Streaming VOD Movies, TV shows and Youtube Videos of Week 2 of 2020! SHUDDER Edition!

 

 

 

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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.

 

Streaming VOD Movie of the 2nd Week of 2020 : MANDY Shudder Amazon Prime

 

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MANDY (2018)– Finally catching this 2018 released film courtesy of SHUDDER. And I have to say… stunning. A lurid and at times lucid nightmarish primary color tinged, cosmic fueled descent into the Maelstrom; a revenge flick that goes to damnation and beyond. Panos Cosmatos has created a singular vision of the places that wait beyond our reason, places horrid , and awe-inspiring, and unrelenting. And all we must offer up… is everything.

A stunning film by Cosmatos, fueled by a great score by (I have just found out) the late and uber talented Johann Johannsson (composer of one of the best scores of recent memory, SICARIO… he will be missed), and powered by transformative performances by all; but particularly by Nicholas Cage, who takes us into the maelstrom with him, into hearts of darkness.

Nicolas Cage has really been taking some rough roles, brutal roles recently. That will take much out of any actor, and he does it again here, but going further than anyone should have to, into places dark and demanding. And it is so great to see the legendary Bill Duke in a film, he just raises the bar of everything he is in, and does so here. Panos Cosmatos (the son of George Cosmatos who directed one of my favorite films, TOMBSTONE, also an iconic film, with revenge, pushing the wrong man too far, at its core conceit)  with only his second film, the first the equally magical realism imbued BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW, has cemented himself for me, as a director to seek out, and to purchase his films when available.

And Kudos to producers Elijah Wood and Daniel Noah for helping champion these criminally underused (and in one case, seemingly blacklisted) visionaries, and working with them to get their films out to a wider audience again. MANDY is very much a gift, from a filmmaker who we have not heard from since 2010. Also very much looking forward to their collaboration with Richard Stanley.

Final thoughts on MANDY… Hypnotic and an experience, that is… compellingly watchable and re-watchable. It is a rabbit hole, and will suck you in. Highly recommended!

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When you have viewed it courtesy of streaming, ‘tried before you buy’ so to speak, and are as impressed as I am, then I suggest buying on Bluray. However I would hold out until they release a steel-book or digi-book with special features to include commentary. The Bluray on the market now lacks any commentary or really notable special features, which I think is a big misstep, to release a bare-bones disc. These days I do not buy a disc, unless it is loaded with special feature to include a commentary track.

In the age of streaming you really need to step up your game with the special features to make the Bluray worth it. Here’s hoping a full fledged disk will be released soon, this film deserves it.

 

2019 Year in Review : Favorite TV Shows

2019 Year in review : Favorite TV Shows

I tried quite a few shows in 2019 UMBRELLA ACADEMY, LUCIFER, GOOD OMENS, THE WITCHER, BLACK MIRROR, GAME OF THRONES but my favorite TV shows, BY FAR, were the following:

 

THE TERROR 1st Season – One of the most grueling and terrifying and brilliant things I saw on TV in 2019

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BODYGUARD 1st and only season- One of the best action/spy shows I’ve seen since SPOOKS and the first season of JACK RYAN.

THE GRAND TOUR – One of the worst mistakes TOP GEAR made was pissing these guys off and forcing them out. TOP GEAR has become an un-watched joke, and THE GRAND TOUR … simply fun and brilliant.

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HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE Season 1- After THE TERROR, the 2nd most terrifying tv show I saw in 2019. And that one episode with the reveal of the hanging lady, is just horrible to think about. The more you think about that episode the more effed up it becomes, and the more you feel for that character. A brilliantly written show.

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LUKE CAGE Season 2- Speaking of a brilliantly written show, LUKE CAGE season 2 when you get past some cringe worthy scenes in the early episode ( I do not want to see Shades and Black Mariah kissing on each other, the less of that the better) but when you get past that bit of self indulgence, it really takes off and has a story that is more complex than people hitting each other. Which kinda is why I lost interest in the other Marvel/Netflix shows. It is the small moments where this series sings, like the scene of Cage and Rand just talking as they overlook Central Park. That is one of my favorite scenes, and not a punch in it, just people talking. And the Antagonists were so rich, no clear good, or clear evil, but people in varying degrees of pain. Add to that just the best ending/cliffhanger of any of the Marvel/Netflix shows. Really hope this comes to Bluray soon.

