Youtube and Pandemic Video of the Day, France, Revolutionary War and Captain America?

 

There are a couple things and a couple places that historically enrage me.

You will find injustice and stupidity everywhere, but some places seem to have more than their fair share. Some places where the rule of law and government, is put in the hands of the most venal, and these miscarriages of not just justice, but of humanity continue to proliferate and occur.

The MOVE Bombing in Philadelphia comes to mind, the LA riots, sentencing mentally disabled children as adults in Florida and locking them up with Adults.

Ah Florida.

You bring to mind a quote from Henry the Vth.

And when I think of Henry the Vth, it is not the play I read that comes to mind, or the many film adaptations, it is a very specific film and performance. It is Branagh’s HENRY THE V. And there is this scene where he has just seen the bodies of the children that France killed in a sneak attack. He says, he seethes, “I was not angry till I came to France!”

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Often I have heard news dealing with Florida, and it rises in me that self same rage, and I think… “I was not angry till I heard of Florida!”

And again I am sure there are great parts to Florida, great people in Florida, however it seems rightly or wrongly, they are overshadowed by the… mad.

Though it could be argued that… considering who some people voted for in the last presidential election, that all of America is mad.

***

Perhaps one of the greatest warriors America has ever produced, perhaps he was right.

Perhaps he was right when he switched sides.

I’m talking about Benedict Arnold.

History only remembers him as traitor.

They forget that he was the one everyone looked to, Washington, Jefferson, Banneker all of them. He was the Captain America of his day.  Winning battle after battle, until at some point he saw a dichotomy between a colony seeking its Freedom from England, while ever more earnest about creating its wealth through a system of petty tyrannies, fiefdoms, slavery and impoverishment.

Ah Arnold, they have roughly used you.

Perhaps he was right.

An 1880 Bio of Benedict Arnold, By A Sympathetic Relative

 

All that to say, that video… riled me.

********

Now a bit more on that Henry the Vth quote:

“I was not angry till I came to France!”

That line has always stuck with me. What was said, and how he said it, and the enormity of the villainy to prompt such words.

However I don’t want people to confuse me  being moved by that line, with any problems with France.

I like France, I went through it when I was younger, on a trip from Germany to London than back down through France to Spain.

Map of Central Europe (General Map / Region of the World)

While some American media has this totally undeserved derision toward France, the truth of the matter is… there would not be an America without France. The 100 year war between France and England, actually being just a small part of a 1000 year rivalry between those Super-Powers of that age, and the battle ground of America, what we called the Revolutionary War, was simply, for those Super Powers, their Vietnam.

Britain was fighting too many wars on too many fronts, battles with Spain, and France and on their own shores, and now a treasonous colony to deal with, that was being supported by their enemies. It was too much.

America likes to think we beat Britain, that is not the case. No, more than Vietnam beat America. In both cases battles on too many fronts, at home and abroad, required that the super power relinquish their expansionist wars, to concentrate on maintaining the nation proper.

So yeah, while Henry the Vth rightfully raged against France at the Battle of Agincourt, for myself, and for I think any American who has studied even basic history, and appreciates (for all its horrendous flaws) the dream of America, well you have to thank France for there even being a nation called America. Much as Vietnam has China to thank for them not being annexed by the United States.

So historically a fan of France, though these days they are dealing, like much of Europe and the World, with the rise of a new form of colonialism and fascism, under the guise of big business supplanting the rights of the individual.

 

Woah, man. That post went all over the place.  🙂

Somewhere in all that rambling there is probably a point. Me, I’ll leave it there. With this last refrain…

  • Travel when you can.
  • Defend each other and yourselves when you must.
  • Find and spread joy where you may.

These are my only laws.

Oh, and deliberate cruelty is not forgivable.

In the words of Tennessee Williams and Blance Dubois. Deliberate cruelty is not forgivable.

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Be well all.

And here endeth the rant. 🙂

 

-HT

 

Deal of the Day!

The last movie that… terrified me : ALONG CAME THE DEVIL II

ALONG CAME THE DEVIL II – I put this film on my Amazon Prime watch-list the other night, never having seen the first film, the poster image on Amazon looked interesting, and the 3.5/5 rating looked promising.

Along Came the Devil 2 (2019)

It was late when I watched it, or early.

And first I must admit, I am not now that force that had in days gone by moved heaven and earth, but what I am… I am. To roughly paraphrase Lord Tennyson.

Meaning I am of a milder temperament today, than of my reckless youth. And I am easier moved. I seek now in my old age, in my facts and my fictions, that no one dies badly, and that there always be a hero, to right wrongs.

So take that softness to note, and the hour, when measuring my feelings on this film.

I felt this film, was terrifying.

Much of horror, like in comedy, is setup and timing. And this film is not without failings, as portions of it seems to be telling of that unseen first movie, but those scenes never unhinge the central strengths of the film.

Namely it is well cast, convincingly even passionately performed, and I thought the Director/Writer Jason Devan and Editor Evan Algren masterfully used setup and timing, to create a chilling and effective movie. It is the work of a filmmaker, who understands viscerally the places in us that throb to the quick and the dead.

Is it a masterpiece? No. But not everything needs to be.

