Rupert Pupkin Speaks: February 2011

Monday, February 28, 2011

M.I.A. on Blu-Ray Vol. 7: WTF?!(Musicals)

VOYAGE OF THE ROCK ALIENS(1984; James Fargo)
I first saw the trailer for this film New Beverly Cinema screening being conducted by the venerable duo of Zack Carlson and Lars Nilsen(of the Alamo Drafthouse). It pretty much blew my mind and I spent the next 6 months trying to track down a decent copy so I could see this monstrosity. Finally found an import DVD that wasn't too bad and was quite pleased. In finally seeing this film I must say that, for me, it lived up to my expectations. It comes correct right out of the gate with what is basically a completely unconnected Jermaine Jackson music video. Only gets weirder from there. The oddball cast is led by Pia Zadora, an adolescent Craig Sheffer and Ruth Gordon. Oh and Michael Berryman, always a nice addition. Just a whacked out fantasy beyond belief. Needs to be seen. And on Blu-Ray. Now.




HELLO DOWN THERE(1969; Jack Arnold/Ricou Browning)
When I was pretty young I recall reading a book about underwater homes. It was set up to be a wave of the future type of thing and the book(little to my knowledge then was probably written in the 1960s) seemed to indicate that we would all soon be living underwater. It was a really neat book for me(I wish I could recall the title) and really captured my imagination. I daresay it was an early influence on my decision to want to be a marine biologist(this idea got me through my second year of college where I switched to film studies). Anyway, there are those films that are really just of their time and place and viewed outside that context(or even IN that context) are just odd to say the least. HELLO DOWN THERE is one of those films. The film focuses on the test run of an underwater dwelling called 'The Green Onion" which Randall's character designed. Hard to believe it was directed by Jack Arnold, he of CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON fame(among many others). This film does come at the end of a long line of comedies (musical and otherwise) for him which effectively began with the 'comedy'(and camp classic) HIGH SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL in 1958. He did a few Bob Hope comedies along the way(BACHELOR IN PARADISE in 1961 & A GLOBAL AFFAIR in 1964) and a youth car racing 'drama' called THE LIVELY SET a few years prior to HELLO DOWN THERE. It seems to be grasping desperately for a youthful audience, so I am very curious just how well it connected upon it's first release. For now, it stands as a unique piece of cinematic fromage unlike too many I've seen. The cast alone is enough to draw me in. Between a rocking Richard Dreyfuss, a domestic Janet Leigh & Tony Randall and a blustering Jim Backus, you're pretty set. Roddy McDowall pops up as a record exec. Charlotte Rae & Arnold Stang are thrown in for extra flavor. Add 2 dolphins & some hilariously silly(and awkward) musical numbers and there you have it. Features an an opening sequence that feels equal parts INCREDIBLE MR. LIMPET & JABBERJAW. Was reissued under the title SUB A DUB DUB. The Paramount DVD has dropped out of print and the film is no longer available on Netflix, which is unfortunate as it is pretty unique. Begs to be seen with a crowd and I would certainly attend any screening that ever came to pass. A Blu-Ray seems beyond unlikely, but I would still buy one for sure.







STRANGERS IN PARADISE(1984; Ulli Lommel)
A film truly defining of the words 'head scratcher'. Plot summary(from IMDB): "Mesmerist Jonathan Sage escapes Nazi Germany via a cryogenic tube. In the 1980s, a group of Fascist Americans thaw him out, hoping to use him as a way to rid their community of homosexuals, free-thinkers, and other "radicals." The story is interspersed with many rock dance numbers."
Sound weird? Yeah well you have no idea. This one is nearly incomprehensible, but I must say memorable in some way. Directed, co-written and starring actor Ulli Lommel this has to have been some kind of vanity piece or something. I can hardly describe so see a few clips below:







THE APPLE(1980; Menahem Golan)
Much has been written on this one, so I'll just say it certainly has the following to warrant a Blu-Ray release. Another that is truly one of a kind to say the least. Nice essay on it by Witney Seibold here. Currently still on Netflix Instant. If you've missed it thusfar, you should consider correcting that.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Netflix Instant "Gems" Vol. 12


I'm trying an alphabetical listing this time, see what you think. Some new additions here and some reminders for stuff that's been on Instant for a while. Enjoy!


