Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Favorite Film Discoveries of 2012 - Paul Freitag-Fey ""

Monday, January 7, 2013

Favorite Film Discoveries of 2012 - Paul Freitag-Fey

Paul is the man behind the sensational Psychotronic Netflix Facebook group. Go there, like it and watch as the great Netflix Streaming film recs start rolling in!

The Great Gabbo (1929)
How the hell this insane film not more widely known and loved? Easily the best non-horror film about a ventriloquist, Erich Von Stroheim stars as the titular showman in love with a dancer who won’t stay with him because, well, he’s a colossal jerk. And also, he’s Erich Von Stroheim. The girl does, however, like the dummy, who gives Gabbo his humanity. Bizarre musical numbers, cryptically hilarious performance sequences, scenes entirely in untranslated German – James Cruze’s film, best seen in its’ uncut, 92-minute form, has to be viewed to be truly believed.
On Youtube here: 

Fear is the Key (1972)
The second half of this thriller based on an Alistair MacLean novel (as was the style at the time) is more “good” than “great,” but the first half, involving a long car chase as Barry Newman seems to be nothing more than a dangerous psycho on a road rage-filled path of destruction, is prime ‘70s action movie grit. Sure, once the plot comes into play, it becomes a standard formula, but there’s still plenty of fun to be had.

Some Girls Do (1969)
I don’t really understand why this sequel to the Bulldog Drummond film DEADLIER THAN THE MALE isn’t as well-regarded as the original – sure, it’s sillier, but it’s still a lot of fun, and it’s probably the best film ever made using the “Fembot” idea.

The Boys from Brazil (1978)
Ira Levin’s work has been responsible for some hugely entertaining concept films, and I finally caught up with his “Hitler clones” movie this year. It’s an amazing blend of stuff that works really well and stuff that doesn’t work at all (most notably Gregory Peck as the fuhrer-cloning Dr. Mengele) that, put together in one tidy package, becomes insanely entertaining even if it’s not always for reasons that director Franklin Schaffner imagined.

Positive I.D. (1986)
Andy Anderson’s independent film, given a substantial theatrical release at the time by Universal, vanished into obscurity, but deserves to be better known as it’s a very unique take on the “rape/revenge” film that’s as concerned with the psychological ramifications of how a victim is seen by others after the incident as it is with being an exploitative thriller. Stephanie Rascoe is excellent as the lead, a married woman who invents a new identity, seemingly because she can no longer identify with the person she’s perceived as by others after a well-publicized sexual assault.

Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974)
I’ve been working my way through Fassbinder films I haven’t seen, and this was the best I saw this year – no minor feat. Ostensibly an examination of class and race prejudice that erupts when an older German woman starts a relationship with an Arabic worker, ALI has strong performances and so many beautifully awkward moments that it’s not an easy one to shake off.

Fear No More (1961)
The best-produced of Something Weird’s “Weird Noir” set, there’s nothing exceptionally unique about the set up of this thriller – a young woman witnesses a murder on a train, but nobody believes that it’s happened – but it’s a well-paced, well-acted, twisty little tale, and features THE HYPNOTIC EYE himself, Jacques Bergerac, as the romantic lead.

The SnakeEater Trilogy (1989-1992)
As these three films were all released as straightforward, generic action pics, I never gave them a second glance in the video store at the time. Shame, as these Lorenzo Lamas vehicles are actually highly entertaining tongue-in-cheek flicks with a charm all their own, partially thanks to Lamas’ deadpan delivery as an ex-Marine who goes by Jack Kelly, “Solider” or “Snake Eater,” depending on who’s asking. The first film starts out as a cop movie, then becomes a bayou revenge thriller after Kelly’s motorcycle is turned into a boat. The second one involves Kelly getting put into a mental institution and breaking out at night in order to fight drug lords, a bit like DEATH WISH 4 meets CUCKOO’S NEST. The final chapter (to date!) has him facing off against a bunch of evil bikers who keep a sex-crazed vegetable woman hostage. They’re all highly entertaining.

Barton Fink (1991)
Yeah, I’d never watched BARTON FINK before. Sue me. You’re all right, it’s great.

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