2019 Favorite YouTube Channels and Channels that did and did not make it to 2020! Edition A-B!

Favorite Youtube Channels of 2019:

 

 

The above were some of my favorite channels, and with a few exceptions, are all still on my subscription list here in 2020.

Other channels in letters ‘A to B’ that I am subscribed to in 2020 are:

AARON PYNN (we do not have the same taste in films, but I like being introduced to films I would otherwise not be aware of or give a try. And being a physical media guy he has been helpful in 2019 in keeping me abreast of Dvd/Bluray sales), ADAM CELADIN (knife thrower), ALTER (some of the best short horror films), ALTERNA COMICS (really a fan of the sub $2 model this comic book company is providing, and they and Image comics $1 reprint books, I think are a big reason the big two offered $1 reprint books of their own), AMATEUR FILIES (one of the best Dvd/BluRay coverage channels), ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST, AVANTGARDEVEGAN, AXANAR,  BADDAD320, BARBARIAN_KUNGFU, BARGAINHUNTERSTHRIFT, BATINTHESUN, BELLA’S TOY CHEST, BERNIE’S BOOTLEGS, BLADE HQ (helped get me into knife collecting in 2019), BLU RAY COLLECTOR, BLU-RAY BENN, BLURAY DAN, BRAVE WILDERNESS (one of our top 10 favorite channels), BUDGETBUGOUT.

 

Channels that have gone dark in 2020:

ANDY BORDERS

BATAVENGER

Best Youtube Channel of the Day courtesy of Roku/Amazon Fire!

If you are not watching CEREAL AT MIDNIGHT you are missing out on one of the essential resources for movies on DVD and Bluray, especially of the classic B movie and cult status variety. CEREAL AT MIDNIGHT celebrates those works of yesteryear that are worth picking up, even in this age of streaming.

His latest episode, and he sold me on purchasing the UNIVERSAL HORROR COLLECTION VOL 1 on Bluray.

Mostly because I am a huge fan of THE BLACK CAT. What is the BLACK CAT you ask? Well beyond being the name of the famous Edgar Allen Poe Short Story, it was also the impetus for many films of that name.

This 1934 Edgar G. Ulmer directed BLACK CAT (which only uses Poe’s story as a aesthetic, to  go places even Poe dared not) is the best of the half dozen or so feature films to use that title.

Powered by a lurid, and haunting, and maniacal story by Edgar G. Ulmer and Peter Ruric, the film grabs and does not let go. Ruric would never write anything as memorable or deranged or sublime again. Which leads me to believe even though the script is credited to Ruric, that it was Ulmer’s hand you see in it. 

 

Ulmer, an unfortunately little remembered director, was one of the best directors of the strange and the avant-garde (experimental, forward looking), and the disturbed. This film fits perfectly in his mold. And with the best combination of big time studio, large budget, iconic stars, talented craftsmen, that he would ever get, he produced his best movie.

BLACK CAT beyond being Ulmer’s best movie, is without argument the best of the Karloff and Lugosi collaborations, and is arguably the best UNIVERSAL movie, right up there with masterpieces such as BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN and THE INVISIBLE MAN.

 

Ulmer’s BLACK CAT is so stylized, and so paired to the bone, that like the short story it derives its impetus for, it is entirely possessive of your attention and your awe. And even though I consider BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN a masterpiece, there is something even more heightened and hypnotic in Ulmer’s BLACK CAT.

The only real cinematic comparative to it, would be the feel you get from watching Erle C. Kenton’s ISLAND OF LOST SOULS, which predates BLACK CAT by two years. ISLAND OF LOST SOULS, like BLACK CAT, was both acclaimed and vilified for its horror and its sexuality.

 

Both are films I consider seminal films, masterpieces of mood, and must own films. And i have owned both films for years in DVD, as generally speaking I do not see the need to upgrade to Blu-ray with these earlier 4:3 Black and White films. However with this new Blu ray also sporting multiple new commentaries, it is worth the double dipping for me.

If you are still deciding check out the video below, and subscribe to the CEREAL AT MIDNIGHT youtube channel… and tell them HT sent ya!

 

 

CONAN THE BARBARIAN (1982) -Revisited and Amazon Prime CONAN series in the works?

 

Mongol General: Hao! Dai ye! We won again! This is good, but what is best in life?

Mongol: The open steppe, fleet horse, falcons at your wrist, and the wind in your hair.

Mongol General: Wrong! Conan! What is best in life?

Conan: To crush your enemies. See them driven before you. And to hear the lamentations of their women.

Mongol General: That is good! That is good.

—Conan The Barbarian

36 Years later, and the best version of Robert E Howard’s pulp adventure series set at the beginning of the Hyborian age of man, the best live action version of his CONAN, is John Milius’ absolutely thrillingly written CONAN THE BARBARIAN (1982).