AIRBORNE(1993; Rob Bowman)
ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS(1955; Douglas Sirk)
BACKTRACK!(1969; Earl Bellamy)
THE BLACK STALLION(1979; Carroll Ballard)
BLADE RUNNER: THEATRICAL CUT(1982; Ridley Scott)
BLAZING SADDLES(1974; Mel Brooks)
A BREED APART(1984; Philipe Mora)
CIRCUS(Series; 2010)
COMA(1978; Michael Crichton)
COOL WORLD(1992; Ralph Bakshi)
COLE YOUNGER, GUNFIGHTER(1958; R.G. Springsteen)
CREATURE WITH THE BLUE HAND(1967; Alfred Vohrer)
DAYS OF THUNDER(1990; Tony Scott)
DEADFALL(1968; Bryan Forbes)
DEATH OF A GUNFIGHTER(1969; Don Siegel/Robert Totten)
DELICATESSEN(1991; Jean-Pierre Jeunet/Marc Caro)
DOWN TERRACE(2009; Ben Wheatley)
EERIE, INDIANA(Series; 1991)
THE ELEPHANT MAN(1980; David Lynch)
F FOR FAKE(1973; Orson Welles)
FISH TANK(2009; Andrea Arnold)
FLAMING STAR(1960; Don Siegel)
FOLLOW THAT DREAM(1962; Gordon Douglas)
FRANTIC(1988; Roman Polanksi)
GAILY, GAILY(1969; Norman Jewison)
GAMES(1967; Curtis Harrington)
GREAT NORTHFIELD MINNESOTA RAID(1972; Philip Kaufman)
HAPPY GILMORE(1996; Dennis Dugan)
IMITATION OF LIFE(1959; Douglas Sirk)
KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE(1988; Stephen Chiodo)
KRUSH GROOVE(1985; Michael Schultz)
LESS THAN ZERO(1987; Marek Kanievska)
NO MAN OF HER OWN(1950; Mitchell Leisen)
PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK(1975; Peter Weir)
RASHOMON(1950; Akira Kurosawa)
RATCATCHER(1999; Lynne Ramsay)
RIOT(1969; Buzz Kulik)
THE SHEEPMAN(1958; George Marshall)
SIX AGAINST THE ROCK(1987; Paul Wendkos)
SKELETON COAST(1987; John 'Bud' Cardos)
SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW(2004; Kerry Conran)
THE STING II(1983; Jeremy Kagan)
SUPERMAN THE MOVIE(1978; Richard Donner)
SUPERMAN II(1980; Richard Lester)
TALL MAN RIDING(1955; Lesley Selander)
TIMESTALKERS(1987; Michael Schultz)
VENGEANCE VALLEY(1951; Richard Thorpe)
WESTBOUND(1959; Budd Boetticher)
WICHITA(1955; Jacques Tourneur)
THE WILBY CONSPIRACY(1975; Ralph Nelson)
WINCHESTER '73(1950; Anthony Mann)
ZELIG(1983; Woody Allen)

















Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My top 20(ish) of 2010


Took me a few months into this new year to catch up with more films from 2010. The timing on this list coincides with the release of the 2010 Top Ten lists by my friends over at The Gentlemen's Guide To Midnite Cinema. I know I'll take some heat for this, but I found myself pretty underwhelmed by three of this years critical darlings (BLACK SWAN, 127 HOURS and THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT). Not sure if I was just burning out a bit(having just about hit 500 movies for the year last year by the time I saw each of them) or if the hype was just too much or what. I had a good deal of trouble with hype this in 2010 and I always have. Somehow, I'm subconsciously setting up my expectations for something that perhaps isn't possible. Some kind of perfect film. A film that engages me emotionally and goes places I don't expect. It's a tough thing to achieve today what with so much critical coverage of films online. I avoid reading too much but some films just carry so much buzz around them that it is hard to ignore. On the other end of the spectrum, I had several films that I expected very little from end up being enjoyable. I know there might be some heat for including those "lesser" films on my list, but I had to go with the films I responded to, for whatever reason. Anyway, here's what I liked from 2010:



