VOD Streaming Film of the Day : Roger Corman’s X starring Ray Milland on Amazon Prime

 

I’ve seen this before, in passing quite a while ago. I did not remember it being this good. It is quite a fascinating and surprisingly dire film. Not a great movie, but a very good one, with one of the more impactful endings. A homerun by Roger Corman.

 

“What do you see?”

“This city, as if it was unborn, rising into the sky with fingers of metal, limbs without flesh, girders without stone, signs hanging without support, wires dipping and swaying without poles.

A city unborn, its flesh disolved in an acid of light.”

 

 

Check out the comments, as the brilliant Derrick Freguson, excellent Writer, Reviewer, general Renissance guy drops the knowledge on the ending! Also released today, coverage on the film, by great youtube channel SOLITARY RONIN at the link below. Watch the movie before checking out both, though.

And if he sells you on getting the Bluray like he did with yours truly, then get your copy here:

1977’s THE PEOPLE THAT TIME FORGOT Streaming VOD Amazon Prime Movie of the Day!

The People That Time Forgot (1977)

Currently watching and enjoying 1977’s THE PEOPLE THAT TIME FORGOT,  a charming little period fantasy, adventure, pulp flick in wonderful widescreen technicolor, currently streaming courtesy of Amazon Prime.

The People That Time Forgot (1977)

 

Everything from prehistoric creatures, daring heroes, murderous cavemen, samurai and did I mention buxom babes? It is just a fun film.

And the ravishing Dana Gillespie on screen, definitely helps. Full name Richenda Antoinette de Winterstein Gillespie, descended from lords and ladies, this would be as close as she would get to a starring role, which was unfortunate. It is obvious the camera loves her.

This is a fun little film, a sequel to 1974’s THE LAND THAT TIME FORGOT, also by Director Kevin Connor, I actually like this one a little better, All in all a keeper of a movie that I will be looking to add to my Bluray collection. Grade: A solid B!

5 favorite audio books NOT available via streaming, spotify or Audible! Book #5 WOLFEN!

There are about two dozen truly great audio actors, whose work on audio books, is a MUST OWN. Among them are Orson Welles, David Birney, Harlan Ellison, Roddy McDowall, James Mason, Michael Boatman to name a few.

Some of these guys work, for various reasons such as rights etc, are not available via streaming or in some cases even on CD. But these are preeminent works, of the greatest voice actors of their respective era, giving their greatest deliveries. And they can still be picked up via LP or cassette, at affordable prices, and deserve to be.

Once bought on LP or cassette go ahead and digitize it so you have these must own works in a preserved format. Here then without further ado, is the first of our 5 must own audio books!

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41-EAZMm3fL._SX295_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg Roddy McDowall reads WOLFEN- I am a huge fan of the 1981 WOLFEN film, I think it is a flawed, but unjustly overlooked masterpeice. However, I love this audio book version as much, perhaps even more, and that iis down to Roddy McDowall.

Roddy McDowall, a prolific actor with over 250 credits to his name, who is likely only remembered by a younger generation for his turn in FRIGHT NIGHT (1985),  gave some of the great, humanistic performances of cinema in his abundant career. From Academy Award winning turn in HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY (1941)  to his immortal role as Caesar in PLANET OF THE APES (1968) to THE LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE (1973) to the aforementioned FRIGHT NIGHT (1985), and everything in between, Roddy McDowall, despite the quality of the film or script, never gave a bad performance. The consummate actor, he always carried his role, you always believed him; and he brings that veracity to this audio book, and paints with his voice the hallowed and harrowing world of WOLFEN.

Click on the link below to acquire this essential bit of audio book history.

 

The Wolfen Audio Cassette – June 1, 1990

Material Type: Fiction, Audio book, etc.
Document Type: Sound Recording
All Authors / Contributors: Whitley Strieber; Roddy McDowall

ISBN: 1558002227 9781558002227
OCLC Number: 21983678
Notes: Abridged from the author’s book of the same title.
Performer(s): Reader, Roddy McDowall.
Description: 2 audiocassettes (approximately 180 min.) : digital, Dolby processed, 1/8 in. tape
Responsibility: author, Whitley Strieben.

