1st 2wks of July 2014's PICKS & PEEKS: Cannibals, Cry Baby, Mermaid, Jodorowsky, THE TIME MACHINE & more
Hey folks, Harry here – sorry about last week’s column, but several key titles didn’t arrive in time to do a good column, so I delayed till I could gather those releases and do a double up column. We’re getting some great great stuff in this column, so be sure to check out all the titles! As usual this column’s pics and links take you to AMAZON where you can learn more and order titles in question, which if you do… Thank You many times over. It really does help to keep my best efforts on this column coming! Now here’s the first 2 weeks of July! Oh – and if you love it, by all means check out PicksAndPeeks.Com for the ever updated app that takes the 10+ years of this column and creates a great app that makes all the reviews of thousands upon thousands of titles easily searchable, but with greater options than just the column! Now, here’s the latest…
Tuesday, July 1st, 2014
KINDERGARTEN COP Blu Ray
This came out after my first year of college… I groaned at the trailers… loudly… But, as a movie geek… I just loved Arnold Schwarzenegger and believed strongly in the man… the same way my father and his father’s generation idolized John Wayne. Dad told me to not write it off just cuz Arnold was in a movie with a ton of kids… and he showed me THE COWBOYS… Ok. KINDERGARTN COP isn’t anything like THE COWBOYS, which is one of the great great John Wayne films… But Ivan Reitman knows the ingredients to make an entertaining fun as hell movie… And Penelope Ann Miller has always sent my flags soaring… So it was basically a perfect flick for a big brother to take his baby sister to. “It’s Not a TOOOMAH!” has been amongst my favorite lines ever since. Arnold’s “Freak Out Moments” are just gold. “We’re going to play a wonderful game called… ‘Who is my Daddy and What does he do?’” – So much gold in this flick! I can’t say the same about The Rock’s TOOTH FAIRY – where they were trying to find the bulging guy and kids formula and just missed it. Personally I feel The Rock could kill in this kind of comedy now, he’s so much better on camera than in those early days! This was never a particularly beautiful film, but it looks about like I remember it on screen. Unless this is one of those films that you have strong attachment to, I’d just get it from a Download service of your choice. This blu isn’t anything overly special.
CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST Blu Ray
When I didn’t get a review screener for CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, I decided to delay this column, until I could check it out. Because, this is the sort of film that when you’re writing for those that care, they want to absolutely know the low down. It comes in a slipcase that’s kinda friggin awesome and not Amazon friendly. Eli Roth has a film called THE GREEN INFERNO coming later this year. This film is the heart and soul behind that film. It’s the dream that Eli had in his mind when he went into the heart of the Amazon to find the never before seen cannibal tribe he’d feed his actors to. If you know this film inside and out… you’ll be amazed at the quality of Green Inferno… but you will also know that Eli wasn’t about ONE UPPING Ruggero Deodato… he could have… but it’s like he wanted this film to still have the amazing impact that it has on viewers. Some of you will not be able to really handle this. The film is somewhere between infamy and legend. The Blu Ray comes in two distinctly different cuts… that balls out whole enchilada… and the NO ANIMAL CRUELTY CUT… because… well, no matter how realistic the human gore feels… the Animal stuff did happen… and watching a sea turtle butchered is something nobody that loves the Animal Kingdom ever wants to see. For me… the crazed lengths people used to go through for cinema’s sake was crazy. The old Flynn flick, CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE, has a scene that was responsible for anywhere between 25 & 200 horses were actually slaughtered for the sake of a shot. SO – I don’t quite go holier than though on this kind of thing. I recognize it’s place in cultural history and well… they were striving for realism… in a cannibal flick… and Deodato… well he’s a two-fisted motherfucker with a camera. When I saw Eli’s film, I was shocked how pretty it was… that’s because for decades, the only way you could see this film was via some shitty dupey VHS that you could buy at Fan Conventions – and that’s how I came to know the film, from one of those copies that my bud Tom Joad showed me… several times. When I’ve seen CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST projected… it’d been a beat to hell bleached 35mm print that had seen its better days… Putting on this Blu Ray was… eye opening. The film is much more beautifully shot than those dupey prints ever gave it. There’s a roughness that Deodato’s flick has… that no filmmaker today is going to touch. I’m betting that this is the finest this film has ever looked… My fave, when the Leopard opens its jowls to roar and fogs up the lens! You get two commentaries on the film. Then there’s a whole second Blu Ray – with a nearly hour long interview with Deodato from 2011 where he