Streaming films of the Day : SORRY TO BOTHER YOU and BORDER!

Ali Abbasi and Boots Riley.

LaKeith Stanfield in Sorry to Bother You (2018)

Gräns (2018)

These are names you should remember.

They are Writer/Directors to seek out.

You know for the most part when we go to one of these Blockbuster films in the theater, whether AVENGERS ENDGAME or the latest MISSION IMPOSSIBLE or JAMES BOND , we know what we are going to get. If not the particulars, we know the formula, the genre, the broad beats of hero and villain and threat to resolve.

With films like SORRY TO BOTHER YOU and BORDER if you go in blind, without trailer, or forewarning, or spoilers, as I did, and as I suggest you do, you are in for what film used to be, in the early days of film. You are in for something strange, and beautiful, and horrible, and more than a little bit unsettling; you are in for something rare, something new under the sun.

You are in for a ride, that is unfathomable and twisting, and both harrowing and transformative.

These are arguably not films that do well in the theatrical setting, for the simple fact they do not cater to expectations, they live in the unfamiliar places. And can arguably leave us… thoughtful and conflicted about what we see.

And audiences these days like to leave the theater, with easy assumptions reinforced, rather than challenged.

SORRY TO BOTHER YOU and BORDER are both films that do not play to the usual. They are living room films, they are home theaters films, they are personal films, and they are films that will stay with you long after you see them.

Both films feature amazing performances. Lakeith Stanfield of SORRY TO BOTHER YOU, and coming off a show stealing performance in ATLANTA is quickly becoming one of the best young Actors working. And Eva Melander, an actress unknown to me, is nothing short of award material in BORDER.

Both are must own films on DVD/Blu-Ray. In the age of streaming, these are the type of films you do not trust to the ephemeral nature of streaming. You can try before you buy by viewing both movies courtesy of HULU. and once you do, you’ll want to add these films to your collection.

I consider them both, cinematic gems, that will only grow with subsequent viewings.

Get your copies here:

 

https://amzn.to/2Yn5doc

 

https://amzn.to/2E692GB

Great Television Analyzed : Boris Karloff’s THRILLER (1960-1962)

THRILLER is a tv series hosted by the late, great Boris Karloff, that even for fans and students of cinema and television, is more rumored of than actually seen. So imagine my happy surprise to come home from a hard day of work and find the first season of this perennially hard to find show, available on the Roku Streaming Channel for free.

Very much an attempt to ride the popularity of Rod Serling’s TWILIGHT ZONE (1959-1964), THRILLER ran only two seasons, starting out as a crime/thriller series before drifting into pure horror. The show never truly finding its footing or audience, but is remembered fondly by fans of classic television.

After watching the first episode “Twisted Image” I can see why. WoW! As someone watching this episode for the first time, 59 years after it was first aired, I was absolutely riveted. Everything here, works, the cinematography, the direction, the performances, the writing, the undercurrent of sex, dread and desperation… I mean we have seen variations on this theme, in the decades since, and yet this episode  still manages to own every single minute of its 48 minute run-time.

I can only imagine how powerful this episode must have seem in 1960. To a generation just coming off of shows like LEAVE IT TO BEAVER it must have felt nearly X-rated. And yet 60 years removed from that relatively simpler America, the show somehow magically still has power, and is still oddly relevant to our world now. A world of desperate people, doing desperate things, in an attempt to find someone to hold them through the night.

Directed by the esteemed Arthur Hiller, from a teleplay by James Cavanagh, from a novel by William O’Farrell, this is as good a 48 minutes of television as you will find.

And a quick aside about Arthur Hiller, while his cinematic filmography is impressive (see some of his movies below) it is filled mostly with comedies.

It is his little seen early television work that is imbued with this seedy, nightmarish intensity.

Tobruk (1967)The Out of Towners (1970)Miracle of the White Stallions (1963)Man of La Mancha (1972)

Al Pacino, Dyan Cannon, Tuesday Weld, Bob Dishy, and Alan King in Author! Author! (1982)

Liam Nielsen, long before becoming known to a younger generation as a comedic lead, cut his teeth doing serious, often mirthless roles. And this episode of THRILLER is one such role.  He is great here, as is the rest of the cast, but the real draw for me is actress Natalie Trundy, her beauty and fragile madness is the spark, that burns the whole world down.

Just a phenomenal episode. I would buy the boxset of THRILLER on Dvd/BLU-RAY  just to own this episode. It is that good. I put it right up there with the first episode of the original ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS. Now as I mentioned not every episode is a hit. Every great episode seems to be followed up with two mediocre ones, but the series is worth having for the great ones. Try it for free courtesy of Roku, and if as impressed as I, use the link below to get the box-set, while you can.

 

https://amzn.to/2IjIrsF

 

 

 

Movie Quote of the Day : From 1982s CONAN THE BARBARIAN!

The 1982 CONAN movie may be remembered, when remembered at all,slightly glibly, by a generation grown used to better, faster, stronger. Everything is of a time about the 1982 CONAN THE BARBARIAN, the effects mostly, the acting by Schwarzenegger is good but not great, bordering on cringy but the director keeps it on track.

However what stands the test of time of this first foray into the world of CONAN… is the fantastic direction and even more fantastic script by John Milius. Every director in Hollywood was clamoring for this script, but Millius coming off of great successes chose to direct it. And I think that’s for the best, because he kept his fantastic script alive. Dialogue that other directors may have cut for being too much, too sexist, too anti-christian, too everything, Millius kept, and he made sing.

That he was able to get one of the better and more verbose performances out of a very young and still green Arnold Schwarzenegger is a testament to Millius as man, writer and director.