The Final Word : Netflix’s EXTRACTION contrary to the Naysayers is a stunning Directorial Debut!

EXTRACTION (2020) – EXTRACTION is the latest in direct to Netflix films, that seem to be pilloried as a matter of course, seemingly more for being on Netflix, than for the actual content of the movie. Joining films like 6 UNDERGROUND and TRIPLE FRONTIER, as top-notch action films, that are arguably under-appreciated on the streaming service.

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EXTRACTION while treading familiar ground, does it in a filmic and inventive and action drenched manner. And it does this while also managing to provide solid performances and the necessary emotional beats to the film. The only slight misstep being an exposition heavy scene between Hemsworth’s protagonist and his young charge, that comes off as forced and clumsy.

But it is a minor misstep into forced sentimentality and clumsy dialog. For the majority of its run-time the film is compelling and balances its themes; and showcases for viewers a riveting mission that is painted in hues of blood and sacrifice. For this viewer, the performers are strong and the characters striking (particularly the special forces bodyguard/antagonist, who visually is so interesting, his face unusual in a way that is both captivating and offputting) and coupled with the breakneck narrative, creates a film that checks all the boxes for satisfying and re-watchable viewing.

 

And, it is necessary to mention an extended multi-minute one shot-ish sequence that goes from car chase to interior, that is jaw dropping in its execution, and places this film on any list of most thrilling action sequences.

All in all a satisfying, straightforward film that while not on the level of say a MAN ON FIRE or JOHN WICK I or RAID, is still very good and is much better as a whole than theatrically released films such as JOHN WICK III and DREDD. Sam Hargrave, Actor/Stuntman turned fight coordinator turned Director, creates one heck of a debut film. Grade: B+.

 

 

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CASH ON DEMAND Blu-Ray Movie of the Day! US vs UK version!

CASH ON DEMANDPeter Cushing never gave a bad performance in his beloved career, and this is another standout great performance, by Hammer’s most bankable star. This Indicator Bluray boxset (click on the image) is the way to get this film (as well as three other great films). As the name implies it is about a bank robbery, more than that I will leave you to discover, except to say Andre Morell is brilliant, and there are two versions of this film. The shorter 68 minute UK theatrical cut, and the 12 minute longer 80 minute US Extended cut.

Typically, rightly or wrongly, the US cut is assumed to be the ‘censored’ or ‘edited down’ cut. In this case that thinking is 100% incorrect as the US version is VASTLY superior to the UK theatrical cut. When given the choice between the two, always go for the US Extended cut, it is just a stellar example of great writing, great direction, and great performances. Click on the image above to purchase.

Grade: One of the best and essential HAMMER crime films. I adore this film. B+/A-.

Spoilers: Read the following after viewing the film-US Extended Version

Comparison of the Two Versions

CASH ON DEMAND- UK 68 minutes, A tight, nail-biting, brilliant 68 minutes. Leading to a stitched up ending, that because of how well the protagonist is stitched up, seems a bit truncated unrealistic, even rushed ending.

The US cut adds 12 minutes, that now empowers that final scene in a way that was missing in the UK version. It adds three notable scenes. One, a scene prior to Cushing’s arrival, which I think is helpful for fleshing out the Bank workers, and this mentioned holiday party.

Two, some initial business about Peter Cushings character being tyrannical and dressing down his subordinates. Just heightens the irony, and the rough justice in Cushing’s character suffering what he does.

Third, a nice addition with a firetruck siren, and the fantastic Andre Mrrell discussing Cushing’s character over a drink, and his… absence of mercy.

All of these additions gives more weight and nuance to the movie as a whole, in that you are not firmly in Cushing’s corner the way you were in the UK version, which downplayed his abuse of his subordinates. The US version, there is more grey, and the viewer to an extent enjoy Cushing’s character getting back some of his own, and the teaching of a man without mercy,.. watching him learn the value… of mercy.

