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Friday, October 19, 2018

Just The Pods Vol. 16

Great interview with TV Movie authority Amanda Reyes (author of Are You In the House Alone: a TV Movie Compendium: 1964-1999) about BAD RONALD (which has just come to Blu-ray via Warner Archive) and other TV Movie Favorites. Very enjoyable listen with lots of good stuff recommended:

THE 4:30 MOVIE - "Under The Sea" Week
This excellent podcast is new to me and I'm really enjoying it so far. It features a quartet of film loving gentlemen (Mark A. Altman, Ashley Miller, Steven Melching and Daren Dochterman) who program a virtual week of the old 4:30 Movie - with each of them picking a movie for days Monday through Thursday and then all joining in to help pick what would play on Friday. This episode was a lot of fun as it featured the likes of 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA, ICE STATION ZEBRA as well as great discussions of some other underwater gems:

First episode of this new season of THE COMPLETE and they're coving one of my favorite directors in Elaine May and one of my favorite films in A NEW LEAF:

On this episode of the this podcast centering around all things Eric Roberts (they even have a segment of the show where they talk through Roberts' latest tweets), Stephanie Crawford joins in to discuss his 1997 film THE SHADOW MEN. Hosts Doug Tilley and Liam O'Donnell keep things lively and fun and this show is always very enjoyable listen.

THE MOVIES THAT MADE ME - John Wyatt (Founder of Cinespia)
Cinespia founder John Wyatt runs us through a list of movies that should be better known than they are. It's a very cool list of films, many of which I like very much:

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Underrated '78 - KC (Of a Classic Movie Blog)

Kendahl "KC" Cruver writes about movies at A Classic Movie Blog. You can find her all over the web:

Long Weekend
I suppose this Aussie nature horror flick is underseen depending on the audience. It’s legendary in certain circles, but I still get plenty of blank looks whenever I mention it. A selfish, emotionally destructive couple with a strained marriage takes off for a long weekend camping on an isolated beach. They trash their campsite: leaving garbage, harming animals, and otherwise causing unnecessary damage without a thought to the consequences. Soon nature seems to take revenge on them and they are such awful people that you want to stand up and cheer.
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The Cheap Detective
There’s a good reason this goofy film is mostly forgotten today; once it loses momentum, it loses it fast. I snort laughed through the first half though. Peter Falk does a perfect Bogie impression while somehow also being very Peter Falk in this spoof of Humphrey Bogart’s classic films. The huge cast is 70s magic: Madeleine Kahn, Ann-Margret, Eileen Brennan, Sid Caesar, Stockard Channing, James Coco, Louise Fletcher, Dom DeLuise, John Houseman, Paul Williams, and that’s about half the cast. Fernando Lamas plays the Paul Henreid role from Casablanca; who made that weird, but ultimately kind of fitting casting decision? It’s a shame it all fizzles out in the end, but it is still well worth seeing.
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The Cat From Outer Space
I am in general a fan of the exuberant acting and top notch casting in live action Disney flicks of the seventies, but nothing pleases me more than this flick. My delight in observing an alien cat, who thanks to a magical collar has power over space and time, confirms that there will always be a part of me that remains 10-years-old. Ken Berry and Sandy Duncan are adorable as brilliant military scientists who flirt with each other in the most wholesome way. They keep planning picnics, but they have to deal with the alien cat first. As usual, the presence of Harry Morgan, Roddy McDowall, and McLean Stevenson makes it all even better.
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Amitabh Bacchan is such a big deal. How big you ask? He inspires such fan loyalty that once when he was gravely ill, a fan walked backwards across their home country of India to bring him luck. You get an idea why the lanky, self-confident Bacchan is so adored in this lively crime flick, which is full of acrobatic fight scenes, slick quips, and the snappy sort of musical numbers common in Hindi films. He plays the titular Don, a mobster who seems to have a psychic ability to know who is going to double cross him and catching the culprit before he can make a move. He inspires the ladies to sing and dance, delights his motley crew with his clever cool, and cuts a rug like a champ.
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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Unerrated '78 - Evan Purchell

Evan lives in Austin and can be found on Twitter and Letterboxd.

There are so many great films from 1978 that I’m sure will wind up on other lists, so I thought I’d try something a little different and focus on some of my favorite gay-themed films from the year -- all of which I’d say are underseen. 

EL DIPUTADO (dir. Eloy de la Iglesia)
Eloy de la Iglesia's homosexuality and his staunch support of socialism had always existed in his films, though it wasn't until the end of the Franco regime that he could express both openly. EL DIPUTADO is the film where everything comes together, mixing the bisexual melodrama of his previous LOS PLACERES OCULTOS with a blackmail plot reminiscent of Dearden's VICTIM as a means of criticizing the continuing criminalization of homosexuality even after the end of the dictatorship. Made during Spain's transition to democracy, the film is fascinating not just for its frankness, but for how Iglesia uses his narrative to document the country's history in real time, using real protests and marches as the setting for his character's simultaneous sexual and political awakenings.

The second in Joe Gage’s trucker trilogy is perhaps the ultimate ‘buddy’ film, teaming returning star Richard Locke with macho icon (and LA PLAYS ITSELF director) Fred Halsted for a road trip that’s as openly inspired by Argento and Truffaut as it is Tom of Finland and Boyd McDonald’s STRAIGHT TO HELL zine. Gage’s early films were a sensation upon release, heavily advertised in mainstream outlets (including TV!) and birthing a sexual ethos and fashion style all of their own -- the freewheeling, masculine Gage Man. His explorations of sexual fluidity, male camaraderie, and voyeuristic lust have held up remarkably well and are just waiting to be rediscovered by a new generation. They haven’t had the best treatment on home video -- many VHS and DVD editions of EL PASO are missing nearly 30 minutes -- so let’s hope that Vinegar Syndrome or some other adventurous distributor will step up and give them the care they deserve.

