Currently Watching Coverage of Historic Nasa/Space X Mission!

Been postponed till Saturday due to weather, but boy that was exciting!!!!

 

 

 

 

There was a time in this nation where– when men went into the stars, the whole nation stopped and looked up. I don’t know if the whole nation, whole world is looking up today, (I think the very fact that the corporate owned News Stations in the US, aren’t covering this live –says everything about the lack of value in broadcast television, and the price politics play in news coverage) but I do think (thanks to streaming) we have more people looking at the stars, than we have in many decades. Sometimes — with pandemics and wars and hatreds and corporate malfeasance, it is easy to lose sight of something else, something larger— that we live in wondrous times.

 

“We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organise and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.” -John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Must own Blu-Rays in the Age of Streaming/VOD : BLACK JOY Arrow Bluray

BLACK JOY – For the soundtrack alone this is a great purchase. A wild, raucous, caustic, but also tender, funny, troubling, dangerous bitter-sweet little film about the life and struggles and shenanigans of a specific bunch of people , in a specific place, at a specific time. It is a snapshot of a population, and a neighborhood, and a city, and even a world and music, that is far removed from today, and yet still resonates by the timeless conceit of the fish out of water, the good hearted but simple county-innocent… among hip city wolves.

Well shot and engrossingly performed. However, you will need subtitles, as the Patwa/West Indian slang flows fast and free, but despite that the meaning is always crystal clear.

Now, You are not going to mistake this for a blockbuster of cinema, but it is a surprisingly adept and charming (when not being of its time offensive) little film. This was a blind buy for me, and I am glad I bought it, because I am enriched by the viewing of it. Trevor Thomas is a wonderful actor, as is the whole cast, but definitely catch his interview on the disc, as well as the brilliant Floella Benjamin interview. Some of the stronger special features included.

 

“The opportunity to star in a film was great. Infact you got more opportunities, back in those days, the late 70s, 80s to play meaningful roles, as a Black actress, than you do today.”– Floella Benjamin

 

Grade: B-/C+ – A charming little film.

Get your copy here! As the Arrow Edition with booklet, will sell out.

VOD Streaming Film of the Day : Roger Corman’s X starring Ray Milland on Amazon Prime

 

I’ve seen this before, in passing quite a while ago. I did not remember it being this good. It is quite a fascinating and surprisingly dire film. Not a great movie, but a very good one, with one of the more impactful endings. A homerun by Roger Corman.

 

“What do you see?”

“This city, as if it was unborn, rising into the sky with fingers of metal, limbs without flesh, girders without stone, signs hanging without support, wires dipping and swaying without poles.

A city unborn, its flesh disolved in an acid of light.”

 

 

Check out the comments, as the brilliant Derrick Freguson, excellent Writer, Reviewer, general Renissance guy drops the knowledge on the ending! Also released today, coverage on the film, by great youtube channel SOLITARY RONIN at the link below. Watch the movie before checking out both, though.

And if he sells you on getting the Bluray like he did with yours truly, then get your copy here:

1977’s THE PEOPLE THAT TIME FORGOT Streaming VOD Amazon Prime Movie of the Day!

The People That Time Forgot (1977)

Currently watching and enjoying 1977’s THE PEOPLE THAT TIME FORGOT,  a charming little period fantasy, adventure, pulp flick in wonderful widescreen technicolor, currently streaming courtesy of Amazon Prime.

The People That Time Forgot (1977)

 

Everything from prehistoric creatures, daring heroes, murderous cavemen, samurai and did I mention buxom babes? It is just a fun film.

And the ravishing Dana Gillespie on screen, definitely helps. Full name Richenda Antoinette de Winterstein Gillespie, descended from lords and ladies, this would be as close as she would get to a starring role, which was unfortunate. It is obvious the camera loves her.

This is a fun little film, a sequel to 1974’s THE LAND THAT TIME FORGOT, also by Director Kevin Connor, I actually like this one a little better, All in all a keeper of a movie that I will be looking to add to my Bluray collection. Grade: A solid B!

Streaming VOD Movie Review of the Day : THE GREAT WAR (2019)

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

THE GREAT WAR (2019)- I was very impressed with the trailer for this film and after seeing it was excited to finally see this movie. I guess this is yet another example of a great trailer, being no barometer of the actual movie.

The film has finally made it to streaming, courtesy of Amazon Prime, and I have to say, unfortunately from frame one Director/Writer Steven Luke’s THE GREAT WAR is not good, much less great. It is clumsy, awkward just forced, heavy handed and even boring storytelling. The movie wants to say something, but lacks either the script or direction to say it, and this is ground covered more competently in numerous other films.