It is an effective, impressively made little chiller, that has more genuine chills in it than you’ll find in far bigger budget films, ala SINISTER, etc.

I went into this film, not having seen trailer or review, knowing nothing more than its title, and it rewarded me.

Go in likewise and you too may be, rewarded.

Grade: I’ve seen a lot of this type of film. Most are not very good, this one I hesitate not to call great. It is right up there with THE LAST EXORCISM PART II (far better than the first film); which I think is this type of film done, as well as I’ve seen it done. I guess the best thing you can say of a movie to really sell it, is having just finished watching it a few days ago, I want to see it again. That is in my book, the sign of an entertaining or compelling movie. B+.

 

Ulysses

Alfred Lord Tennyson – 1809-1892

It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Matched with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.
I cannot rest from travel; I will drink
Life to the lees. All times I have enjoyed
Greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone; on shore, and when
Through scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vext the dim sea. I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known—cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honored of them all,—
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough
Gleams that untraveled world whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!
As though to breathe were life! Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains; but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.
   This is my son, mine own Telemachus,
To whom I leave the scepter and the isle,
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfill
This labor, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and through soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centered in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.
   There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail;
There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toiled, and wrought, and thought with me,
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads—you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honor and his toil.
Death closes all; but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks;
The long day wanes; the slow moon climbs; the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are,
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

 

Deal of the Day!

Early Contender for one of my favorite TV Shows of 2020 – Netflix’s SHADOW Action Series!

The 1st season of THE TERROR, the 1st season of Amazon’s BAD BOYS, and the 1st and only season of BBC’s BODYGUARD on Netflix were my favorite television shows of 2019.

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4 episodes in and I am absolutely loving Netflix’s South African action/thriller series SHADOW.

Part EQUALIZER meets WALLENDER meets STRIKEBACK, the other part is its own unique texture and vibe; this series is hitting all the right notes… the actors are fantastic, plots Baroque and strange and compelling, the action riveting. Took a while for me to actually give this series a try, however now it (along with Netflix/BBCs DRACULA) is an early contender for one of my favorite tv shows of 2020.

I really hope both these shows eventually get a Blu-Ray release, complete with special features/director’s commentary. The best of any year deserves the permanence of DVD/Blu-Ray. That said I’m still waiting on season 2 of Luke Cage to make it to Blu-Ray… looking at you Netflix. 🙂 .

 

 

Rare, Sold-Out and Rarely AVAILABLE ON STREAMING – film of the Day : THE DUELLISTS by Ridley Scott!

Ridley Scott’s feature film debut, and arguably still his most beautiful film, THE DUELLISTS is a simply masterful film. For me Ridley Scott’s first 6 films, are just a director on fire. From DUELLISTS to ALIEN to BLADE RUNNER to LEGEND to SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME to BLACK RAIN, is simply a director crushing it from movie to movie, and genre to genre.

Now that said, after those first six films, I think he had a long period of films that I did not love; where the films just did not interest or appeal to me. In the last 20 years, while I like THE MARTIAN, arguably the only film of his I’m jazzed to rewatch… the way I am his first six films; is AMERICAN GANGSTER.

It is funny the careers of Ridley, and his late brother… the great director Tony Scott, are kinda like polar opposites. I Loved the films at the beginning of Ridley’s career, I think they are odd, intimate masterpieces, but have not been crazy about his later films. Tony Scott was the opposite, I wasn’t crazy about his early movies, but feel his films later in his directorial career really start knocking it out of the park.

Tony Scott’s partnership with Denzel Washington being a great and rewarding director/star relationship, reminiscent of other such acclaimed pairings… Ford/Wayne, Woo/Chow-Yun Fat, Lee/Washington, Leone/Eastwood, Capra/Stewart, Kurosawa/Mifune, Scorsese/De Niro, Hitchcok/Grant to name a few.

That partnership yielding one hands down masterpiece in MAN ON FIRE, and four enjoyable films in CRIMSON TIDE, DEJA VU, THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123, and UNSTOPPABLE (Tony Scott’s final film). So it is unfortunate for many reasons, that we lost Tony Scott so unexpectedly.

But thankfully we still have Ridley making films, and despite some of his more recent films being not for me (GODS OF EGYPT), when he sticks the landing, we are all the better and richer for it. His upcoming THE LAST DUEL, from an Affleck/Damon script, sounding a bit like him revisiting his 40+ year old film, THE DUELLISTS.

 

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Streaming VOD TV Guide for Today 4 Mar 2020 : Youtube Edition

 

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Ebay Item of the Day!

 

EL MINISTERIO DEL TIEMPO Netflix Streaming VOD Marathon

 

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EL MINISTERIO DEL TIEMPO Marathon

I’m currently watching the 2nd season of EL MINISTERIO DEL TIEMPO, courtesy of Netflix, and it just gets better with each episode.

Despite the fact that, like most time shows, the logic does not hold up. The rules of what they change, or do not change, does not really stand up from episode to episode, or minute to minute. It can be dissatisfying, if you ponder the holes in the show too closely.

But if you gloss over the issues with the central conceit of the show, the chracters themselves, and the overarching storyline, is entertaining and addictive, and the perfect thing to marathon on a lazy Sunday!

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.