Roku Channel of the Day: TUBI TV and Director of The Day: Roman Polanski

One of the best free VOD channels, TUBI TV has a great selection of movies and TV shows and keeps the commercial interruptions to a minimum. Replaces CRACKLE as the best free Roku channel.

Today’s Recommended movies are:

 

Born to Raise Hell The first 10 minutes of this film do not fill me with confidence. The shaky cam direction, the string of cliches, the chaotic editing. But stick with it, because it becomes a fun vehicle for some great Steven Seagal one-liners and butt kicking. And by the end, the chaotic nature of the beginning is actually revealed as something pretty innovative. This movie is not going to win any awards for originality, but it is an enjoyable watch. And has a couple impressive fight scenes. B-.

 

The Tenant Director Roman Polanski remains a famous and infamous figure, breaking onto the directorial stage in 1962 with KNIFE IN THE WATER, he has crafted some of the definitive films of the disturbed, of the latter 20th century. Among them REPULSION , CUL DE SAC, ROSEMARY’S BABY and this film THE TENANT.

While not one of the films of his prolific or golden age period (from 1962 to 1968 where he was doing a film every two years, before being derailed by horror and madness, in the tragic loss of his wife), THE TENANT is one of Polanski’s oddest films, which is saying a lot, dealing as it does with one of the central themes of Polanski’s  golden age films, ie the fragility of sanity and the deterioration of the protagonist, preyed on by forces both within and without.

 

 

While THE TENANT is not a favorite of mine, the third act is too absurd for my tastes, it should be watched to see Polanski’s genius as an actor (his performance here is great, with wonderful bits of physical comedy thrown in), and his unwavering visual style as a director. 

And its very existance is testament to the indomitability of its director, a man whose life has been beset by enough tragedy and hardships to crush (if not end) most people, from escaping a concentration camp at the age of seven to being at the heart of one of the most infamous mass murders in American history, to being beseiged by various courts, Polanski has continued to not just endure, but to create at a high level, cinema that endures and contributes to our definition of art.

For more on Roman Polanski go see an excellent NY Times peice on him Here.

 

And when done sampling his work via VOD and Roku I recommend the following DVDs and Blurays:
Repulsion (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

Macbeth [Blu-ray]

Rosemary’s Baby (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

Chinatown [Blu-ray]

Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir (2011) [ Blu-Ray, Reg.A/B/C Import – Australia ]

Roman Polanski: A Retrospective

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Keoni Waxman’s MAXIMUM CONVICTION Netflix Movie Review

The first 30 minutes of MAXIMUM CONVICTION, another Keoni Waxman Steven Seagal vehicle, are interminable. As a rule I give a movie 20 minutes, if a filmmaker doesn’t care enough, or is incapable of making the first 20 minutes of his movie interesting, then I don’t care enough to finish the movie.

MAXIMUM CONVICTION falls into this category, which makes me actually finishing it, more happenstance than quality. After I had written it off, and was about to remove it from my Netflix rotation, some quirk, on a slow movie morning, spurred me to fast forward it past that boring first half hour, and doing so I found myself in a decent, engaging film.

Michael Pare is always a solid screen presence, and the other actors sell their various roles. And the procedural aspects, the detail paid to how soldiers move and soldier in the 21st century, also make this film better than its initial 30 minutes would lead you to believe. This story of an attempt by trained forces to extract a prisoner from a blackops prison, becomes by the end, a journey worth taking. Grade: Fast Forward the first 30 minutes and it is worth a watch.

Netflix Movie of the Day : FORCE OF EXECUTION

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Keoni Waxman’s latest Steven Seagal vehicle, FORCE OF EXECUTION is an odd duck.

It suffers from confusing, even muddy story telling, but despite that there is an uncomfortable but riveting modern gangster story being told. With an awkward unnerving schizophrenic melange of violence, martial arts, gun-play, sexuality, histrionics, and even a bit of humor, and sporting surprisingly solid performances; the film transcends its initial shortcomings to be an enjoyable and entertaining and purchase worthy film.

Joining the short (but growing) list of films I saw free on NetFlix, and thought enough of to own in a quality DVD or Bluray format.

FORCE OF EXECUTION is a film you will return to. Grade: B. Purchase your copy Here!

More Great Movie Opening / Title Credit Sequences!

My previous tirade on public domain abuse and Shakespeare 🙂 made me think of a few more incredible opening credit sequences.


WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE’S ROMEO AND JULIET- Brilliantly directed by Baz Lurhmann (the only one of his four films I’ve seen all of, the other three I’m not positive are for me) this is a great film, great trailer, and…. Great opening credit sequence.

William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet (Special Edition)


PAT GARRET AND BILLY THE KID- You could hold up any of Pekinpah’s films, but even for a Pekinpah film this credit sequence stands out. It’s amazing. And not something PETA would approve of.

Sam Peckinpah’s Legendary Westerns Collection (The Wild Bunch / Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid / Ride the High Country / The Ballad of Cable Hogue)

PISTOL WHIPPED- Seagal’s movies of the last decade or two have been of questionable quality. PISTOL WHIPPED is a surprisingly good film, that I actually enjoy more, every time I watch it. And one of the impressive things for me with this film was that opening credit sequence. Bullets and Gravestones, a nicely done combination.

Pistol Whipped


MENACE II SOCIETY- Doesn’t actually have a credit sequence, it has a title sequence. But what a sequence. It is a horrific, horrific film, that remains almost 20 years later brilliantly directed, and wrenchingly performed. To think this is someone’s debut film is amazing. Offensive, vulgar, sad, twisted, and unfortunately still too accurate a portrait of generational ignorance, lost souls, and man made hells. But the film is also quite engrossing, with moments of levity and even fleeting moments… of love.

Menace II Society [Blu-ray]
I’m a DVD guy, I really don’t care for Bluray. The packaging sucks (The moronic blue bar, was it designed by a blind guy? Cheap materials, poorly designed. Everyone I own (METROPOLIS, WATCHMEN Director’s Cut) looks like crap on my shelf, compared to the simple, functional design of a DVD case), and the quality difference between DVD, for me isn’t enough to justify paying more. So, I only recommend Blu-rays over DVD, if they offer special features not found on the DVD, and the price is right. This Blu-Ray qualifies.

Kiss Me Deadly (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

KISS ME DEADLY- Sports one of the most striking and haunting credit sequences. The Scrolling text, with the woman panting inconsolably beneath it.


FRACTURE- Is a very good thriller, with a quiet, understated credit sequence that is, like the film itself… endearing, and sticks with you long after you’ve seen the movie.

Fracture (Widescreen Edition)

That’s all for now!