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MANDALORIAN Season 1 – Baby Yoda Rules! And the show is great, a nice back to basics western in space.

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THE BOYS Season 1 – Jaw Dropping, and one of the best examples of the adaptation being superior to the source material. Not a fan of THE BOYS comic, loved this show,

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THE EXPANSE (Seasons 1-3) – I’ve praised this show often. It is the best scifi show currently being aired.

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PENNYWORTH – Only saw 3 episodes, that was all that was available for free, but what a 3 episodes. Phenomenal and fun and gripping.

 

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WATCHMEN – Only saw the first episode, but what an episode. Had my doubts about this show, the first episode made me a believer.

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With an honorable mention to BABYLON 5 as a show I revisited in 2019. Currently on season 4. Holds up as one of the best shows of all time. Straczynski creating the first novel for TV.

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Must own Bluray/DVD in the age of Streaming : THE QUEEN OF SPADES (1949)

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QUEEN OF SPADES

Thorold Dickinson made 13, by all accounts , WELL RECEIVED FEATURE films in his career, most dealing to some degree with guilt, and the horrible vagaries of the human heart. The queen of spades is by all reports his masterpiece.

I have not seen most of those other films (exception being 1940s GASLIGHT another phenomenal Gothic, horror tinged period piece) , but I have seen his 1949 THE QUEEN OF SPADES… it is by any standards… a masterpiece. A visual feast, with haunting use of sound, to tell a tale of an officer grasping for riches and status, at any cost.

Anton Walbrook, as that central figure, delivers one of the great performances in cinema, as a man scraped raw by his own desire for… more. It is truly a brilliant film, a florid drama/fable, made gothic and horrific by the stunning visual flourishes and cinematography. The feature rich Kino Lorber/Studio Canal Bluray looks phenomenal and is a must own.

I’ve seen this film three times now, once to listen to the Nick Pinkerton commentary, and while I don’t like the commentary (can get a little droning, monotone and bloated and chaotic) the film itself, simply just gets better everytime.

A highly recommended film and Bluray to own in the age of streaming. Highest Recommendation!  Grade:  A/A+.

 

Get it here!

Horror Movie of the Day : John Frankenheimer’s THE PROPHESY (1979)

Prophecy (1979)

PROPHESY (1979)- It took me three attempts, three attempts, to finish this film. And the only reason I even started it was because the legendary John Frankenheimer’s name is listed as director. But this is a Frankenheimer removed from his 1960s heyday of ‘A list’ stars and ‘A list’ movies.

There is no BIRDMAN OF ALCATRAZ, THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, THE TRAIN, or SECONDS here. This is Frankenheimer in solid B movie mode, needing to work where he could get it. But even here, Frankenheimer wants didactic films, films that say something, if only obliquely, about real life issues. So we have one of the earliest environmental, EPA tinged horror films. And oddly enough that part works fine. Also Frankenheimer always an actor’s director, gets the most out of his solid cast.

What hampers the film is shown clear in the lackluster poster. The creature does not look great. Even allowing for this being a 40 year old movie, the creature… not good. Add to that the “unbelieving clueless” husband, and the “I have to keep this very important fact, secret from my husband” wife, and that dynamic feels a bit old and stupid. The movie gets a little frustrating around the hour mark, and around there is where I end up bailing on the movie.

However, I stuck with it on the third go around, and around the 1 hour 15 mark you see why John Frankenheimer is a celebrated director. Through pure direction he sells how terrifying this creature is; and the scene where they are driven and trapped underground, one of the most masterfully filmed, and tensest scenes, I have seen in any movie in a long time. Simply brilliant sequence. How he shoots it, how it is framed, how it i s performed. Simply a phenomenal scene. From there to the end of the film, I am officially onboard.

Now moments of, ‘uhh why are you just sitting there being stupid’ still popup, but overall that ending is simply great. Ludicrous, but great. So yeah, it took a few tries to actually finish this film, but having finished it, I have to say… I really enjoyed it, and see myself coming back to it for a repeat viewing.  Grade: B-.

 

View it with VOD courtesy of Amazon Prime.

Thanks for checking and come back for more, next installment!

 

Streaming TV Guide of the Day : Youtube Shows of the Day!

Streaming TV Guide of the Day : Youtube Shows of the Day!

