Currently Watching : I STILL SEE YOU by Scott Speer

Sometimes what you get out of a movie, is about what you bring into that movie. I mean the movie has to be well constructed, to elicit a favorable emotional response. But beyond that, to elicit a formative response from you, a significant response from you, the movie can only delve so deep. When you respond to it on a deep level, it is often because it has touched something in you, that you are dealing with, in a particular moment or time.

You may catch that movie at a different time, or a less attentive time, and those triggers do not reach you. You remain… untouched.

This movie caught me at the right time.

I STILL SEE YOU by Director Scott Speer, and capably led by young actress Bella Thorne, is a very good coming of age Horror film in the vein of IT FOLLOWS, I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER, A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT MIDNIGHT, and LET THE RIGHT ONE IN. While not in the league of those films (it meanders a little in the middle, and is not as cinematically stylized), stick with it as the premise is strong, the performances felt, and the ending…worthy and emotive.

That said, I could have done without the final shot, I think it weakens the message of the end of the film, and seems more than a bit formulaic and pandering; but that aside, a strong film, that I am glad to have seen.

Grade: B

 

Best Youtube Channel of the Day courtesy of Roku/Amazon Fire!

If you are not watching CEREAL AT MIDNIGHT you are missing out on one of the essential resources for movies on DVD and Bluray, especially of the classic B movie and cult status variety. CEREAL AT MIDNIGHT celebrates those works of yesteryear that are worth picking up, even in this age of streaming.

His latest episode, and he sold me on purchasing the UNIVERSAL HORROR COLLECTION VOL 1 on Bluray.

Mostly because I am a huge fan of THE BLACK CAT. What is the BLACK CAT you ask? Well beyond being the name of the famous Edgar Allen Poe Short Story, it was also the impetus for many films of that name.

This 1934 Edgar G. Ulmer directed BLACK CAT (which only uses Poe’s story as a aesthetic, to  go places even Poe dared not) is the best of the half dozen or so feature films to use that title.

Powered by a lurid, and haunting, and maniacal story by Edgar G. Ulmer and Peter Ruric, the film grabs and does not let go. Ruric would never write anything as memorable or deranged or sublime again. Which leads me to believe even though the script is credited to Ruric, that it was Ulmer’s hand you see in it. 

 

Ulmer, an unfortunately little remembered director, was one of the best directors of the strange and the avant-garde (experimental, forward looking), and the disturbed. This film fits perfectly in his mold. And with the best combination of big time studio, large budget, iconic stars, talented craftsmen, that he would ever get, he produced his best movie.

BLACK CAT beyond being Ulmer’s best movie, is without argument the best of the Karloff and Lugosi collaborations, and is arguably the best UNIVERSAL movie, right up there with masterpieces such as BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN and THE INVISIBLE MAN.

 

Ulmer’s BLACK CAT is so stylized, and so paired to the bone, that like the short story it derives its impetus for, it is entirely possessive of your attention and your awe. And even though I consider BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN a masterpiece, there is something even more heightened and hypnotic in Ulmer’s BLACK CAT.

The only real cinematic comparative to it, would be the feel you get from watching Erle C. Kenton’s ISLAND OF LOST SOULS, which predates BLACK CAT by two years. ISLAND OF LOST SOULS, like BLACK CAT, was both acclaimed and vilified for its horror and its sexuality.

 

Both are films I consider seminal films, masterpieces of mood, and must own films. And i have owned both films for years in DVD, as generally speaking I do not see the need to upgrade to Blu-ray with these earlier 4:3 Black and White films. However with this new Blu ray also sporting multiple new commentaries, it is worth the double dipping for me.

If you are still deciding check out the video below, and subscribe to the CEREAL AT MIDNIGHT youtube channel… and tell them HT sent ya!

 

 

Currently Watching : TOMBSTONE TERRITORY courtesy of AMAZON PRIME Channel

TOMBSTONE TERRITORY.

I had never even heard of this show from 1957, until stumbling across it on Amazon Prime, this year in 2019. Now you would think there was no way a 62 year old series could impress.

You would be wrong.

Six episodes in and TOMBSTONE TERRITORY is pretty much better than anything currently on television. Just straight forward, riveting storytelling, performances and camera work.

It is so EFFING good! With shows like this and the RIFLEMAN you can see why WESTERNS back in the 1950s were King. They were then, and remain now, timeless examples of our grandest myths, and basest desires, the constant pull of chaos and order, writ large.

TOMBSTONE TERRITORY is that abandoned format of the 30 minute drama, done about as well as it can be done. I’m looking forward to watching the rest of the episodes.

Catch it courtesy of streaming/VOD, on better streaming devices everywhere.

Today’s 11 recommended Streaming/VOD channels to be subscried to!

Today’s 11 recommended Streaming/VOD channels to be subscribed to!