discusses the Rainforest Terror Trilogy that this is the crown jewel of. There’s a 35+ minute interview with Robert Kerman about the film, which kind of must be seen. Nearly an hour with Carl Yorke… 38+ minutes with Francesca Ciardi, 30+ minutes with Salvatore Basile…. And that’s just the beginning, there’s more interviews, panels, Q&As and MORE!!! You also get a CD of the Soundtrack by Riz Ortolani! And a booklet that even has Eli Roth giving this film the nod he dares to give it! Just know… there was a time when filmmakers just went for it in a way that PROVOKES you to react… to feel outrage, disgust and these are powerful emotions. I always come away from the film loving my own experience of the sweet rainforest peoples that I’ve met in my journeys… and happy that cannibalism like most movie things… is one of those movie things and a product of more fiction than reality. But there’s one thing that is certain… once you’ve seen CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST… you’ll never quite go back to being the sweet normal person you’re not even aware that you currently are. This is a film that I decided that even my horror loving nephew shouldn’t see till he’s 17. This is very rough stuff. You couldn’t ask for a finer version of the film – and truly, if you’re a Cannibal fan, but can’t stand Animal Cruelty, you can still see all the human horror minus the animal cruelty - and I wouldn’t look down at you. Some things we don’t want polluting our noodles. It’s my job to get toxic. The disc allows you
THE FINAL TERROR Blu Ray
To be honest I didn’t go crazy in love with THE FINAL TERROR. It was made back in 1983, and it’s an ok enough slasher flick… there’s some nice photography in it, the cast is what kinda makes it a bit for me. I mean, this is crazy young hot Daryl Hannah and Rachel Ward – and it is a backwoods slasher flick – and they do last a good length of time… OR POSSIBLY TO THE END, giggle… and Joey Pants is in this sucker too. And to a degree knowing the potential of the cast, made me notice the limitations of the material. I mean it’s a neat footnote slasher flick… that SHOUT! has made look fantastic – and they’ve given us a great doc about the making of and oh – did I mention, this is all directed by Andrew Davis, who went on to direct THE FUGITIVE? See… talent abounds… this is just not quite up to any of this groups later material. But there’s glimpses, nice touches to discover. I might see it again with the right friend and maybe I’ll like it more or hate it more. I’m sort of conflicted with it right now.
BRING IT ON Blu Ray
I have to admit… I didn’t fully appreciate BRING IT ON initially. That’s fourteen years ago now, and well… My wife is significantly younger than me. She saw this film countless times. She was a cheerleader. And… she knows most of the routines and certainly all the dialogue. She can do the dances. She has friends, that also know how to watch this in a living room – and I just discover simple truths about life. Life is hilarious. And sirs… I can only speak as a weak man that has to admit. BRING IT ON is a really great time in my house. I howl laughing and I married well. And isn’t that worth $17? It is for my home. I didn’t get sent the Blu-ray, but you better believe I have it now. The disc came loaded with Extras – including a commentary by Peyton Reed. There’s even a home movie of the Car Wash scene… The studio certainly gives their audience something they can have a lot of fun with. Remember, perspective shifts with experiences. If you are one of those people that can’t stand this movie… I hope something in your life changes and introduces you to someone that can unleash the joy that this film has into your life. If you’re already a fan, you’re ahead of a whole lot of folks a lot less happy while watching this, and that’s usually a winning position.
CRY BABY Blu Ray
CRY BABY wipes its ass with BRING IT ON! Yes, I know I just sung the praises of BRING IT ON – and yes, in my house with my wife and the live film performance by the woman I love is a powerful swayer of experiences… But… I loved CRY BABY first! This movie is fucking COOL! Johnny Depp gives one of those performances that carved himself into the hearts of filmgoers with a Switchblade comb! I have a soft spot for Rockabilly – love the story of magical dangerous weirdoes in this world. As much as I love Tim Burton’s worlds of freaks, I honestly deep inside prefer the insane population of John Waters’ worlds of beautiful oddness in a deep down and dirty way! I can’t help but watch and LOVE EVERY FUCKING SECOND THAT I SPEND WITH THE CHARACTERS in this! Absolute love for this movie. I love the “IT CAME FROM BALTIMORE” featurette, the deleted scenes and the commentary by John Waters who is one of the greater deities of cinema prancing about the world today and for a long damn time! He was so ahead of every time in which a film of his has been released. Hoping and fighting to put on film something beautiful that he recognized. DIFFERENT IS BEAUTIFUL TOO! That’s the soul of every frame. The sooner you accept it, the sooner your life lets go of every asshole tendency you have had repressing the joy of your life the better. John Waters gets it! What? Everything! EDUCATE AND CELEBRATE!
