you buy’ so to speak, and are as impressed as I am, then I suggest buying on Bluray. However I would hold out until they release a steel-book or digi-book with special features to include commentary. The Bluray on the market now lacks any commentary or really notable special features, which I think is a big misstep, to release a bare-bones disc. These days I do not buy a disc, unless it is loaded with special feature to include a commentary track.

In the age of streaming you really need to step up your game with the special features to make the Bluray worth it. Here’s hoping a full fledged disk will be released soon, this film deserves it.

 

Must watch Streaming VOD film of the first week of 2020 – THE DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS

Must watch Streaming VOD film of the first week of 2020!!

 

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DAY OF THE TRIFFIDSI have often seen this movie come up when looking for something to watch, but have always avoided this film. A film about killer plants, and the ludicrousness of the poster just not really piquing my attention. However, I finally decide to watch it here in 2020, nearly 60 years removed from when it was first released on theaters, and I have to say… allowing for the limitations of the time, regarding effects… it is  surprisingly gripping.

You very much see in it the template for current movies and tv shows, such as BIRDBOX, A QUIET PLACE, etc. Infact the very opening of THE WALKING DEAD and 28 DAYS LATER is borrowed or a homage, to DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS scene of waking up in a vacated and devastated hospital. It is a surprisingly mature take on the end of the world, though it itself being influenced by HG Wells (father of literary Scifi and Cosmic Horror, I add the literary, because you can make a case for there being an oral concept of scifi and cosmic horror going back to the origins of man) game changing WAR OF THE WORLDS. The denouement of DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS owing obviously to WAR OF THE WORLDS, that aside DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS is a very compelling film of the early 1960s.

Grade: B.

View it courtesy of Amazon Prime.

And then if moved to, get the DVD/Bluray here.

 

If you like this post, support today’s deal of the day at the link below:

Deal of the Day!

 

2019 End of the Year Director Overview – Henri-Georges Clouzot

2019 End of the Year Director Overview – Henri-Georges Clouzot

The best available films of and about the great Suspense Director Henri-Georges Clouzot

Product Description

In a squalid South American oil town, four desperate men sign on for a suicide mission to drive trucks loaded with nitroglycerin over a treacherous mountain route. As they ferry their expensive cargo to a faraway oil fire, each bump and jolt tests their courage, their friendship, and their nerves. The Wages of Fear (Le salaire de la peur) is one of the greatest thrillers ever committed to celluloid, a white-knuckle ride from France s legendary master of suspense Henri Georges-Clouzot.

BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES:
Restored high-definition digital transfer with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
Video interviews with assistant director Michel Romanoff and Henri-Georges Clouzot biographer Marc Godin
Interview with Yves Montand from 1988
Henri-Georges Clouzot: The Enlightened Tyrant, a 2004 documentary on the director s career
Censored, an analysis of cuts made to the film for its 1955 U.S. release
PLUS: An booklet featuring an essay by novelist Dennis Lehane

Review

A big, masterly movie…it joyfully scares the living hell out of you as it reveals something about the human condition. –Vincent Canby, The New York Times

https://amzn.to/2SOgfn3

 

Before Psycho, Peeping Tom, and Repulsion, there was Diabolique. This thriller from Henri‑Georges Clouzot (Le corbeau, The Wages of Fear), which shocked audiences in Europe and the U.S., is the story of two women—the fragile wife and the willful mistress of a sadistic school headmaster—who hatch a daring revenge plot. With its unprecedented narrative twists and unforgettably scary images, Diabolique is a heart-grabbing benchmark in horror filmmaking, featuring outstanding performances by Simone Signoret (Casque d’or, Army of Shadows), Vera Clouzot (The Wages of Fear), and Paul Meurisse (Le deuxième souffle, Army of Shadows).


Special features

New digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray editionSelected-scene commentary by French-film scholar Kelley Conway

New video interview with Serge Bromberg, codirector of Henri-Georges Clouzot’s, Inferno

New video interview with horror film expert Kim Newman

New and improved English subtitle translation

PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by film critic Terrence Rafferty

https://amzn.to/2SF4rTM

 

This masterful adaptation of Prévost s 1731 novel Manon Lescaut marks quite a departure for Henri-Georges Clouzot, the French director lauded for his acclaimed thrillers The Wages of Fear and Les Diaboliques.