35 minutes in and I’m looking at the clock. Neither the performances on the screen, nor the efforts behind the camera particularly impress (the notable exception being the intriguing pairing between Ron Pearlman and Billy Zane). It is filmed more like a reenactment staging, than a film. 49 minutes in and it is feeling way too long, and still not interesting. The fast-forward button is calling me. But I stick with it, hoping it finds its level.

56 minutes in and I am finally intrigued by the conversations on screen, between actors Hiram A. Murray and Edgar Damatian, they begin showing the chemistry the film to this point has dearly needed, but it may be too little too late. As 66 minutes in, it is still so contrived and simplistic and heavy handed in its telling. With another 43 minutes to go, it is feeling like a chore to sit through the remainder of this movie, rather than a benefit. Life is too short  I am thinking, to give this film another 43 minutes.

Moving this review to UNDER CONSTRUCTION. I might come back and finish the last 43 minutes later, but right now with over half the movie watched I have to say… this is a big AVOID. Even if this movie were to stick the landing it would not compensate for the arduous and unsatisfying majority of the film. There are a 100 better war movies, and a 1000 better movies period that you can spend your precious time on.

If my opinion changes if and when I finish this movie, I will update this review, but for now… avoid.

 

 

The Final Word : Netflix’s EXTRACTION contrary to the Naysayers is a stunning Directorial Debut!

EXTRACTION (2020) – EXTRACTION is the latest in direct to Netflix films, that seem to be pilloried as a matter of course, seemingly more for being on Netflix, than for the actual content of the movie. Joining films like 6 UNDERGROUND and TRIPLE FRONTIER, as top-notch action films, that are arguably under-appreciated on the streaming service.

Extraction (2020 film).png

EXTRACTION while treading familiar ground, does it in a filmic and inventive and action drenched manner. And it does this while also managing to provide solid performances and the necessary emotional beats to the film. The only slight misstep being an exposition heavy scene between Hemsworth’s protagonist and his young charge, that comes off as forced and clumsy.

But it is a minor misstep into forced sentimentality and clumsy dialog. For the majority of its run-time the film is compelling and balances its themes; and showcases for viewers a riveting mission that is painted in hues of blood and sacrifice. For this viewer, the performers are strong and the characters striking (particularly the special forces bodyguard/antagonist, who visually is so interesting, his face unusual in a way that is both captivating and offputting) and coupled with the breakneck narrative, creates a film that checks all the boxes for satisfying and re-watchable viewing.

 

And, it is necessary to mention an extended multi-minute one shot-ish sequence that goes from car chase to interior, that is jaw dropping in its execution, and places this film on any list of most thrilling action sequences.

All in all a satisfying, straightforward film that while not on the level of say a MAN ON FIRE or JOHN WICK I or RAID, is still very good and is much better as a whole than theatrically released films such as JOHN WICK III and DREDD. Sam Hargrave, Actor/Stuntman turned fight coordinator turned Director, creates one heck of a debut film. Grade: B+.

 

 

6underground.jpg

 

File:Triple Frontier.jpgto

SHAW BROTHERS classic Martial Arts film of the Week : FIVE SUPERFIGHTERS

Tang shan wu hu (1979)

Currently watching the Shaw Brothers fun FIVE SUPERFIGHTERS, that starts typically enough, with a  guy who styles himself THE CORRECTOR OF BAD KUNG FU :), and he just goes around picking fights with every martial arts school, he comes across.

It is a common plot in these movies, but this one wastes no time getting to it. Nicely filmed, well staged fight scenes, and good editing. And there are nice little flourishes in this film from 40 years ago that I haven’t seen before. One of the Kung Fu teachers is a woman, and she makes tofu for a living. It is nice to see the traditional steps of making Tofu, which is very much still relatively new in the west.

Add to that these widescreen remastered prints on Amazon, look WAY better than these films ever looked in the theaters or on TV back in the day, and you have an enjoyable streaming watch for the day.

 

Very enjoyable. Grade: B/B+.

******

SPOILER: Read only after viewing the movie…. The ending of this film there is a bit of a revelation that raises the film up a notch for me. Initially through most of the run-time, the ones seeking revenge come off as petty and mean-spirited as the antagonist of the film. Particularly the Teacher, who devolves into a drunk after back to back losses to the Antagonist. Going so far as to attack his friend when he is drunk.

However in the end fight you realize that  (again huge SPOILER) all throughout the movie he was devising a new style… DRUNKEN BOXING, to beat his unbeatable nemesis. This film tackles the origins of Drunken Boxing. A nice little twist, so that ending and the beautifully choreographed fight scenes, and the almost painterly use of color, moves this up to a solid B/B+.

Currently Watching : WINTER KILLS via Streaming/VOD

‘God, has made a way for you, you unalterable fool.

And all you have to do, is walk the path.’