MR PEABODY AND THE MERMAID Blu Ray
If you think John Waters is weird… MR PEABODY & THE MERMAID may be too risqué for ya. Now I know… It has William Powell “THE THIN MAN” – how could this be subversive? Well, think about William Powell, the man practically invented sophisticated sloshed characters that do wonderful things while drinking nearly to the state of hallucination or improbable writing. Not necessarily role model characters… heh… unless well, argument for another time… MR PEABODY & THE MERMAID is a very very odd movie. It begins with Powell’s wife Irene Hervey, perfectly lovely woman mind you, that goes into a psychiatrist’s office to tell him that her husband has fallen in love with a mermaid, she saw the tail once… in the bubble bath. Meanwhile Powell is outside the lobby with an annoying kid that think he’s a crazy man… he settles into the Doctor’s office and begins to relate the tale that we see, insisting that he’s sane… It all begins on his 50th birthday… a fact that reduced him upon the day which came after a long illness. Ok – there’s children, but they’re basically being cared for during the movie, as he and his wife are on vacation in a paradise. He hears singing that only he hears… he takes a fishing boat out… and he catches himself a mermaid played by Ann Blyth – and she looks absolutely magical… But… he’s a married man… and well, after he decides to TAKE HER BACK HOME TO THE VACATION HOME THAT HAS HIS WIFE IN IT AND MAKES THE MERMAID A BATH!!! I’m like thinking animal abuse, cuz this isn’t Little Mermaid or even SPLASH…. The mermaid does not generate human legs upon hitting the air… SHE IS PERMANENTLY HALF FISH – and she can’t talk… Now, wouldn’t you just let her go? He decides he’s going to teach her to kiss… and to be modest and wear a top? Obviously this man is insane! Teaching shame is a terrible thing. Seriously though – the film is AWESOME in ways that modern films have lost. CHARACTERS – and a good dose of zaniness can work! I loved how glitter makes magic in glorious Black & white. Loved this one!
OPERATION PETTICOAT Blu Ray
Blake Edwards is a well established genius for comedy and sexiness! His films always felt charged and they remain wonderful to this day. This one was made way back in 1959 and features Cary Grant and Tony Curtis upon the worst submarine in film history. I mean, WWII is going on… this screendoor submarine leads to hilarity when Grant is trying to get this nightmare of a boat to safety when they’re caught behind Japanese lines, having acquired some stranded Nurses… well let’s just say hijinks occur… This film is HILARIOUS! Unless you just don’t get it, in which case… what’s fucking wrong with you? Heh. I’m kidding. OH – remember MRS C from HAPPY DAYS… Marian Ross is oh my god YOUNG in this! Way to go MR. C!!! So cool!
Tuesday July 8th, 2014
JODOROWSKY’S DUNE Blu Ray
If you’re a film geek… advanced or not… there’s this thing you’ll discover… wet dreams that the FUCKING STUDIOS HAVE FUCKED UP AND DIDN’T GIVE US! JODOROWSKY’S DUNE is a movie I’ve dreamt about for a long time. I discovered DUNE through David Lynch’s film. I was 12, liked STING… Loved that badass forcefield armor that the slow blade passes. The concept of Spice intrigued me. Sandworm breaking rules. To my 12 year old brain it was plenty neat. I had the rayguns, the ships, the worms and a fucking awesome SANDBOX at my house. And my friends played. Then some adults said, “That movie sucked, the book was great!” I asked Dad about it and he liked both things as separate things – and gave me his copy of DUNE. What a fucking book! Then in 1990 I discovered Jodorowsky with El Topo and Holy Mountain… Dad felt it was time. Then while I researched this crazy fucking filmmaker at an actual library and I read that Jodorowsky was going to do this at one point. I didn’t have the details… but I couldn’t imagine what that film could possibly be. Then this amazing thing called the Internet exploded – and all the people with all the different pieces of the story, started writing little things here and there – and all us film geeks wet dream conversation about every emerging detail… And then there’s JODOROWSKY’S DUNE… it’s pretty much the best thing ever. I mean. To have it laid out… to hear how they got DALI… How he got Mick Jagger… How he got Moebius!!! RON COBB!!! H.R. Giger! DAN O’BANNON!!! And CHRIS FOSS – who is about to unleash some beautiful science fiction visions in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY… but back a long time ago, before the galaxy far far away was a twinkle in any of our eyes… masters were working to create a film of such majestic wonder and mind-expanding wowness… that of course, it could never get made. And perhaps we were saved the weirdest magnificent experience that none of us actually deserve… but you watch this movie and your dreams will be AWESOME! Just imagining Dali as the Emperor of the Universe alone… it’s just, it’d have been something. DUNE is still out there to be chased down and mastered. I just hope the right magnificent dreamer unleashes with the possibilities that that magnificent towering work of science fiction could be upon we lowly lovers of that magnificent tale! And the unsuspecting masses that NEED THEIR MINDS OPENED!