A classical tragic romance transposed to a World War II setting, Clouzot s film follows the travails of Manon (Cécile Aubry), a village girl accused of collaborating with the Nazis who is rescued from imminent execution by a former French Resistance fighter (Michel Auclair). The couple move to Paris, but their relationship turns stormy as they struggle to survive, resorting to profiteering, prostitution and even murder. Eventually escaping to Palestine, the pair attempt a treacherous desert crossing in search of the happiness which seems to forever elude them…

Clouzot s astute portrayal of doomed young lovers caught in the disarray of post-war France wowed the jury of the 1949 Venice Film Festival, where it won the Golden Lion award. Unjustly overshadowed ever since by the director s suspense films, Manon now returns to screens in glorious High Definition with a selection of elucidating extras.

SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS

 

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation

 

  • Original 1.0 mono audio

 

  • Optional English subtitles

 

  • Bibliothèque de poche: H.G. Clouzot, an archival documentary from 1970 in which Clouzot talks of his love of literature and the relationship between the page and the screen

 

  • Woman in the Dunes, a newly filmed video appreciation by film critic Geoff Andrew

 

  • Image gallery

 

  • Reversible sleeve featuring two artwork options

https://amzn.to/2ZGgT7f

In 1964, Henri-Georges Clouzot, the acclaimed director of thriller masterpieces Les Diaboliques and Wages of Fear, began work on his most ambitious film yet.

Set in a beautiful lake side resort in the Auvergne region of France, L’Enfer (Inferno) was to be a sun scorched elucidation on the dark depths of jealousy starring Romy Schneider as the harassed wife of a controlling hotel manager (Serge Reggiani). However, despite huge expectations, major studio backing and an unlimited budget, after three weeks the production collapsed under the weight of arguments, technical complications and illness.

In this compelling, award-winning documentary Serge Bromberg and Ruxandra Medrea present Inferno’s incredible expressionistic original rushes, screen tests, and on-location footage, whilst also reconstructing Clouzot’s original vision, and shedding light on the ill-fated endeavor through interviews, dramatizations of unfilmed scenes, and Clouzot’s own notes.

SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS

 

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Original 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Optional English subtitles
  • Lucy Mazdon on Henri-Georges Clouzot, the French cinema expert and academic talks at length about the films of Clouzot and the troubled production of Inferno
  • They Saw Inferno, a featurette including unseen material, providing further insight into the production of Inferno
  • Filmed Introduction by Serge Bromberg
  • Interview with Serge Bromberg
  • Stills gallery
  • Original trailer
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Twins of Evil
  • FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Ginette Vincendeau

https://amzn.to/37u1B8z

 

 

 

La Prisonnière: Woman in Chains (Blu-ray)

The final film of Henri-Georges Clouzot’s (Diabolique, The Wages of Fear) brilliant career, La Prisonnière (1968) is a sensuously colorful film of voyeuristic sexual obsession. It maps a love triangle between abstract sculptor Gilbert (Bernard Fresson), his TV editor girlfriend Josée (Elisabeth Wiener), and art gallery owner Stanislas (Laurent Terzieff). At an art opening, Gilbert ditches Josée, so she ends up going home with Stanislas, who shows her a photograph of a woman in bondage. The image is shocking and alluring, and Josée asks to attend his next erotic photo shoot, her first step in unlocking the depths of her desires. Making full use of the psychedelic optical effects that Clouzot developed for the unfinished L’Enfer, La Prisonnière is a visionary swansong for this legendary cinema artist.

Special Features: Audio commentary by film historian Kat Ellinger • Booklet essay by film critic Elena Lazic The Rebellious Elisabeth Wiener (25 minutes) • Trailer

 

10/10

A disturbing masterpiece

slabihoud2 May 2019

Since there is little talk about “La Prisonnière” when ever there is some kind of documentary or article about Henri-Georges Clouzot , It hasn’t been shown on TV for a very long time and so I thought it must be a weak film, probably done with a small budget and only half-heartedly because of bad health. Boy, was I wrong! After Clouzot’s collapse at the filming of “L’Enfer” he had to refrain from filming for some time. He already had a breakdown earlier in his career and his reputation for being excessively obsessed with perfection was very likely the reason for it. He filmed only every few years because he planned his films methodically. After the disaster of “L’Enfer” it looked as if he had to retire because of his health problems. But he recovered and was able to finish one more film.

