Hey folks, Harry here with another DVD column. Got carried away with a couple of the titles simply because I love them so much. But hey, that will happen from time to time. Kind of amazed I finished this early tonight, the day began with me biking 9.3 miles and doing some pretty serious core & oblique torture – when I started this column, I doubted if I’d have the energy to finish it today, but the power of some of the titles gave me that geek surge I needed to power through aggressively. So here we go, as usual the pics and links will take you to AMAZON where you can learn more on the titles – and if you feel intrigued enough you can purchase and home delivery is coming soon. Meanwhile, a small portion of that price you pay goes to help keep this column going, which is awfully awesome of ya, so thanks. Here’s the column… Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011
Why is this double feature at the top of this week’s selections? Because go no further – you have found the buy of the week!
JACKSON COUNTY JAIL is an extraordinary film. I mean that seriously. It wants to be just pure exploitation, but it’s too fucking great of a movie for that. Starring an older Yvette Mimieux as a PR Lady who has simply taken too much shit from the PR MEN’S CLUB that demeans and marginalizes here at every turn, so she gets offered a dream job in New York. She decides to drive from Los Angeles to New York. See the country. Have a transformative experience. What she gets… is JACKSON COUNTY JAIL! This is a sweaty brutal mean film, before it turns to something entirely different. You should be aware that there is a brutal rape in this film… but having said that – past that moment – and it is a huge turning point in the film, the movie becomes a crazier, sweatier, less arty BADLANDS. JACKSON COUNTY JAIL features a sexually powerful and full on hot bad boy version of Tommy Lee Jones – and when you see the film you’ll totally get it. We don’t get many romantic leading men in Tommy Lee Jones’ career, but this one… this is just tremendous. I absolutely love this film, I was introduced to it at QT FEST quite some time ago, and watching this while I was at the hospital really took me back to that screening in a wonderful way – but beyond that singular experience – I loaned this Double Feature DVD to a really awesome guy I met in Rehab, FREDDIE THE MEATBALL! And Freddy dug both these movies and I couldn’t have been happier to have loaned them to the Hispanic personification of SHREK! I shit you not.
NOW – that’s a taste of the love I have for JACKSON COUNTY JAIL – but now we’re getting into Jonathan Demme’s MASTERPIECE: CAGED HEAT! Ok – now while JACKSON COUNTY JAIL may flirt with exploitation by fingerbanging in the front seat of Daddy’s car – CAGED HEAT fucks Exploitation in it’s cut-off wearing ass! If you know a single film from Jonathan Demme’s career it is CAGED HEAT. This is a women in prison film that just boils like Cagney’s WHITE HEAT, but has a whole other level of unmistakable fucking hotness that sears not just from the violence, audacity and balls on these ladies… but from just how fucking hot in that crazy film those prison bound beauties are! The gender politics in this thing are just completely off the hook. But then the sheer awesome performance of Barbara Steele (Bava Goddess Alert!) as the uptight puritanical warden is just… a stroke of fucking genius! This is by no means a realistic film set in the real world. This is an underground comic book that has the grit of Spain Rodriguez’s TRASHMAN, but just centered around amazing women. A film that empowers the tits it puts on display! God I love this double bill from SHOUT and the genius guiding light of ROGER CORMAN!!!
You may have noticed over the course of AICN’s history that I’m a bit obsessed with sex, hot babes and odd fetishery. If you wish to avoid raising a child with my noticeable drawbacks, I’d recommend hiding GALAXINA from your child’s upbringing. BUT – if you do – you should be kicked in the vag! Because films like GALAXINA and BARBARELLA and FLESH GORDON – all of which I saw at an entirely inappropriate age range – along with films like HEAVY METAL, DRESSED TO KILL and when I saw GALAXINA at an Austin Drive In – my father told me that the star, the beautiful Dorothy Stratten, who was a Playboy Playmate of the Year in 1980, was murdered, which made the movie solemn. To see a beauty like Dorothy’s in my 9th Summer and to know there was some evil bastard in the world that would actually murder this. It freaked me out. But it made me appreciate the transient nature of Beauty in this world and to appreciate it for when we have it – and that we have GALAXINA – a fantastically hilariously inept sci-fi pervy epic – well – it is by no means as great as BARBARELLA or FLESH GORDON, but I do prefer it to 2069: A SEX ODYSSEY.
CRATER LAKE MONSTER could very well be the worst movie on BluRay right now. I need to look over my collection and see if I can confirm that!
This is a Lemon Meringue of a film. I actively enjoyed the film while it played, but as soon as it was over, I found myself struggling to remember what it was I liked about it. I’ve seen it twice now – and here I am with the same problem. It wants desperately to be a Hitchock adventure twisty turny story – but it just feels so contrived, so completely without weight that at the end weighing of the film – it just comes up not being ROMANCING THE STONE or TO CATCH A THIEF or NORTH BY NORTHWEST or THE 39 STEPS… you know the type of film – and if you do, watch one of those instead, they work far far better and will be a more fulfilling experience for you. Seriously.