The US version makes the ending resonate more, because all of them, even the criminal(s), ultimately show more mercy than Cushing’s character does. The suave bank robber, knows and cares more about the people Cushing’s character works with than he does.The US version is the superior version. It is in certain ways the story of Scrooge, but told without ghosts and the clanking of chains, and tells us ultimately something canonical… about treating our fellow man, and the measure of mercy. The UK version is a good film, the US version is a great film.

SHAW BROTHERS classic Martial Arts film of the Week : FIVE SUPERFIGHTERS

Tang shan wu hu (1979)

Currently watching the Shaw Brothers fun FIVE SUPERFIGHTERS, that starts typically enough, with a  guy who styles himself THE CORRECTOR OF BAD KUNG FU :), and he just goes around picking fights with every martial arts school, he comes across.

It is a common plot in these movies, but this one wastes no time getting to it. Nicely filmed, well staged fight scenes, and good editing. And there are nice little flourishes in this film from 40 years ago that I haven’t seen before. One of the Kung Fu teachers is a woman, and she makes tofu for a living. It is nice to see the traditional steps of making Tofu, which is very much still relatively new in the west.

Add to that these widescreen remastered prints on Amazon, look WAY better than these films ever looked in the theaters or on TV back in the day, and you have an enjoyable streaming watch for the day.

 

Very enjoyable. Grade: B/B+.

******

SPOILER: Read only after viewing the movie…. The ending of this film there is a bit of a revelation that raises the film up a notch for me. Initially through most of the run-time, the ones seeking revenge come off as petty and mean-spirited as the antagonist of the film. Particularly the Teacher, who devolves into a drunk after back to back losses to the Antagonist. Going so far as to attack his friend when he is drunk.

However in the end fight you realize that  (again huge SPOILER) all throughout the movie he was devising a new style… DRUNKEN BOXING, to beat his unbeatable nemesis. This film tackles the origins of Drunken Boxing. A nice little twist, so that ending and the beautifully choreographed fight scenes, and the almost painterly use of color, moves this up to a solid B/B+.

Currently Watching : WINTER KILLS via Streaming/VOD

‘God, has made a way for you, you unalterable fool.

And all you have to do, is walk the path.’

WINTER KILLS (1979) Movie Review

I’ve been toying for some time with buying this 1979 film on DVD/Blu-Ray, based on its description alone. On paper it boasts a stacked cast (Jeff Bridges, John Huston, Elizabeth Taylor, Anthony Perkins, Eli Wallach, Ralph Meeker, Richard Boone, Tomas Milan, Sterling Hayden, Toshiro Mifune, the list goes on) and an intriguing premise.

Finally viewing it today courtesy of Streaming (believe it is on both KANOPY and AMAZON PRIME) and it is not a crowd pleasing film, but I like it despite itself. It is awkward, and spastic, and off kilter, and more than a little strange, this take of a family and nation marred by an assassination, which obviously reverberates with writer/director Richert’s theories on the Kennedy Assassination.

I like the way the film thinks, the way it breathes, patient and without hurry, the morose wit of the film, of a nation lost, slowly rolling, longing and loathing, in its sin.

I like the odd view it gives of power and the absence of privacy, and though the technology is outdated, the gist of it, over 40 years later is prophetic (or perhaps timeless is the better word), in its viewing of the lie of democracy in an age of Robber Barons.

It is compelling viewing, that I am richer for having seen. And yeah this is one to own in Physical media, because I can not wait to listen to the commentary by Writer/Director William Richert. This was Mr. Richert’s first feature film, and,while not a hit at the time, is an intriguing debut, and the cast alone make this a must own. Unfortunately  it would be followed by only 3 more films by Richert, and they would be progressively less well received.

But we still have his debut fan, WINTER KILLS.

Get your copy HERE!