Conan the Barbarian Movie Poster

 

Starring the great James Earl Jones, and just dripping with great lines, the movie holds up. And no one who has seen it, can leave it without the lines of a plain, unapologetic, patriarchal time, following you, like war drums in your heart.  Man, Millius got what was best in Howard’s Conan, dialing down the ‘of its time’ weaknesses of Howard’s stories, and instead dialing up the strengths to 11.

Seeing the movie as a boy, it was a boy’s adventure writ large, like STAR WARS or INDIANA JONES or SUPERMAN. And John Millius’ CONAN THE BARBARIAN were the lines and the myth, that many boys grew to manhood on.

The only weakness of the first film is its titular star, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Schwarzenegger at the time, coming off devastating bodybuilding wins, was while physically the absolutely right person, did not have the acting chops. I mean he pulls it off for the most part, but some scenes cause you to wince, even as a kid, However with an actor with more gravitas, the movie could be a solid recommend, rather than  a qualified one.

I think you could take this same Movie, with the brilliant John Millius script, shoot it almost line for line, and shot for shot, and add a protagonist with more acting skill, and have a great movie.

The 2011 Momoa movie unfortunately, while it got a dynamic actor, surrounded him with a sub par script and story, and had nothing iconic or memorable to it, ala Millius’ CONAN THE BARBARIAN.

And the less said about the CONAN  THE DESTROYER the better.

However there is talk of an Amazon Streaming TV series of Conan to be put together by Colony co-creator Ryan Condal, Thrones director Miguel Sapochnik and The Handmaid’s Tale executive producer Warren Littlefield.

But until that sees the light of day, I would say revisit Millius; CONAN THE BARBARIAN, and enjoy what is best in life.

Thulsa Doom: I wish to speak to you now. Where is the Eye of the Serpent? Rexor says that you gave to a girl, probably for a mere night’s pleasure, hmm? What a loss. People have no grasp of what they do. You broke into my house, stole my property, murdered my servants, and my PETS! And that is what grieves me the most! You killed my snake. Thorgrim is beside himself with grief! He raised that snake from the time it was born.

Conan: You killed my mother! You killed my father, you killed my people! You took my father’s sword… ah –

[Rexor twists his arm]

Thulsa Doom: Ah. It must have been when I was younger. There was a time, boy, when I searched for steel, when steel meant more to me than gold or jewels.

Conan: The riddle… of steel.

Thulsa Doom: Yes! You know what it is, don’t you boy? Shall I tell you? It’s the least I can do. Steel isn’t strong, boy, flesh is stronger! Look around you. There, on the rocks; a beautiful girl. Come to me, my child…

[coaxes the girl to jump to her death]

Thulsa Doom: That is strength, boy! That is power! What is steel compared to the hand that wields it? Look at the strength in your body, the desire in your heart, I gave you this! Such a waste. Contemplate this on the tree of woe. Crucify him!

—James Earl Jones having six years earlier defined one of the great cinematic villains of all time in Darth Vader, does so here in front of the camera, with his brilliant performance of Thulsa Doom. Like all great villains, there is something alluring, and of the misplaced hero, in the best of villians. Something almost correct, something of the man they were, or could have been, that resonates in who they are. Something in their fervor and their madness, that seems at times… almost sane.

 Not currently available (free) on streaming, this is the reason to always have your Blu-Ray Player and Blu-ray copy of great movies like this! Get your copy at the link below! 🙂

https://amzn.to/2r4R28h

 

Conan the Barbarian [Blu-ray]

Rating the Bigfoot Movies! Best and Worst!

BIGFOOT MOVIES TO SEEK OUT:

WILLOW CREEK – Suffers from annoying boyfriend syndrome, a failing too common to too many of these films with women being talked into dangerous situations, and worse being talked into remaining in the dangerous situations by boyfriends completely oblivious or making inane excuses for them remaining rather than rushing them to safety.

WILLOW CREEK for the majority is this annoying dynamic. So worth a watch if you are a Bigfoot movie fan/completest, but this due to how stupid the characters are written is far from satisfying. Grade: C-/D.

EXISTS is Big Foot movie done probably as well as it can be done. While you do have the obligatory idiot, you also have more well rounded and intriguing characters, and some sustained and exciting Bigfoot action. And a great and exciting if harrowing ending. Well worth owning on Blu-ray. Grade: B+

THE WOODSMAN- Is a horror takeoff on SURVIVOR MAN, as are many of these ‘Something in the woods’ films. Sporting only 2 actors, and only a brief glimpse of the rock thrower. Worth a  look, but relatively forgettable and an abrupt unsatisfying end. Always a bad sign when the poster is far more interesting than the actual movie.  Grade: C-/D-.

STOMPING GROUND – is up there with IT EXISTS with being a solid entertaining look of friends sharing their bonding time with something else. A great ending. B+.