THE TIME MACHINE Blu Ray
I happen to be afflicted with a magnificent obsession with this particular movie. I happen to feel it is about as perfect a film as there has ever been. I love it. I have been a Morlock for Halloween, I do have a Morlock head taken from the original mold that was then painted and hairplugged and the guy even made the eyes light up and I DEARLY LOVE MY MORLOCK HEAD that I spent a completely reasonable amount upon… and I seriously can’t tell you how many times I’ve had the “What three books would you take?” conversation with not just my Dad, but everyone I’ve ever shown the film to… and I love it every time! And one day I’ll have one them damn cases with a working miniature motorized and lit up Time Machine that I’ll keep with a bent up cigar in it. THAT SAID… This is a placeholder Blu Ray. However, every man, woman and child you know you should gift this movie to. It is elegant and perfect, it makes lives better for hearing and watching and loving every second of. This title deserves and demands a masterful remastering. This is better than a DVD… but I would absolutely love if one of the greatest restoration teams on the planet got this as a project… found the best elements, frame by frame loving them all – and that’s only going to happen if this release succeeds. So this is a Film Geek Duty, that you’ll all love! This is a towering work of science fiction film making by the great GEORGE PAL, whose Director’s Chair and Script Bag I own. This film is magic through and through – and the great documentary about the film is here… However, a great new one could be made interviewing every major geek director you can think of LOVING ON THIS FILM! I mean… seriously. Warners… this is a MAJOR title! They rarely get better! Rod Taylor is just amazing in the film. Amazing. His best friend, Filby… one of my all time favorite best friend characters in the history of cinema! Alan Young and his accent in this I love. When I met Billy Boyd on LORD OF THE RINGS, every word out of his mouth felt like listening to additional tales from Filby… who had transformed into a curiously armored Hobbit at the time. I’d hire him to narrate the new doc they make for the super bells & whistles edition I wish existed, so BUY THIS FOR EVERYONE FOR ANY OCCASION!
LAKE PLACID Blu Ray
I loved every second of this in 1999 when it was released.. hard to believe that it’s been 15 years, but every line, every actor, every situation is just awesome. It’s about as serious as a Scooby Doo cartoon, and Betty White is a goddess on screen here! COOLEST OLD LADY EVER! Love the idea of her feeding cattle to her pet monster! And… probably more! Steve Miner did a great job, but David E. Kelley’s script is masterful here! A completely delightful creature feature. Watching with TREMORS always rocks! Or with Burt Reynold’s GATOR! Love the Croc Test Footage – as it’s Stan and his magicians working their beautiful magic on this beast! My fave bit though is the 31 minute Making of that SHOUT! kicked ass on like usual! This is a great great release on a wonderful little movie!