When you have seen the documentary “L’Enfer de Henri-Georges Clouzot” then you know that all the tests he had made for it have not been in vain. “La Prisonnière” looks very much like another try on “L’Enfer” from a different point of view. The strange lightning tests he made with Romy Schneider, Dany Carrel and Serge Reggiani and the experiments with shapes and optical illusions, that all and much more went into “Le Prisonnière”. And here it makes more sense than in “L’Enfer” since the male character is an art collector and gallery owner who exhibits modern designs. From all we can see of the fragments of “L’Enfer” through “L’Enfer de Henri-Georges Clouzot” it would have been a great film. And since so many good ideas could not be used there, he gave them all to “La Prisonnière” – and it is a great film! There are pure cinematic moments in this film too, and I had a feeling that Clouzot realized this would be his last film and he wanted to use everything that he had not tried yet and to finish with a bang.

 

https://amzn.to/39ucnNJ

 

Book of the Day : ALEISTER & ADOLF

Like most of you reading this I have a backlog of material to get to. Being a collector I likely have more of a backlog than most. Books, comic books and graphic novels, music, cds, movies, streaming, old time radio, podcasts, youtube, and the list goes on.

So it is not unusual for Books that I get with all intention of reading, getting parked in a very long queue. For any of you with Netflix or Amazon Watchlists, you’ll understand this.

So often times books only make it to the top of that list when going out the door.

Case in point with ALEISTER & ADOLF. I have started finding new homes for books I have not had a chance to get around to, ALEISTER & ADOLF became one of those books. I was packing it up to ship to its new owner, and while I had flipped thru it never really had gotten a chance to read it. Well about to pack it up to ship off, I wanted to read a bit of it.

I opened the book, and ended up reading the whole thing, standing in one spot…. and I found it, riveting. I found it an interesting tale of the part symbols play in history, and in our concept of reality. That advertising and salesmanship, while seen as a very modern thing, is actually since time immemorial… at the heart of empires, their rise and their fall. The hearts and minds of people, is where wars and peace are won, and oligarchies sustained.

If you are a fan of writers like Alan Moore and Grant Morrison, while not told with the elegaic poetry of these writers, Douglas Rushkoff‘s writing and Michael Avon Oemings‘ art, weaves a succinct and engrossing page turner of strange fiction, based on even stranger facts. 

A worthy addition to the writings, both fact and fiction, on that most pivotal and bloodiest of Wars, what Roosevelt would come to call… The Survival War.

Great read. And I see myself re-adding this to my collection in the future.

Grade: B+.

 

Get your copy here. You may want to hurry as they are almost out of stock.

Tis the Season. Merry Happy Ramadan Christmas Vodun Kwanzaa Hanukaa Festivus!!! :)

Holidays are upon us.

That we, reading this, have the luxury of celebration and remembrance and family, is a blessing. Many do not.

 

And we are stuck in the middle.

Time keeps on rolling… rolling… rolling… into the future.

 

Sorry bits of archaic, near forgotten song lyrics, stuck in my head. 🙂

 

Glad for so much here at the end of this cycle of days.

Here at the end of days, glad for so much.

But also aware of so much… that I should have made better.

 

We are almost a hundred years removed from the wonders and horrors of 1920, and almost a hundred removed from the wonders and horrors of 2120.

Here is hoping that in 2020, that our wonders transcend our horrors. That the places where we aspire, transcend the places where we tear down.

Speculative.

All speculative. All we have of any real import, is our pressure on the moment.

Is our will… applied.

Do we make a better world or a worse one.

Depends on you.

It ripples outward.

Intent.

Will.

No guarantees, but we fall down going forward… it matters. The intent transcends the fall.

Rambling.

Slightly.

All this to say… embrace… better. ‘Deliberate cruelty is not forgivable.’, Blanche DuBois said in A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE. We are all at times cruel, and petty, but I try to always remember that line, and not be.. cruel, or petty.

Because Tennessee Williams was right, right in his 1947 Pulitzer prize winning play, and right in the Elia Kazan, nearly x-rated for the time, 1951 Academy Award Winning movie… deliberate cruelty is not forgivable.

But it is avoidable and it is correctable.

Here at the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020, with change like the stuff of science fiction upon us, we must hold to that one true thing… to aspire to better. To be better. And to spend less energy trying to make things (our phones, our tablets, our tv, our refrigerator, our voice operated Alexa assistants, our drones)… human, and more time making humans… humane.