LEGEND OF BOGGY CREEK- This is the one that started the BigFoot hype and with its documentary  meets DELIVERANCE style, continues to have a compelling vibe. Grade: C-.

SOMETHING IN THE WOODS – low budget 2016 film is convincingly done and engrossing tale of a man trying to protect his family and farm from something… unrelenting. Very good film. Grade: B/B-.

THE SIGHTING – For those looking for a twist on the standard BigFoot lore, this film fits the bill. Quite liked it. B/B+.

BIGFOOT (1969) – Speaking of twists. This forgotten 1969 film features buxom beauties falling into the clutches of a Bigfoot who wants attention paid to something besides his foot, and the biker boyfriends who must save them. The type of outlandish, trippy film that only the waning days of the swinging 60s could provide. Grade:  C/C+. Worth a Look and several shakes of the head.

CREATURE FROM BLACK LAKE (1976)

HUNTING GROUNDS (2017) – If you are sick of this off camera stuff most of these other films do, than this is the film for you. You will see the Bigfoot clearly and often, and doing things the other films would leave to your imagination. Where this one trips itself up is the human element. But unevenness aside, well worth a look. Grade: C/C+.

WILD MEN (2017) – Another Reality show goes hunting for BigFoot type movie. This one is quite good and fun. Grade: B.

 

-BIGFOOT THE LOST COAST TAPES rivals EXISTS as one of the best BIGFOOT movies. And it has one of the more unique and impressive endings. Strongly recommended. Grade: B+.

 

You can catch many of these films courtesy of AMAZON PRIME and/or HULU and the following are worthy of owning on DVD/Blu-Ray:

Exists [DVD + Digital]

Bigfoot: The Lost Coast Tapes BD/Combo [Blu-ray]

 

BIGFOOT MOVIES TO AVOID:

FIELD FREAK

BLACK WATER SASQUATCH

NIGHT WALKER

BIGFOOT VS DB COOPER

LOST WOODS

1313 BIGFOOT ISLAND

BOGGY CREEK (2010)

DOGMAN

HOLLER CREEK CANYON

PREDATORY INSTINCT

BIGFOOT HORROR CAMP

BIGFOOT WARS

BIGFOOT VS ZOMBIES

Fantastic Fridays: OPIUM AND THE KUNG-FU MASTER Roku Amazon Prime Movie Review!

THE SHAW BROTHERS tends to be thought of as a maker of period/classic Kung Fu Films, and while that is their bread and butter, there is a wealth of diversity in the Shaw Brothers’ Output that isn’t readily apparent.

But once you start diving into their catalog you find a wealth of diversity in genre and period and storytelling.

The Message/Anti-Drug  Movie was a staple of Nancy Reagan era politics. She the bandaid to her husband’s cartel creating foreign policy that was flooding the inner cities with white death.

In OPIUM AND THE KUNG-FU MASTER  you find the message movie wrapped in great sets, cinematography, performances, script and stellar fight scenes. Enjoyable and addictive movie from beginning to last superb fight scene.

Watch it via your Roku or Fire TV and catch it free courtesy of AMAZON PRIME. The print on Amazon prime is in superb hd quality and is the most affordable way to see this movie. the bare-bones bluray is unfortunately quite expensive.

however, it is definitely one to own/have in your collection if you can swing it. it is one of the best shaw brother movies.

Opium and the Kung Fu Master [Blu-ray]

What I’m Watching : SUPERMAN RETURNS (2006) Revisited after 10+ years!

Dracula Movie Poster

Recalling this is Frank Langella’s Birthday and how much I’m enamored of his performances (particularly his DRACULA I think is hypnotic and astounding), I went looking for films courtesy of streaming/VOD and I came across SUPERMAN RETURNS.

 

Superman Returns Movie Poster

Unlike the vocal few, I’ve always liked Bryan Singer’s SUPERMAN RETURNS. It is not perfect but its weaknesses are minor, and its strengths… deserving of praise.

Watching it today, over 10 years after its release, the film holds up. It is visually stunning to look at, gorgeously filmed and sumptuously framed, outright beautiful. Going for and achieving that feeling of awe, that particularly the first Richard Donner Superman was able to achieve, And it has that romanticized feel, and familial pacing, and doe-eyed optimism that both of the first two Donner Superman movies were able to achieve. But all of this lensed through Bryan Singers unique and ambitious take, his more otherworldly, take on the Man of Steel.

Where some people only saw ‘stalker’ Superman, those of us acquainted with reason, saw an obvious moral quandary tackled head-on. You want a being that can hear you when you call? The price and burden of this means he is always listening and always watching. So the film plays wonderfully with this idea of mensh unt Ubermensh. Of Man and Superman, and the burdens and trials of both.

The film does lose itself toward the end, but not enough to keep the journey from being rewarding, and memorable and fun.

