These 4 films, which I have watched since starting my SHUDDER subscription (something like $2.49 for the month, for the next 3 months) are all FANTASTIC, films, in very different ways. But all of them have soared to the top of my MUST BUY List!
MANDY I raved about in a previous post is just a brilliant primary color tinged nightmare of a dream quest/revenge story committed to film.
THE HEAD HUNTER, is a claustrophobic, incredibly tense, incredibly rousing, actioner/creature feature mash-up.
THE WAX MASK is one of the most sumptuously filmed and strangest Italian Giallo’s, being both a period piece and a Hammer studios homage, a stunning directorial debut.
And then we come to Lucio Fulci’s CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD. I am not a champion of the nonsensical, gore filled films that most remember Fulci for, like THE BEYOND and THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY and this one, CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD. I think all of these are the films he made when the audiences neglected his true masterpieces, to some extent when he stopped caring about making great films, and just decided to pander to the lowest common denominator horror crowds. When Fulci cared, he was one of the most imaginative, talented and stylish filmmakers of his time. He made some of the best Giallos, some of the best westerns, one of the best Hitchcock homages, and one that was his stab at a serious film/period piece. It was that film’s failure that soured him on film and audiences, and made him a gun for hire, and by reports misanthropic to his cast, his crew and the audience, and a churner out of his gore films. That said while I do see these films as Fulci no longer being that filmmaker whose westerns would inspire John Woo’s Blood Ballets and dove motif, despite these films being set-pieces of gore… loosely supported by a story, they are despite all that… still very, very compelling and entertaining. He builds moments of tension and dread and horror, as well as a good smattering of WTF!. Just the audacity of these films, particularly CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD, is impressive. So while not a champion of this film like I am of his earlier films, even lesser Fulci… is jaw dropping. This movie has story structure issues, it doesn’t hold together as a cogent film, it is haphazard and at times silly, but all that aside it is always visually arresting and cinematically audacious. And once seen, you want to own the BluRay to see the making of features and here the interviews and commentary because you definitely want to know what the cast thought of him, after making them do some of the things he had them do in this film.
I’ll be doing an upcoming piece on Fulci, but I guess it says everything about Fulci, is that even what I consider his ‘slapped together/whatever’ film phase, consists of many films, such as CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD, that are must watch films. Even his films of derision, are dripping with imaginative talent.
It had me.
It had me with the trailer.
At once elegiac and lyrical, this feature film debut by director Michael Matthews, writer Sean Drummond, and cinematographer Shaun Lee, is a revelation. Haunting and hauntingly beautiful, it transposes the myth of the western onto the looming shadow of Apartheid era South Africa, with staggering effectiveness. To tell a tale of childhood promises and adult realities, amidst a lawless land.
With a great cast of actors (Vuyo Dabula as protagonist Tau is particularly brilliant, but so is Hamilton Dhlamini as the almost preternatural Sepoko), some unknown and some familiar faces, and awe inspiring visuals and landscapes, this movie is both a surprise and a joy and is a GREAT Western, up their with the best of recent westerns.
UNFORGIVEN, TOMBSTONE, OPEN RANGE, BLACKTHORN, THE MISSING, HOMESMAN, BURROWERS, BONE TOMAHAWK all heavy hitting, top notch westerns by master directors, and yet somehow first time director Michael Matthews makes those masterful films, all of which I LOVE, feel almost rote in comparison. Don’t get me wrong, FIVE FINGERS OF MARSEILLES is not better than TOMBSTONE, but its breadth gives it a unique quality.
This film is both a western and not a western, and its ability to transcend genre and exploit it, makes for a very fresh and freeing viewing experience. I loved it. And can not wait for a Blueray edition of this film.
Watch it free courtesy of Amazon prime, and if as impressed as i am… buy the Bluray. Grade: A-.
WORTH FINISHING/PRETTY DARN GOOD:
Both movies from the early 90s are of course very dated. Martial Arts had only broken into the main-stream American conscience barely 15 years earlier. And American Martial Arts/Fight Choreography was still finding itself. And we were still in that very formulaic 80s urban crime/ Deathwish style of filming. All those caveats aside the movies remain incredibly entertaining, with a few pretty awesome sequences. Jeff Wincott and Cynthia Rothrock were prolific 80s action stars for a reason. And that reason is on display in these movies. Along with movies such as SILENT RAGE and PERFECT WEAPON and THE LAST DRAGON these films are fun and fine examples of American Cinematic Martial Arts in its early days.
I consider Patrick McGoohan one of the best actors ever. And his SECRET AGENT MAN/ DANGER MAN one of the best TV shows. His fight choreography in that show, which predated the James Bond films, elevated fight choreography. The same way that the first season of ARROW raised the bar. Then the first season of DAREDEVIL raised it even higher. Patrick McGoohan, former soldier, former boxer, brings all that to his roles. And here, a much older McGoohan past throwing punches, is no less, cinematic gold.
Richard Burton in a horror movie? SOLD!