God, whatever God or Gods you bend your knee to, bless you and yours, and give you the wisdom here at the figurative ending of days and at the beginning of a new cycle of days, to judge your wrongs… right.

Be well.

 

 

 

If you enjoyed this rambling, but heartfelt, post, then like and subscribe to this blog, and click the link below and peruse some great gift ideas (ideas for 2020, it is too late to make it for the 2019 holidays). Your purchases keep the proverbial doors open, and are greatly appreciated. And you get great stuff. (ie Everyone should have an emergency bag , one in their car, and one in their house. It’s good karma to be… prepared. )

Today’s Deals of the Day.

Horror Movie of the Day : John Frankenheimer’s THE PROPHESY (1979)

Prophecy (1979)

PROPHESY (1979)- It took me three attempts, three attempts, to finish this film. And the only reason I even started it was because the legendary John Frankenheimer’s name is listed as director. But this is a Frankenheimer removed from his 1960s heyday of ‘A list’ stars and ‘A list’ movies.

There is no BIRDMAN OF ALCATRAZ, THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, THE TRAIN, or SECONDS here. This is Frankenheimer in solid B movie mode, needing to work where he could get it. But even here, Frankenheimer wants didactic films, films that say something, if only obliquely, about real life issues. So we have one of the earliest environmental, EPA tinged horror films. And oddly enough that part works fine. Also Frankenheimer always an actor’s director, gets the most out of his solid cast.

What hampers the film is shown clear in the lackluster poster. The creature does not look great. Even allowing for this being a 40 year old movie, the creature… not good. Add to that the “unbelieving clueless” husband, and the “I have to keep this very important fact, secret from my husband” wife, and that dynamic feels a bit old and stupid. The movie gets a little frustrating around the hour mark, and around there is where I end up bailing on the movie.

However, I stuck with it on the third go around, and around the 1 hour 15 mark you see why John Frankenheimer is a celebrated director. Through pure direction he sells how terrifying this creature is; and the scene where they are driven and trapped underground, one of the most masterfully filmed, and tensest scenes, I have seen in any movie in a long time. Simply brilliant sequence. How he shoots it, how it is framed, how it i s performed. Simply a phenomenal scene. From there to the end of the film, I am officially onboard.

Now moments of, ‘uhh why are you just sitting there being stupid’ still popup, but overall that ending is simply great. Ludicrous, but great. So yeah, it took a few tries to actually finish this film, but having finished it, I have to say… I really enjoyed it, and see myself coming back to it for a repeat viewing.  Grade: B-.

 

View it with VOD courtesy of Amazon Prime.

Thanks for checking and come back for more, next installment!

 

Amazon Prime Short Horror film of the Day : Ray Sullivan’s THE THING AT 2:37 and Deal of the Day!

Amazon Prime Short Horror film of the Day : Ray Sullivan’s THE THING AT 2:37

 

 

Do not read reviews, just go into this blind. If you have Amazon Prime you can view it right now.

I went into this movie not knowing anything beyond the vaguest description, and was rewarded by 8 minutes of imaginative eeriness.

The ending is very Ligottian, in that the film lets you (if you have imagination), ruminate on that ending. I thought it was a very effective little short. Did more in 8 minutes than a lot of films do with 80 minutes.

Now don’t get me wrong, it is no LIGHTS OUT or DON’T MOVE, but it is a very good short film, and I look forward to more from this filmmaker.

Rating: B+ Strongly Recommended!

 

If you liked this review, subscribe and give a like to this post, and support this blog by clicking on the link below and getting today’s item of the day!

 

ITEM OF THE DAY!

 

 

“This marvelously macabre film is based on a classic short story by Alexander Pushkin which is the same one used by Tchaikovsky for his opera of the same name. It stars Anton Walbrook (fresh from THE RED SHOES), Ronald Howard (son of Leslie and looking just like his father) and Dame Edith Evans in what marked her screen debut at the age of 61.

Set during the time of Napoleon, QUEEN is the story of a young man who is obsessed with the secret of winning at cards and the old woman who possesses that secret. It is turned into a tour de force by Thorold Dickinson who had earlier directed the original version of GASLIGHT (which also featured Walbrook) back in 1940. The movie is full of baroque chiaroscuro lighting and bizarre camera angles and looks like a cross between the films of Val Lewton and Orson Welles with a little F. W. Murnau thrown in for good measure.”

—Amazon Prime

Purchase it here!