1. WINTER'S BONE(Director: Debra Granik)
2. THE FIGHTER
(Director: David O. Russell)
3. WAITING FOR SUPERMAN
(Director: Davis Guggenheim)
4. TOY STORY 3
(Director: Lee Unkrich)
5. INCEPTION
(Director: Christopher Nolan)
6.
SHUTTER ISLAND
(Director: Martin Scorsese)
7. THE SOCIAL NETWORK
(Director: David Fincher)
8. GREENBERG
(Director: Noah Baumbach)
9. MONSTERS
(Director: Gareth Edwards)
10. CATFISH
(Directors: Henry Joost/Ariel Schulman)
11. SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD
(Director: Edgar Wright)
12. BLUE VALENTINE
(Director: Derek Cianfrance)
13.
RABBIT HOLE
(Director: John Cameron Mitchell)
14. THE WOLFMAN
(Director: Joe Johnston)
15.
EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP
(Director: Banksy)
16. TRON LEGACY
(Director: Joseph Kosinski)
17. TRUE GRIT
(Directors: Joel & Ethan Coen)
18. PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2
(Director: Tod Williams)
19. DEVIL
(Director: John Erick Dowdle)
20. UNSTOPPABLE
(Director: Tony Scott)

Honorable mentions:
THE AMERICAN
WINNEBAGO MAN
BLACK
SWAN
KICK-ASS

PIRANHA 3-D
HOT TUB TIME MACHINE
EASY A
BEST WORST MOVIE
AMERICAN GRINDHOUSE

DESPICABLE ME


Need to see:

MARWENCOL

TINY FURNITURE

CARLOS

FOUR LIONS

THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES
DOGTOOTH

MOTHER

MACHETE

AMER
LET ME IN

THE KING'S SPEECH
WASTE LAND

PLEASE GIVE

SWEETGRASS

DADDY LONGLEGS

45365

TRASH HUMPERS

ANOTHER YEAR











Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Must Love Trolls.


I was able to catch THE TROLL HUNTER over the weekend and I absolutely adored it. As much as I'm sure many folks are sick to death of the 'found footage' genre in general, this movie really worked even inside of that context. Solid special effects for what is undoubtedly a low-budget production(an estimated $3 mllion I believe). It straddles a nice line between fantasy and horror and I really dug that. Definitely my favorite film of this year so far. My friend Brian Kelley wrote up a nice review of it last October when he caught it at Fantastic Fest. I've been quite impressed with a lot of Norwegian genre films over the past few years. Always looking forward to the next one. Apparently Universal has THE TROLL HUNTER remake rights. Not sure that will be any good, but it will no doubt compel more folks to check out the original which is only a good thing.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

My Guest Post over at Severin Films Blog!


The wonderful folks over at Severin films were kind enough to invite me to participate in their 'clip of the day' series going on right now over at their blog. Each person gets to pick a scene from a Severin film to discuss. It's a great series and I recommend you check out all the entries. I picked Brian Trenchard-Smith's 80s classic BMX BANDITS. Have a look at the clip(which looks gorgeous by the way)!
BMX BANDITS is coming on Blu-Ray from Severin on 3/15/11!


Monday, February 7, 2011

M.I.A. on Blu-Ray Vol. 6: Frank Perry!


So I was showing my wife a bit of Frank Perry's film LAST SUMMER the other night off of the dvr(was shown recently on TCM) and I realized that he has no films at all on blu-ray. I was a little shocked about this, but then I also realized that several of his great films(PLAY IT AS IT LAYS, DIARY OF A MAD HOUSEWIFE and even LAST SUMMER) are still not even available on DVD! Truly a shame. Carrie Snodgress(who was totally underused in general) gives such a great performance in HOUSEWIFE. A couple of my favorite Perry films, THE SWIMMER & RANCHO DELUXE, are no longer even in print on DVD. RANCHO is up right now on Netflix Instant thankfully, as is his rarity LADYBUG LADYBUG. As far as his campy titles, MOMMIE DEAREST(perhaps one of his best known films) is out there on DVD, but MONSIGNOR is not. Christopher Reeve fans may find MONSIGNOR of some interest. An odd film for sure but interesting. Another of his that I like a lot is DAVID & LISA and that one is on DVD at least and can be found easily. Anyway, it seems to me that outside of the rumored release of LAST SUMMER through the Warner Archive, that it may be a long time before many of these others are ever available on DVD(reissued or for the 1st time) let alone blu-ray. A filmmaker of Perry's caliber deserves to be more widely available. Again, perhaps these movies will end up the fodder of high definition broadcasts, but that may be it unless Criterion steps in at some point.