THE RAID 2 Blu Ray
There is something wrong with film today. Not nearly enough people paid to see this in a theater. I feel amazingly lucky to have waited to see this movie twice… the first time, the projector wouldn’t project the subtitles… and a couple days later, I waited hours to see THE RAID 2 again… that’s because THE RAID was one of the sheerest most badass asskicking holy fucks in recent action film memory. THE RAID 2 makes that film feel like an opening act… to a series that suddenly profoundly upped it’s game to a point, where it’s not only one of the greatest action films in the history of the form… But it is simply great film! Oh, boo hoo, you have to read the dialogue. Do you have any fucking idea how lame that is? You are missing out on something extraordinary. This isn’t just about the fights… this is magnificent grand filmmaking that demands comparisons to GODFATHER based upon framing, plotting and performances. FANTASTIC WORK! You kind of love every single character you come across – and as the asskicking commences… you’ll be a shivering puddle of piss with impact shockwaves made by your jumping up and down not caring! As great as it is with yourself in the middle of the afternoon… but boy you get pals together – the people you love to see the ABSOLUTE BEST SHIT IN THE WORLD WITH… You show them this and you get a sampling of what you missed having in a theatrical experience… Now the problem isn’t just the audience, SONY – the first film influenced CAPTAIN AMERICA: WINTER SOLDIER – “The Action Hero CAPTAIN AMERICA wishes he could be!” Seriously. When this movie turns a certain corner… this is one of sheerest most thrilling and adrenaline pumping great movies of all time – and man… I saw it with over a 1000 screaming, shrieking, cheering and thrilled audience members. The experience of that screening is one of those things that can and could have been repeated in every city in this country. Gareth Evans – I hope will be satisfied with making at least one more of these, because if you’re a studio head that can’t see the greatest living action filmmaker today – you need to wake the fuck up. This guy understands action the way Tarantino gets dialogue. Not only is the action better than just about everything ever… it’s how that action is shot and conceived that will blow you’re mind – and you feel about every character. Even if it’s a momentary emphatic explosion of pain you groan from… it’s amazing. If you want to make badass films, then watch the extras, where Gareth does great behind the scenes, great commentary… learn from this guy please… Wake up! WATCH THIS IMMEDIATELY! It gets you leaping for joy. This is everything we love about the great ones and he’s here making movies for us to love. LOVE IT BACK! Share the word about this one, everyone will thank you.
POINT BLANK Blu Ray
Wanna see another film that human beings don’t deserve? POINT BLANK – this is a fucking masterpiece! Directed by John Boorman and starring Lee Marvin in the role you probably know as being played by Mel Gibson in the criminally underrated PAYBACK! I like that film a whole lot, but POINT BLANK is just so much more. Try as he might, Mel just isn’t Lee Marvin… I can say that, because Mel didn’t scare the living shit out of the studio to deliver his director’s original vision. Lee Marvin did. Watch this film… you’ll see what I’m talking about, this film is one of John Boorman’s finest achievements and he’s had a lot of them! The Blu has a commentary that’s a conversation between Steven Soderbergh and John Boorman. That’s a very very very good thing! Beautiful transfer, great sound… a great cinematic experience!
SOUTHERN COMFORT Blu Ray
Think 48 HOURS is one of those miracle movies… one time super magic? Long before Walter Hill captured that lightning, he forged a bolt that not nearly as many people saw, but those that did, never missed another Walter Hill flick… cuz that’s how awesome Powers Boothe and Keith Carradine are in SOUTHERN COMFORT – First off – the movie is beautifully shot. The less you know going in, the better… but certainly we’re in an escalated situation from DELIVERANCE… Those two are magnificently joined by Fred Ward and Peter Coyote… but my personal hero in the film is Brion James (don’t ask him about his mother) as a Cajun trapper type that you’ll never forget. Oh – and Ry Cooder did the score for this and it’s amazing! AMAZING! Discover this one!
NYMPHOMANIAC Part 1 & 2 Blu Ray
Looking at that cover – how do you not want to see the movie. It’s exactly that crazy. It’s also kind of brilliant. Stellan Skarsgard and Charlotte Gainsbourg anchor a story of her decadent, frustrating, and unapologetic life. It is a tough epic about well, the title character throughout her life of awakening and realization. Powerful work by Lars Von Trier that’s never boring. Everyone does great brave work in this film and I wish this had a real and significant place upon the national film scene, sadly most will never even hear about it. But its audience will grow over time. This is a film that will absolutely find its deserved following! This is an important film.
BAD WORDS Blu Ray
Directed and starring Jason Bateman as a man that didn’t pass the 8th Grade, but has a photographic and powerful mind, enters a national Spelling Bee on the technicality that he indeed had ever graduated 8th Grade. Why is he doing this? You’ll see and the film on the way to that revelation and past is hilarious and awesome. Really great fun flick!
That’s it for this week… Next we’ll be checking out the awesome of Criterion’s release of Cronenberg’s SCANNERS! Oh… and UNDER THE SKIN Blu, Criterion’s PICKPOCKET Blu, MARTY Blu, RIO 2 3D Blu, DEADLY EYES Blu, ARCH OF TRIUMPH Blu, ARMORED ATTACK Blu, OPEN GRAVE Blu, I ESCAPED FROM DEVIL’S ISLAND Blu, SX TAPE Blu and more! Till then, keep watching those screens, I will!
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