My wife and her father took off the other day to check out Jellystone Park in-between Austin and San Antonio to check on the viable nature of it for a Family Reunion location – and I stayed at home and watched this on BluRay. Jellystone Park would be so much cooler if Yogi Bear was really there doing his Yogi things. BUT – this film stylistically just doesn’t work for me. Yogi & BooBoo were fine. Hell, I’d go so far as to say that they made me incredibly happy. But the mixing of those designs with regular humans and real world photography – just seems to be entirely missing the potential awesome of making a photo-real stylized CG – RANGO-esque YOGI BEAR film. Shit, I’d die to see WACKY RACES handled in this manner! I’d literally shit myself if it was handled properly. But this is perfectly fine family entertainment. It isn’t “CARTOON” enough for me. But man, Aykroyd did a great job nailing Yogi! Justin Timberlake’s BOOBOO was just amazing! Oh – and the Looney Tunes CG Animated Wile Coyote & Roadrunner cartoon, RABID RIDER? Total shit! The premise of doing these characters in CG is fine. The designs are not the problem. It’s that they’ve found amazingly impotent flaccid writers with no real since of meanness which must be in play for the true awesome of the “BEEP BEEP” to be unleashed.
I live tweeted my first viewing of SKYLINE while I was in the hospital… but last night I screened it again for my dear friend Diana for MOVIE NIGHT – On first watch, I found myself disliking all of the characters, getting angry at the stupidity that these characters were epic at demonstrating. But upon 2nd viewing, and with the idea of presenting this film as a fun way to kill some time in a house with around 10,000 titles to choose from… well, I sold it to Diana really well. You see… Here I go:
This film isn’t about you or me at the literal dawn of the end of everything as we know it. It’s about these people. And these people represent why I have no desire in moving to Los Angeles. It isn’t that everyone is like them, but there’s enough. Enough to make it a city to visit, but to not hang my hat. But these douches, their crazy fancy condo… they’ve got a picturesque view on the 50 yard line Sky Box with a view of the end of man. And because these characters are so fucking stupid – you’re going to see some pretty amazing shit. Because these dumbshits are really fucking dumb. And just like in all those movies we love, about teenagers at summer camp getting slaughtered… well, you don’t mind seeing these people die. I mean, it’s ok. These are the people that drive talking on cel phones. They’re the ones that talk loudly in movies. They’re the type that stand on either side of you on an elevator and carry on a conversation literally in one ear and out the other as you stand there wishing you were anywhere else. Yeah, these are those people.
But that’s ok. Because The Strause Brothers are crazy fucking talented insane effects monkeys – and for $11 million, they made a science fiction end of the world movie with a slasher film cast – and a crazy fucking COMIC BOOK GEEK CRAZY FUCKING ENDING That just makes me get giggly and dream of what next. The sequel would be astonishing. My problem is that everything in this film wasn’t just handled in about 30 minutes, then I had an hour and 20 minutes more picking up exactly where this film ends. Because I fucking love where it goes. And if you go in wanting to have fun with a trashy cheap film that has a cast that is ever so slightly regrettable… well, hold on, because when you find out what these aliens are here for. You’re going to either scream bullshit because you’re an asshole… or you’re going to go, “NO FUCKING WAY! THAT RULES!” because you’ve been properly raised as a geek that gets it.
When I’m watching this film, it feels like my favorite Stephen King film made. I know that isn’t true, because I fucking love THE SHINING too much. And there’s SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION & GREEN MILE and just CREEPSHOW and all that other awesome… but STAND BY ME is just a film that makes me dream of hanging out with my dad when he was a kid. Because that’s what this film is, my dad’s childhood – if he had a story about hiking to see a dead kid’s body. And that rules. Watching River Phoenix in this is very hard. I remember watching this and knowing that River Phoenix was going to be Leonardo DiCaprio – but more awesome. A really great film. Nice to see a really good BluRay for this! Here’s the extras:
Audio Commentary with Director Rob Reiner
"Exclusive Featurette "Walking the Tracks: The Summer of Stand By Me including interviews with Stephen King and Rob Reiner"
25 Years Later: A Picture-in-Picture Commentary Retrospective with Director Rob Reiner and Actors Wil Wheaton & Corey Feldman
Stand By Me Music Video
A while back I reviewed a triple feature cheapo DVD of ERNEST films – but mainly talked about the sheer enormous genius of ERNEST GOES TO JAIL – as being amongst the bestest things ever. Well – I still feel that way, and while noone necessarily needs to see every pore of Jim Varney’s face with quite the clarity of 1080p… for ERNEST GOES TO JAIL on Blu Ray to exist – well, it’s a great gateway film to show your kids before showing them Warner Brothers prison flicks from the 50’s and 40’s --- along with Lon Chaney Jr’s INDESTRUCTIBLE MAN and just being the coolest dad on the block! I’m not kidding.