Thursday, February 3, 2011

Netflix Instant "Gems" Vol. 11


I just went through all my spending for last year on DVDs and I was quite appalled. I've made it my goal to spend less on movies this year and one way I've done that is to join up at a little site called SwapaDVD.com. Neat little club. I recommend to all trying to rid their collections of junk. I've found a bunch of cool DVDs there and it's a lot cheaper than what I had been doing. Anyway, I started to notice a trend of films that pop up on Netflix Instant starting to get dumped onto swapadvd soon after. Doesn't always happen, but it seems to show a general trend towards folks getting rid of physical media in favor of streaming. Totally makes sense. Not sure I will ever be able to give up physical media altogether myself, but I respect those who can. I'm also happy to take their DVDS. In regards to this new list-there are some fun Disaster flicks on Instant right now. Many of them focusing on natural disasters(TOWERING INFERNO, THE SWARM, WHEN TIME RAN OUT) and others are disasters onto themselves(XANADU, DREAMCATCHER). I enjoy both types.


1. LAURA(1944; Otto Preminger)
2. THE RIGHT STUFF(1983; Philip Kaufman)
3. THE HUDSUCKER PROXY(1994; Joel/Ethan Coen)
4. THE TOWERING INFERNO(1974; John Guillerman)
5. THE WOLF MAN(1941; George Waggner)
4. SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT(1977; Hal Needham)
5. THE STING(1973; George Roy Hill)
6. MATINEE(1993; Joe Dante)
7. THE NAKED SPUR(1953; Anthony Mann)
8. THE STALKING MOON(1968; Robert Mulligan)
9. RUMBLEFISH(1983; Francis Ford Coppola)
10. 3:15(1986; Larry Gross)
11. THE SWARM(1978; Irwin Allen)
12. BEDAZZLED(1967; Stanley Donen)
13. XANADU(1980; Robert Greenwald)
14. THE SNAKE PIT(1948; Anatole Litvak)
15. ODDS AGAINST TOMORROW(1959; Robert Wise)
16. LENNY(1974; Bob Fosse)
17. THE DAYTRIPPERS(1995; Greg Mottola)
18. CROUPIER(1998; Mike Hodges)
19. DREAMSCAPE(1984; Joseph Ruben)
20. BATTLEGROUND(1949; William A. Wellman)
21. STATE OF GRACE(1990; Phil Joanou)
22. THE IRON GIANT(1999; Brad Bird)
23. THE BOOST(1988; Harold Becker)
24. SCENES FROM THE GOLDMINE(1987; Marc Rocco)
25. WHEN TIME RAN OUT(1980; James Goldstone)
26. DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS(1988; Frank Oz)
27. REVENGE(1990; Tony Scott)
28. DREAMCATCHER(2003; Lawrence Kasdan)
29. HARLEY DAVIDSON AND THE MARLBORO MAN(1991; Simon Wincer)
30. BREAKIN'(1984; Joel Silberg)
31. THE COTTON CLUB(1984; Francis Ford Coppola)
32. ALICE'S RESTAURANT(1969; Arthur Penn)
33. THE HOSPITAL(1971; Arthur Hiller)
34. WOMAN IN THE WINDOW(1944; Fritz Lang)
35. DREAMANIAC(1986; David DeCoteau)
36. SON OF FRANKENSTEIN(1939; Rowland V. Lee)
37. GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN(1942; Erle C. Kenton)
38. CIRCUS OF HORRORS(1960; Sidney Hayers)
39. THE OCTOBER MAN(1947; Roy Ward Baker)
40. LATE FOR DINNER(1991; W.D. Richter)
41. THE SPELL(1977; Lee Phillips)
42. SCREAMTIME(1983; Michael Armstrong/Stanley A. Long)
43. PIER 5, HAVANA(1959; Edward L. Cahn)
44. STREET PEOPLE(1976; Maurizio Lucidi/Guglielmo Garonni)
45. VICE RAID(1960; Edward L. Cahn)
46. FLASH OF GREEN(1984; Victor Nunez)
47. GETTING EVEN(1988; Leandro Luchetti)
47. THE MAMBO KINGS(1992; Arne Glimcher)
48. MY MOM'S A WEREWOLF(1989; Michael Fischa)












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