GAY USA (dir. Arthur J. Bressan, Jr.)
Made as a direct response to Anita Bryant’s anti-gay crusade and the ongoing threat of the Briggs Initiative, Arthur Bressan’s document of six simultaneous Pride celebrations across the US manages to be as politically-minded as it is celebratory. Parades were nothing new for Bressan, whose erotic drama Passing Strangers climaxed at the 1974 Gay Freedom Day parade in San Francisco, so he knows not to focus on the spectacle, but on the community itself -- here newly-energized and dealing with issues of identity, language, and public opinion while still learning about its past. To say that it’s still relevant is an understatement. Streaming for free through Frameline here.

A hardcore travelogue made by a group of French filmmakers on a visit to America, NEW YORK CITY INFERNO is the gay equivalent of an Agnès Varda film (really!). Using a thin fictional narrative as the webbing for a series of vignettes, director Scandelari takes the audience on a tour of all of New York’s major cruising spots: the Piers, the Meatpacking District, the Spike, the Broadway Arms Baths, and a finale at the infamous Mineshaft, all set to a throbbing Village People beat. French directors like Scandelari and Norbert Terry saw their sex films as tools for gay liberation, and it shows here in the unscripted interviews with American gay activists and French expats that break up the action. Who says you can’t educate AND titillate at the same time?

Scandelari’s follow-up, NEW YORK AFTER MIDNIGHT (aka MONIQUE) is no less compellingly inexplicable, reflecting what I imagine was his creeping disillusionment with America -- the grungy, utopian sexual paradise of his earlier film reimagined as a claustrophobic, paranoid nightmare of past sexual trauma and its strobe-induced reverberations into the present. Written by Louisa Rose, whose only other screenwriting credit for DePalma’s SISTERS should clue you in to what to expect from this -- well, maybe not the musical cameo from straight-for-pay porn-star-turned-soap-star Wade Nichols.

NIGHTHAWKS (dir. Ron Peck)
One of the first British films to focus on gay life, rather than just use it as a plot point, Ron Peck’s NIGHTHAWKS follows a grade-school teacher trapped in London’s cruise scene, closeted at work by day and hitting the clubs for fleeting hookups by night. Peck’s film fully embodies the repetition of the scene it depicts, but his intention isn’t to cast judgment on its participants, but rather to highlight the claustrophobia of living a double life. German director Frank Ripploh lifted the scenario for his own TAXI ZUM KLO a few years later, but his take is more outrageous and comic than Peck’s. Both are very much worth the watch.

A biker film that owes more to PLAY IT AS IT LAYS than it does to STRAY CAT ROCK, Hôjin Hashiura's deeply nihilistic debut feature follows a trio of depressed, glue-sniffing youths cast adrift in a Japan torn between generations. Although the main two character arcs are compelling enough, it's the third that's most interesting -- that of the effeminate gay teen whose drug abuse and suicidal urges stem directly from Japan's repressive society and his wealthy family's desire for an heir that he can never produce. A well-worn stereotype (and one played by Anthony Perkins in the Frank Perry film), sure, but Hashiura and only-time actor Kazuhito Takei imbue the character with a level of sympathy that you just don't see in Japanese films from the era.

SEXTETTE (dir. Ken Hughes)
Mae West’s swan song is like the television special from hell, a parade of regrettable cameos and unfortunate musical interludes chained together by a constant stream of smutty jokes and cornball hijinx. Something like this is beyond camp -- a bawdy farewell that's as cheap as it is extravagant, like the vaseline that's frequently smeared on the camera lens to hide Mae's age. Dom DeLuise tapdances on a piano, so there's that, too? Pair with Tom DeSimone’s CHATTERBOX for maximum effect.

Eight other recommendations:
THE ALIEN FACTOR (dir. Don Dohler)

DESPAIR (dir. Rainer Werner Fassbinder)

JENNIFER (dir. Brice Mack)


ÓPALO DE FUEGO (dir. Jess Franco)

THE REDEEMER: SON OF SATAN! (dir. Constantine S. Gochis)

THE WHOLE SHOOTIN’ MATCH (dir. Eagle Pennell)
-->s new roman" , serif;">REMEMBER MY NAME (dir. Alan Rudolph)

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Just The Discs - Episode 76 - Aykroyd Chattin' (DOCTOR DETROIT and CELTIC PRIDE)

This week, Brian is joined by longtime online friend Tom Nix to discuss two very different Dan Aykroyd Movies. First his odd and yet very interesting headlining debut - DOCTOR DETROIT, followed by the much more problematic racial kidnapping basketball "comedy" CELTIC PRIDE (written by Judd Apatow). 

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Discs Discussed on this Episode:
DOCTOR DETROIT (Shout Factory)
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CELTIC PRIDE (Kino Lorber)
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Monday, October 15, 2018

New Release Roundup for the Week of October 16th, 2018

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SHAMPOO on Blu-ray (Criterion)
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SCHLOCK on Blu-ray (Arrow)
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DRACULA A.D. 1972 on Blu-ray (Warner Archive)
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SHORT NIGHT OF GLASS DOLLS on Blu-ray (Twilight Time)
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KAZAAM on Blu-ray (Kino Lorber)
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IT'S PAT on Blu-ray (Kino Lorber)
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SANGAREE on 3D Blu-ray (Kino Lorber)
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SWORD OF SHERWOOD FOREST on Blu-ray (Twilight Time)
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BLACK WIDOW on Blu-ray (Twilight Time)
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THE ADVENTURES OF HAJJI BABA on Blu-ray (Twilight Time)
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CITY SLICKERS on Blu-ray (Shout Factory)
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