I’m usually a BLUTH whore – I love his work, ever since I saw XANADU and SECRET OF NIMH – I just always root for him. But I don’t like ANASTASIA. The character design just felt lazy and the adaptation of the story was so bland to me. It needed to be more… intense. More frightening. BIGGER. The designs just didn’t capture me, not enough character to the faces. But for those of you that love this movie, they’ve done a really great job with the Blu Ray. Here’s what you get:
Audio Commentary by Directors Don Bluth and Gary Goldman
Sing-A-Longs Anastasia's Music Box Favorites
Russian Stacking Doll Game Anastasia's Seek and Find Bartok the Magnificent
How to Draw with Don Bluth
The Making of Anastasia Anastasia: A Magical Journey
Making of "Journey to the Past" Music Video
Music Video: "Journey to the Past" by Aaliyah
Trailers and TV Spots
While this is no WALLY & PEPPER, I really did like ROBOTS quite a bit! Mainly it comes from a lifelong love of robots – and while William Joyce’s robots are a bit cutesy for my robotic fetishistic love – there is something about them that reminds me of the characters in the Fleischer Color Classic BALLOONTOWN – and that is good enough for me. You don’t get a ton of extras, but this rather crazy ride of a film is enough. But the extras are nothing to snort at, you do get:
Audio Commentary by Blue Sky
Aunt Fanny’s Tour of Booty
The Voices of Robots
Three Deleted Scenes With Optional Commentary
Now – both of these have been prior released on BluRay – but if you haven’t picked them up, the price break is pretty killer. $20 for the two – and these are exquisite films. I absolutely love sitting down and watching these as a double bill. You know, for those days where you’re just in a Cate Blanchett mood. You just need an awesome actress to kick your ass! That’s what this set is all about.
Simply brilliant. 3 years before THE GENERAL – you just get to see Buster kicking it in all gears. This is a great film. Watched it in rehab and laughed out loud and often. That’s as it should be with Keaton. The extras are finely detailed at the above link, but if you know KINO – you know how fucking badass they are on these titles. You get an alternate released cut of the film. And so much more. Keaton is one of the greatest geniuses that we’ve ever had to grace the emulsion of cinema. This is one of his greats.
From the creator of Aeon Flux, comes this comic adaptation to a feature length animated film that’s all kinds of kaiju fun. The premise is pretty insane. Apparently this one giant monster fell in love with this one human girl – and somehow they consummated that love, and I have to say… I’M REAL FUCKING CURIOUS ABOUT HOW THAT WAS PULLED OFF… but ya know, if you’re a geek you go with these sorts of leaps of logic and plausibility, because all of a sudden we’ve got this young Peter Parker kinda aged character where he begins manifesting new powers, begins falling in love, meets his dad, is thrown into lava and there’s more! The kinetic sense of motion that Peter Chung brought to Aeon Flux has actually been translated into CG animation, and I have to say – it’s quite viscerally cool. I dig hell out of it.
YES! A fucking awesome Giallo in the mail is one of those things that you just thank your early pulp deities for in some manner helping to inspire a great genre like this. First off – I love what the femme does for a living, she’s an industrial chemist. She has crazy child time visions of pretty crazy stuff that occurred with her parents. But half of the awesome of a Giallo is just Seventies era Italy – the buildings, the clothing, cars and especially the women and their hair. But this film is one I recommend not reading up on. Let what happens, happen. It is totally worth it. I promise. This rocks.
Next week I’ll be looking at TANGLED, BLACK SWAN, MAD MEN: Season 4, BluRay of DeMille’s THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, FAIR GAME, SCREAM 1,2,3 Blu, SOYLENT GREEN Blu, IMAX: HUBBLE, KING OF KINGS Blu, TOPSY TURVY Criterion Blu, Complete Rathbone SHERLOCK HOLMES on BluRay!, THE SECRET OF NIMH Blu, THE RESIDENT, THE MIKADO Criterion Blu, THE TIMES OF HARVEY MILK Criterion Blu, AGAINST ALL ODDS Blu, INFERNO Blu, TEEN WOLF Mahler Ray, ANYTHING GOES, THE DORM THAT DRIPPED BLOOD Blu, MESRINE PUBLIC ENEMY #1 Blu, THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT Blu, DOGTOOTH Blu, THE TERROR Blu, DEMENTIA 13 Blu, MACHINE GIRL Blu, ANTONY & CLEOPATRA, CAPONE, ALL DOGS GO TO HEAVEN Blu, POOR PRETTY EDDIE Blu, EMBODIMENT OF EVIL Blu, GENIUS OF DESIGN, ATTACK FORCE Z Blu, HULK VS THOR, I VINTI, TEENAGE PAPARAZZO, THUNDER IN THE CITY, SCAR and IRON BODYGUARD.