PAID CHANNELS

  • AMAZON PRIME for their extensive selection of movies that simply dwarfs what anyone else is showing. They have 12, TWELVE, BigFoot movies you can watch right now!!! Dozens upon Dozens of  Spaghetti Western and Shaw Brothers movies, presented in wide-screen, that look better than they ever did in the theaters. They also have access to newer movies, and a mountain of tv shows. As well as great Amazon originals such as JACK RYAN, THE GRAND TOUR, THE ABC MURDERS, THE EXPANSE (possibly my favorite Sci-Fi show since FARSCAPE) to name a few. But it is really just their uber video store level of obscure and great genre films and tv shows, and their great interface that makes them by a long way, the paid channel I watch the most of.
  • HULU- Hulu is great for staying abreast of recent/current shows such as AMERICAN NINJA WARRIOR, as well as offering some movie and tv options, that the others may not.
  • NETFLIX- From being my first paid streaming channel, this has quickly become one of the paid channels I watch the least. To the point when they did their price hike a year or two ago I dropped the channel. However another member of the Heroic Times household decided to resubscribe. And I was able to finish up RIPPER STREET, and we have used it to check out their UMBRELLA ACADEMY and currently use it mainly to watch LUCIFER. But I find Netflix does a HORRIBLE job with its interface, and really should take a note in regards to Amazon, in how to better curate and group, and direct viewers to content that they may be interested in. You get the feeling on Netflix that whatever signal you are seeking, is buried under a lot of uninteresting noise. With more competition on the way, and with our household having a 3 paid streaming station limit, Netflix is the channel that likely will end up getting dumped (again) when something better comes along.

FREE CHANNELS

  • Youtube- The channel I watch these days the most, even more than Amazon Prime is Youtube. And one reason I have a Roku over an Amazon Fire TV, besides the fact I just like Roku’s interface better, is out the box, Amazon Fire stopped supporting the Youtube channel. I will do a separate post on the many channels, within Youtube, that I am subscribed to. But they consist of everyday people putting on content more captivating than the studios can; on everything from comics to movies to knives to guns to music to books to food to exercise to how-to to everything in between. Really intriguing, and I am happy there is not a ‘comments’ section, which for years is what kept me away from the online version of Youtube. Their un-moderated hate filled comments section. So the absence of that on the Youtube Roku app, makes it finally a worthwhile viewing experience.
  • TUBI
  • SONY CRACKLE
  • PLUTO TV
  • ROKU CHANNEL
  • VIMEO
  • FOOD NETWORK
  • HGTV

3 Best Youtube Channels of the Day courtesy of Roku/Amazon Fire!

 

 

 

Give some love to the channels above, and patronize the link below, Supporting our below sponsors gets you great stuff and earns helpful pennies for this blog. 🙂 And don’t forget to like and share!

https://www.bonanza.com/booths/aseller99b

 

Movie of the Day and Performance of the Day : THE BEAST

Rabbit Days (2016)

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE a film that is an experience, that you do not know from the first frame, where the last frame will bring us. Blockbusters are by necessity a predictable commodity. They have to some extent give the audience what it is expecting. It has to inherently be predictable, so it can appeal to the largest possible audience, and bring the highest possible return.

There is nothing wrong with that, I love blockbusters as much as the next person. But there is something to be said for a film that does not live with our expectations, or perhaps even our world. Especially when it is done superbly well, when it is clear from the first frame you are, wherever the road takes you, in the hands of a visionary, a master filmmaker.

https://i0.wp.com/filmthreat.com/app/uploads/2019/03/REV-TheBeast-1.jpg

That is the case with the LeBoeuf Brothers’, Ryan & Cody, THE BEAST. But any script hinges on a central performance, and Clarence Gilyard’s unhinged performance is nothing short of jaw dropping. At once so unhinged, and so good, and the other actors as various forms of straight men to him, also do a great job. Add in the atmosphere, and you are left with a nightmare landscape of a film, that eschewing sense, is brilliant.

The ending perhaps feels truncated, but perhaps is also just right. Depends on your patience for the surreal and absurd. But for fans of the films of Lynch and Bunuel, you will feel in THE BEAST… rewarded.

Grade: I loved it. Your Mileage may Vary. 🙂

Another home-run of a discovery courtesy of AMAZON PRIME. And hopefully we can expect a DVD or BLuray version, complete with Directors/Actors commentary. Streaming is great, but as a film fan, I love to own the films I love… in a less ephemeral and transient format than streaming.

Read the following after you view the movie. No real spoilers, I just feel going into this movie completely unprepared is the right way to go, to get the most impact out of it….Ok you’ve watched the movie! Great! now you can read the rest. 🙂

First, I am glad they changed the name of the movie, as the original one was too on the noise, and would have worked against the air of mystery they were building. This movie for me, has nothing to do with that original title (until possibly the very end), which made the appearance of carrots all the more bonkers and inexplicable and intriguing. I was picturing, something un-picturable as the menace throughout. And that worked to the movie’s benefit. BEAST therefore working much better as a title.

And regarding the lead, I knew he seemed/sounded familiar,  something about his voice, and his manner, but it wasn’t until after the movie that I placed him. Clarence Gilyard Jr, starred for years on WALKER TEXAS RANGER. He is almost unrecognizable, but  what really comes across is how fantastic of an actor he is here, and while always great on WALKER, you do get the feeling he was definitely underused on that show. His performance in THE BEAST shows an actor who should have been acting on the big screen for decades, rather than underused in a procedural. Though what we fans lost, the educational system gained with Gilyard being a lauded professor. And he has been keeping his hand in on the theater circuit.

Case in point, it is great to hear that he and other WALKER costar Sheree J. Wilson recently reunited to do a theatrical run of DRIVING MISS DAISY (what? these young-uns?!).  More on that here: https://www.thespectrum.com/story/entertainment/2018/04/03/tinseltown-talks-walkers-sheree-j-wilson-clarence-gilyard-jr-together-again/482336002/

Clarence Gilyard Jr as James Trivette and Sheree J.

Looking forward to more from these directors, and these actors.

And finally for more on THE BEAST, check out this podcast : https://www.piecingpod.com/2018/10/22/special-episode-the-beast-ryan-cody-leboeuf-interview/

This week’s absolutely must watch STREAMING MOVIE : FIVE FINGERS OF MARSEILLES

Five Fingers for Marseilles - poster

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-.