Other things that stand the test of time is the great casting of James Earl Jones, who delivers one of his best performances as the feared Thulsa Doom. A villain that in the original Robert E. Howard Novels never rose above a Black Peril character, Millius script and Jones’ acting are able to imbue with true pathos, and humanity, and even sympathy.

And finally add to it the stunning score created by Basil Poledouris, and you have a movie that will stand the test of time. If you only own one Basil Poledouris score, this is the one you own.

Now onto today’s movie quote.

From a movie replete with quotable lines, narrowing it down to just one can be a good problem to have.

But for whatever reason, one quote has stayed with me the last couple of days. It is the following… enjoy.

 

“No one, not even you, will remember if we were good men or bad. Why we fought, or why we died. All that matters is that two stood against many. That’s what’s important!”

I think that quote, in a band-wagon jumping, lynch-mob mentality America, is important to hold onto. This idea of standing against the mob.

I think it is a quote, to remember.

Thanks for checking out this blog, and if you want to support it, use the link below to buy today’s item of the day:

Basil Poledouris’ CONAN THE BARBARIAN Soundtrack on CD or LP. (I typically prefer the CD, but you get what grabs you)

https://amzn.to/2TQboys

 

Conan the Barbarian

Currently Watching : DEAD SQUAD TEMPLE OF THE UNDEAD

DEAD SQUAD: TEMPLE OF THE UNDEAD

25 minutes in and the jury is out on this one. I find it intriguing despite the annoying nature of most of the characters. The annoying, brain dead westerner character is one I can definitely do without. The film so far has not been great, a bit too campy and annoying, but I find myself interested in where the film is going. Interested in the shape of the doom they are getting closer to. And the Antagonist equally wears out his welcome.

However the practical effects and makeup are impressive, and how badass one of the characters is around the 40 minute mark keeps me watching when I was ready to write this one off.

I do not like Zombie/Ghoul films as a rule, but this one is different enough (especially the head monster) and truly deranged and yes campy enough, that you just have to be impressed by the absurd weirdness of it.

It becomes far more intriguing than I was initially thinking. Definitely not for everyone but for fans of Peter Jackson’s early horror films like BAD TASTE and DEAD ALIVE, despite my early doubts, Dominik Hauser’s DEAD SQUAD (his debut film) by the end, becomes an absolutely tremendous and fitting homage and evolution of those campy horror classics.

Try it yourself courtesy of Amazon Prime streaming. It is unfortunate movies like this are not getting a DVD/Blu-ray release with Director’s commentary. That’s how B films like this traditionally have endured. Preserved by collectors and fans. In the ephemeral world of streaming,controlled by cold dollars and cents, films like this can disappear without a whisper.

Best Short Horror Films of 2019 Week 8!

Best Short Horror Films of 2019 Week 8!

 

https://i.ytimg.com/vi/mPtCeemqdE0/hqdefault.jpg?sqp=-oaymwEjCPYBEIoBSFryq4qpAxUIARUAAAAAGAElAADIQj0AgKJDeAE=&rs=AOn4CLDh_UfxcZNe5u6425f8IB_xRSS0rgCLAP, CLAP– A 2017 short film according to youtube, I just became aware of this one tonight. Directed by Brandon Piskorik and starring Aaron Burt it is everything you want from a 5 minute horror film. A setting, a narrative, a looming dread, and a payoff. It is a fantastic short film, so I was a bit surprised to see even IMDB has no entry for it. And there is seemingly no webpage or online poster image promoting the short. To go to the effort to make a quality film, then to spend no effort to publicize it seems to me a missed opportunity.

Horror while a popular genre, is a hard genre to get right. Get the editing wrong, the timing wrong, the pacing wrong, and it becomes dreary rather than dreadful (in the horrific, hoped for tone, you want your horror film to hit). Piskorik gets it right here. A solid B+. Worth a look.

 

Another worth a look short is DOOR TO PURGATORY, also from 2017 this one is written and directed by Alexandra Balda. There are no surprises here, from frame one this is a pretty straight forward horror tale, but it is told and photographed well, with a protagonist you find likable and want to keep following.

At 13 minutes it is longer than most shorts but is 13 minutes well spent. There are minor things that distract, showing too clearly and too long the horror element, and too much of the mustache twirling villain at the end. But beyond that it is a solid first short film. A solid C+.

And the things the film CLAP, CLAP failed to do to publicize that movie, is not repeated here. As this movie is on IMDB, is a festival circuit participant (and winner) and has a poster. Alexandra Balda is a filmmaker I look forward to seeing more from.

 

Now films that did not make the cut and why:

STICKS- while arguably more professionally assembled than others on this list, what hurts this is what hurts most horror films, whether short or long. People reacting without any commonsense. Seemingly the protagonist is a caretaker. Why she is cleaning the house at night, well people get busy no biggie. So i’ll ignore that. However, why on earth would any sane person go up those stairs given the circumstances of the short? Why would any sane person open a door given those circumstances? they wouldn’t. It is bad, lazy writing, and a waste of everyone’s time. And the movie is an insult to the viewer’s intelligence.

TOOTH MAN- Not as slickly made suffers from the same issue. Characters acting completely braindead. With reason and commonsense seemingly a foreign language. You are babysitting and discover a bag of bloody teeth after a noise, and the possibility of an intruder, any sane person gets the kid and you get out of the house, and call the police/parents from a neighbors house. But no, not in this movie. I understand you need to create a situation of isolation for protagonist and threat, but you do that through smart writing, not lazy writing. On top of that I hate movies where adults lie to kids. Or husbands patronize wives about the obvious crazy stuff that happens in these movies. When those scenes happen they take me completely out of the movie.