This film falling in solid Bronze medal contention as one of the best Superman Movies of all time, beat out only by those two films that it is a natural sequel and follow-up to, Richard Donner’s SUPERMAN and SUPERMAN II.

MAN OF STEEL, as well as the other post Donner Christopher Reeves films are all left far in this films wake.

My grade after revisiting SUPERMAN RETURNS after 10+ years?

Well, Great Bryan Singer Direction, excellent visuals, stunning production design by Guy Hendrix Dyas, great performances by Brandon Routh and Kevin Spacey and Tristan Lake Leabu as Lois’s son.  Also the flying scenes (all of them but particularly, That flight with Lois, a definite homage to the iconic scene in the first film, and I think it’s great),the plane scene, the yacht saving scene,the Daily Planet globe scene, the eye scene, the car scene that is a homage to a classic comic book cover, the mensh unt ubermensh overtones, and just the sheer fun of it, all of that is a solid A.

If you watch those scenes and don’t feel a sense of awe, possibly you shouldn’t be watching a film called SUPERMAN or there may be something fundamentally broken in you. 🙂

Now in the minus column you have that the Lois Lane performance sometimes grates and the general denouement/climatic battle/wrapup didn’t quite work for me (through I appreciate it more on re-watching then when I initially saw it in the theaters), those are a C- at best.

So averaged together the film as a whole is still a solid B+.

[possible spoilers]Too bad Bryan Singer didn’t get to follow this up, as I would have liked him exploring the dynamics of a SUPERMAN with a family, and a kryptonian impervious to kryptonite, and just some of the other ingenious ideas touched on in this film.[spoilers done]

Revisit it yourself on Netflix or better yet get the Blu-ray with Directors Commentary. The film will stand the test of time against the cynics, romance always does. STRONGLY RECOMMENDED.

 

 

Superman: The Movie / Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut / Superman Returns [Blu-ray]

Superman Returns (Two-Disc Special Edition)

Drácula (Blu-Ray) (Import Movie) (European Format – Zone B2) (2013) Frank Langella; Laurence Olivier; Donald P

Amazon DEALS OF THE DAY! Best Soundtrack of 2016!?!

tmr364_thehateful8_standardlp_frontcover_700

THE HATEFUL EIGHT Soundtrack by Ennio Morricone – Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight Soundtrack

Quentin Tarantino’s eighth movie THE HATEFUL EIGHT, I saw just this previous December in its extended road show version. I saw it at a sumptuous venue, surrounded by real cinephiles, and quite liked the movie. I thought it had flaws, because while not a prude by any measure, I did think Quentin went a bit heavy on the profanity button.

Sometimes excess is not verisimilitude, being true to the framework of your film, sometimes it is just excess, and gets in the way of your film.

At some point it becomes like a kid who has just learned to curse, and says it all the time as if there is a maturity in that, when just the opposite is the truth. Over use of profanity is the mark of a juvenile aesthetic. I thought the movie was great, I loved the process and loved the ending and loved the visuals, the only detraction was… that juvenile aesthetic of Tarantino’s.

So it’s a movie I really liked, and want to call a great movie, but a great movie should also be re-watchable, and I’m uncertain how many times I would want to re-watch this. Portions of it sure. But to sit down and rewatch the whole thing? Revisit it, like I do with THE SEARCHERS or TOMBSTONE  or ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST… Not so much. That’s where the juvenile aesthetic works against a film, and works against Tarantino. These slight misgivings aside, It is still a solid B+ of a movie.

However one thing that I was not not conflicted on was Ennio Morricone’s score. Upon hearing this in the theater, I new I loved it and wanted to purchase the soundtrack when available. And I’m not a soundtrack guy, I buy sporadically, and seldom consider buying the score while watching a movie. So that tells you what type of impression this score made on me.

Today I received the Third Man Records stunning 2 LP Pressing of THE HATEFUL EIGHT. Wow! This may just be the collectible of the year!

It takes me back to the thrill I got of getting Records or Laser Discs, back in the day. That larger than life, elaborate and beautiful album cover, filled with extras, such as a booklet with liner notes, posters, photographs.

For around $30 while supplies last , it is a steal!

Morricone purportedly came out of retirement to do this score for Tarantino, and I’m glad he did, because he creates a score for the ages, to stand up to his decades of stunning, influential, and cinema shaping…. scores.

Now while the music is excellent, the pressing is also slightly hampered by Tarantino’s decision to add dialogue to the album. I would have preferred this album without Tarantino’s additions of dialog, and let this just be the music. However the dialogue tracks are easily skipped on CD. Not so easily skipped on the LP,  but the 2 album LP, is a collector’s dream, sporting a beautiful fold out gate fold cover,, and enough extras to make it worth any purchasers time to own both the CD and the LP.

Pick up both at the links below while in stock:

Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight Soundtrack

Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight CD