Or in the words of the MANDALORIAN show… I HAVE SPOKEN! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

So that’s it in a nutshell guys all the must watch Youtube shows  for today, the 10th Day of December, in the Two Thousandth and Nineteenth year of a Crucified Lord, if you go by the Gregorian calendar, or the One thousandth Four Hundred and thirty ninth year of the Hijri calendar, or the year Four Thousand Seven Hundred and Fifteen on the Traditional Chinese calendar. Man I love how wacky our world is. 🙂

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Till next installment… Be Well!!!

This Week’s 3 Best and Three Worst Free Streaming VOD TV Services and Why!

Best and Worst Free Streaming Services for Week 48 of 2019!

 

Best

 

  1. YOUTUBE – For another Week Youtube is the number one free streaming channel. Content Provider’s such as THE JOHN CAMPEA SHOW , TOP 5 SCARY VIDEOS, WEALLJUGGLEKNIVES, NEAR MINT CONDITION, METAL COMPLEX, THE DELUXE EDITION, FILMSELECT TRAILER, RICH REBUILDS, NICK SHABAZZ, SCOTTY KILMER, CORD CUTTERS NEWS, ALTER, GQ, SILVER_AGED DAVE, SOCAL ATTRACTIONS 360, CEREAL AT MIDNIGHT, AMATEUR FILMIES, HAWAII KNIFE AND GEAR, REGIE COLLECTS, SINISTER CINEMA REVIEWS, WRANGLESTAR, THE COMIC COLLECTOR, CANADIAN PREPPER, TARAS KUL, FIRST WE FEAST, GOHAN THE HUSKY, CASI DAVIS, CEDRIC & ADA GEAR AND OUTDOORS,  SILVER HAIRED BRONZE AGE BABE COMICS, BAT IN THE SUN, BLURAY DAN, IAN CORZINE, OFF THE SHELF MOVIE NIGHT, MMA ON POINT, OMNIDOG’S VAULT, CINEMANIACSEVENTY7 and WILSONIAN MOVIE MUSEUM releasing between them just some very enjoyable and informative content in the last seven days. (p.s. It is a lot of channels and content, so look for an upcoming post that higlights the best, must see You Tube videos from each channel)

  2. ROKU CHANNEL– Youtube was pretty enjoyable last week, so I didn’t really have the time or inclination to watch much of anything else on the free channels. Exception being the ROKU CHANNEL. It offers the first episode of some cable shows I have not yet checked out. So was able to watch the first episodes of WATCHMEN (loved it), GAME OF THRONES (yes, I have not watched a single episode of Game of Thrones, until this free episode on the Roku Channel. It was good. However, no real desire to catch up with it, but if other episodes turn up for free i’ll check them out) and the first episodes of DAVINCI’S DEMONS and AMERICAN GODS (didn’t like either one). So, for giving me the chance to check out these shows, with a minimum of commercial interruptions (CRACKLE take notes) ROKU makes it on this list. And finally…
  3. TUBI TV- These guys must pay attention to my viewing preferences, because they have a huge assortment of BIG FOOT movies. I’ve seen most of them, but I appreciate these films being available, and did catch up with a couple I have not seen before; 2017’s THE HUNTING (an interesting but flawed “monster in the woods” movie with a twist) and the un-watchably annoying and badly acted BIGFOOT COUNTRY and the simply awful THE MOTH. But I liked being able to at least check these movies out. And what I love about TUBI is they do not drown you in ads, you get to watch a good chunk of the movie before they interrupt it with 2 or 3 ads (not 6 ads, every few minutes, or every-time you try to rewind or fast forward… CRACKLE looking at you!!!)

 

WORST

That brings us to our WORST free streaning channel of the 48th week of 2019. It is hands down as if you could not guess…

  1. CRACKLE

  2. CRACKLE

  3. CRACKLE – the shame of it is… they actually have content worth watching, that is not available on other channels.  But their egregious overuse of advertising makes the channel unwatchable. I fool you not, it is like 6 ads, before they start the program, then 6 ads seemingly every 10 minutes or less. And you get ads immediately if you need to fast-forward or rewind. It adds up to more ads than actual runningtime of the movie, almost. I could not make it through 15 minutes of  being on CRACKLE. Just not worth my time… at all.  Hands down the worst streaming channel of week 48.

 

 

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