WINTER KILLS (1979) Movie Review

I’ve been toying for some time with buying this 1979 film on DVD/Blu-Ray, based on its description alone. On paper it boasts a stacked cast (Jeff Bridges, John Huston, Elizabeth Taylor, Anthony Perkins, Eli Wallach, Ralph Meeker, Richard Boone, Tomas Milan, Sterling Hayden, Toshiro Mifune, the list goes on) and an intriguing premise.

Finally viewing it today courtesy of Streaming (believe it is on both KANOPY and AMAZON PRIME) and it is not a crowd pleasing film, but I like it despite itself. It is awkward, and spastic, and off kilter, and more than a little strange, this take of a family and nation marred by an assassination, which obviously reverberates with writer/director Richert’s theories on the Kennedy Assassination.

I like the way the film thinks, the way it breathes, patient and without hurry, the morose wit of the film, of a nation lost, slowly rolling, longing and loathing, in its sin.

I like the odd view it gives of power and the absence of privacy, and though the technology is outdated, the gist of it, over 40 years later is prophetic (or perhaps timeless is the better word), in its viewing of the lie of democracy in an age of Robber Barons.

It is compelling viewing, that I am richer for having seen. And yeah this is one to own in Physical media, because I can not wait to listen to the commentary by Writer/Director William Richert. This was Mr. Richert’s first feature film, and,while not a hit at the time, is an intriguing debut, and the cast alone make this a must own. Unfortunately  it would be followed by only 3 more films by Richert, and they would be progressively less well received.

But we still have his debut fan, WINTER KILLS.

Get your copy HERE!

STRANGER IN TOWN – Enjoyable Capraesque Litte Drama/Crime Caper – Movie of the Day!

 

Great little film from 1943. You would not think a film from 77 years ago would be so timely and entertaining, and even laugh out loud funny in places, and dire in others, and say something so clearly current about corruption and obligation. A great little film.

“The great liberties by which we live, have been bought with blood. The kind of  government we get, is the kind of government we want. A government of the people, by the people, for the people, can mean any kind of government. It is our duty to make it mean only one kind. Uncorrupted! Free! United!”

Currently available courtesy of Amazon Prime. But you never know when these movies will disappear off streaming, get the DVD here.

Currently Watching : The Original GONE IN 60 SECONDS Movie from 1974

 

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.

GONE IN 60 SECONDS (1974)This film has a legendary status, largely for the 2nd half of the film and its audacious car chase scene, but man is that first half of the film rough watching. It is definitely of its time, and you can appreciate how ground breaking it was at the time, for its insiders view of car theft. But with amateur actors, pedestrian camera work (the scenes at night are all but pitch black, and even during the day under-lit), dialogue all but unintelligible, and the plot a bit muddy, necessitating a lot of the awkward voice over in the film, it is not a great or even particularly good first half. It is definitely a film that was obviously pieced together in the editing room, especially the first 30 minutes.

However, despite these issues of film-making and acting, the underlying story is relatively simple, and relatively intriguing. A band of car thieves have a deadline to steal 48 cars for a client, a connected underworld figure, or suffer that client’s wrath.

And the film manages to get, despite its flaws, ever more engrossing; and nearing the hour mark you are solidly in insane car chase mode, and the car chase scenes, as opposed to the other scenes, are shot very excitingly and dynamically, and the movie burns rubber into showing you why it is almost 50 years later still a car chase classic. The passion project of H.B. “Toby” Halicki, a stunt driver/coordinator, who writes, directs, produces, and is the star of this film, doing all his stunts (one of the jumps nearly cripping him) this is the JOHN WICK of its day, but with cars.

The crazy, car destroying, city and highway and pedestrian involved and insurance defying extremes of this film, as the 2000 remake found out, you can not recreate today. We lack in our plastic, bumperless, age; the infrastructure to support… the anarchy of iron and the empire of steel, that Halicki called in every favor and every friend… to capture on film.  Today we can make better controlled and better looking Car Chase films, but we can not make crazier films. This is arguably one of the craziest and most audacious car chase films ever devised.

And likely GONE WITH 60 SECONDS (1974) will always remain a car chase classic, for the fact that we are moving away from an age where the car chase is even possible. A new generation of lojacked, and speed limited, and computer controlled cars, AI meets drone surveillance meets remote shutoff, will make the car chases in films like GONE IN 60 SECONDS… the stuff of fantasy. The stuff of legend.

And as America’s continuing love affair with the Western shows, it is nothing we love to hold onto more… than our legends of an open range.

So overall while not a great film, GONE IN 60 SECONDS has a great car chase, and is definitely a must watch for any fans of car chase movies. Also, while the chase in this movie is the stuff of fantasy, I like how it shows the reality of any such chase, in terms of not just destroyed cars, but damaged and dying people. I like how the film takes time to show the first re-sponders who have to cut people out of cars and put out fires. Grade: C+. Catch it courtesy of Amazon Streaming.

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.