The late 60s and early 70s was such an interesting time for film. Just as borders were being changed and challenged in our world and ourselves, they were also being expressed in our fiction. Particularly our films. There is a malleability and ephemeral-ness to much of the best films from this period. They are not any one genre, or any one thing. Are like our night-scapes, daringly un-solid, and always changing, depending on the viewer, and the viewed. This film will stay with you, long after you have seen it, until you are not sure it was ever a film, but rather maybe a dream, you forgot to dream. The sight of breaking bone, and spurting blood, is everywhere in this film, and no where. A haunting film.
This one does not start well. Took me a couple attempts to finish it. Much like GOATSUCKER that started awful, it just gets better and better, culminating in an impressive ending.
INTERESTING / JURY IS OUT
NOT WORTH YOUR TIME / AVOID
Starts interestingly, but like most failed horror films, loses any concept of common sense by the third act. Is this something any rational person would do? If the answer is no, then do not put such stupid actions in your darn movie. I wanted the time I spent watching it, back. Avoid.
1st Kudos to Hulu for, in an age where Streaming Services like Netflix are going price-hike crazy, actually offering a price reduction. Applause to HULU! This and Amazon Prime in my opinion are the best two Streaming services, in terms of both content, value, and ease of use/quality of the surfing experience.
Netflix lags FAR behind both channels, in my admittedly biassed opinion.
Okay onto the stuff you need to catch this month on Hulu (both old and new content):
The first season of LEGION was nothing short of game changing television. Writer/Producer Noah Hawtey with this and the 2nd season of FARGO proving himself one of the best writer/producers of this new Golden Age of Television. [To that list of best writer/producers of this new Golden Age, I would add creator Drew Goddard for DAREDEVIL Season 1 (Was not a fan of Seasons 2 and 3), and Cheo Hodari Coker’s brilliant and criminally underrated LUKE CAGE Season 1 and 2. While DAREDEVIL Season 1 is the better Action Show, LUKE CAGE is the better show, both writing and importance, for reasons way beyond, one person hitting another.]
I am looking forward to Noah Hawley’s feature film directorial debut LUCY IN THE SKY (slated for this year), but until then I will be enjoying the 2nd season of LEGION on Hulu.
INTO THE DARK? A hulu curated series of feature length Horror Movies?? Count me in!!!!!
THE TITAN GAMES is definitely inspired by AMERICAN NINJA WARRIOR, and while not as compelling as that show, this is still a very good mid season fill-in for AMERICAN NINJA WARRIOR.
I had my doubts about ATLANTA, but the first season made me a believer. A modern day renaissance man, Donald Glover is a creator to watch. And season 2 is now on HULU. This show and WAYWARD PINES are two shows that get painted with the TWIN PEAKS brush, as a measure of their strangeness; but both shows are far better than TWIN PEAKS ever was.
The first episode of UNDERGROUND Blew me away! Fantastic use of anachronistic music, and camera movements to tell this tragic and triumphant tale of horror and holocaust. It is of course not easy viewing, but is rewarding and essential viewing. I did not like and do not rewatch the film ROOTS, but the film SANKOFA which covers the same story of the slave trade but does it with such heartbreaking beauty and incredible visuals, it becomes an undeniable work of art, rather than simply a dry recounting of facts, or a pity party. That is what UNDERGROUND also brings to this shameful part of American history. The struggle of those who fought against the accepted horror of their time.
In that way, how much more heroic are they… than we. I look forward to completing season 1 and 2 this month on HULU!
RICK AND MORTY- much to my surprise is animation genius. LOVE IT. Right up there with the VENTURE BROS. Looking forward to season 4 showing up on HULU.
Called both the best and worst movie of 2018, depending on which reviewer you listen to, I’m really looking forward to watching SORRY TO BOTHER YOU sometime this month. And based on the track record of certain critics, I think this one is going to end up in my loved it pile.
I LOVE this series, POWER, and am way behind on it. So HULU this month will give me the chance to finish season3 and watch season 4.
I loved the first season of the ORVILLE. Season two started off great, but the second episode written by Wellesley Wild and directed by Kevin Hook, wow, that was a stinker.
It is some of the worst television I’ve seen since the 4th season of HELL ON WHEELS. Meaning really god awful, editor-less and rambling and self indulgent, please-fine-me-the-remote-fast-forward television. :). The odd thing is with just a less heavy handed delivery, no need for multiple hit us over the head holo-deck scenes, it could have been a good episode. the message was sound, the delivery unfortunately over indulged.
I will be very pleased not to see the name Wellesley Wild or Kevin Hook on any upcoming Orville episodes. 🙂 . Because other than that misstep, it has been a great and balanced show, not over doing the comedy and letting the drama shine thru when called for. And the visuals/ set and ship design and CGI, are just stellar.
It is the best STAR TREK on TV since the turn of the century. Wow. Let that sink in. 🙂
The premise of this show, addressing wrongful convictions, is I think very timely, and intriguing. Particularly in a witch-hunt/social media lynching America where people are found guilty and punished BEFORE trial, much less a verdict. In such an America where corporations the jury and the judges, rubber stamp social media verdicts, and special interests weaponize social media… a show about wrongful convictions… I’ll take a look.
Now the above are some of the top shows on or coming to HULU in February 2019, and reasons to give HULU a look this month.
So those of you who came just for the February 2019 STREAMING TV guide can leave now.
For those of you who want one of my inconveniently timed and inappropriately placed rants, 🙂 keep reading.
That last mention above, regarding the show PROVEN INNOCENT, made me ponder upon that subject.
One of the most idiotic postings I read recently, was this commenter piling on some guy accused of harassing a woman.
This guy was calling for the usual things the mob calls for, the accused to get fired, the accused to get stoned, etc. To which was pointed out that he knows neither the ‘claimed’ victim nor ‘claimed’ accuser, that before taking sides and handing down his verdict, maybe this should go thru due process. Due process defined as If criminal… a court of law, if civil or corporate, a board of inquiry or a federal HR complaint.
When pointed out that there is a process for proving an actual crime or wrong doing, that perhaps has nothing to do with stirring up lynch-mob justice on Facebook or Twitter, and attacking someone who should be innocent till PROVEN guilty…. this guy’s response was….
“I TRUST WOMEN!!!!”
That was it.
Some woman he does not know, claims some horrendous deed was done to her, last week, 5 years ago, 20 years ago, and this guy takes it as gospel and attacks wherever she points.
You know where that also happened.
Salem Massachusetts in 1692 and 1693.
As well as the United States from the age of reconstruction through the 1960s, where many a body swayed from many a tree.
“ME TOO’, may be a great movement for healing wounds, and improving conditions.
However, it has no place deciding guilt or innocence.
Only facts should do that, not the baggage of the mob.
Here endeth the aside. 🙂
For the movie fans among you, here is one of the coolest T-shirts of one of the best directed cult movies of all time!
In an age far removed from billion dollar Comic Book movies, cinematographer turned Director Mario Bava, best known for his primary colors drenched horror films, gave us this European take, on a superhero. Somewhere between James Bond and Batman, his Diabolik just riveted and impressed, and remains…. impressive.
Definitely light-hearted, and zany, and cartoony in the best sense of the word, this film is a MASTER CLINIC on crafting film. This film, like upcoming films represented in my T-shirt series, deserves to be owned as tactile DVDs/Blurays. Go ahead and sample them via streaming, but own them via DVD/Bluray, because these are films, and special features, and Director’s commentaries that any true fan of cinema, will come back to often. And now you can do it while wearing the coolest t-shirt!
From The Grindhouse Cinema Database
- Region 1
- STUDIO: Paramount
- SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio Commentary by Bava Expert/Biographer Tim Lucas and Star John Phillip Law. A nicely put together commentary featuring lots of really great information from Tim. John Phillip Law tells us all about what it was like working with Mario Bava and the beautiful Marissa Mell on the film. | “Body Movin'” video by The Beastie Boys with Audio Commentary by Adam Yauch (MCA) the director of the video which was inspired by Danger Diabolik. | Danger Diabolik: From Fumetti to Film: Interviews with Diabolik fans featuring comic book artist Stephen Bisette, Director Roman Coppola, Composer Ennio Morricone, Musician Adam Yauch, Producer Dino DeLaurentiis and Diabolik himself: John Phillip Law! | Also included on this DVD: Diabolik Teaser and Theatrical Trailers.
- PICTURE: Ratio: (1:85:1) / 16 X 9 Anamorphic Widescreen. This new transfer is simply beautiful. Diabolik looks the best its ever looked. Mario Bava’s super colorful cinematography and set designs are at the forefront of the film.
- SOUND: Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English). Ennio Morricone’s incredible psychedelic score comes through like a dream. Turn this up on your home stereo system and feel the vibe deep deep down.
Unfortunately there is no Bluray of this film available, but the nearly out of print DVD, is top of the line and a must own for any fan/collector.Get it here:
As far as the T-shirt… get yours here:
Tell em HT sent ya!
Don Kaart’s ALL THAT JAZZ is one of my favorite channels that I am subscribed to. The below video shows why. See my post, a few days ago, on collectors, people who preserve and promote culture by not letting things die or be locked away, simply because the venal overlords don’t know how to, monetize it.
Collectors preserve the soul of culture, not for money or praise, but because they, in the words of Alan Moore, are compelled to. I am not a particularly religious person, but in my mind Collectors like Don Kaart are doing essential, hallowed work. That often goes either uncommented on or villified by the venal, the stupd and the ignorant.
The below video, shows music back when it was pure. Undefined by racist labels, and even more racist gatekeepers. Max Roach earning in this video, in his patient and perfect use of call and response, his reputation as one of the Gods of Jazz and Drumming.
Go subscribe to this channel asap. And more than that, like the video and comment with your praise.
The channel deserves it!
Tell em HT sent Ya!