Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Favorite Film Discoveries of 2012 - James McCormick ""

Friday, March 8, 2013

Favorite Film Discoveries of 2012 - James McCormick

James is a busy movie lovin fella. Check out all his current activity below:

-CriterionCast, the only podcast around which delves into the Criterion Collection, discusses the films in depth and spreading the joy that is the collection itself. They've also formed with a network of shows now.

-cineAWESOME! is the podcast he does with Rufus and Billy, where they take two films every week and do a concise review, around an hour long, and just link them together with some amazing titles for the episodes.

-3 The Hard Way Podcast-James' latest endeavor, this is a monthly film podcast that focuses on Trilogies. Hosted by Death Rattle Aaron, James, and Ghetto Tim. New episode the first Friday of every month.
James is also very active on twitter:
Additionally, he has contributed a few other lists to Rupert Pupkin Speaks over the years:
"Bad" Movies We Love:
Film Discoveries of  2010:
It was hard to pick just 10 films that I saw this past year that were the best I've seen for the first time. Hell, I could have picked 30 to 50 films that I saw for the first time, but decided to not run the risk of boring everyone. Unless you want to hear about a ton of insane films that I saw, so maybe I'll write that up down the line. But with companies like Shout! Factory/Scream Factory, Warner Archive, Olive Films, MGM on Demand, Criterion and so many other great niche companies, this is the best time to be a film fan. This list is in no specific order because I think all of these are worthy in their own way of being number 1.

Pieces(1982)- This was my biggest film that I saw this year, one that I was shocked I had never seen before. For some reason, I think I always confused it for Torso, so whenever someone would ask me if I had seen Pieces, I would say, "Of course. What do you take me for?" But when I bought the Arrow UK release of Pieces, I threw it on and didn't recognize it at all and was amazed about how batshit insane it was. Kung fun teachers attacking out of nowhere, a kid killing his mom because she won't let him put together a filthy puzzle, crotch ripping, and the word 'Bastards!' never sounding the same to me again makes this a film that I will be watching over and over again.

Miami Connection(1987) - Surprisingly I didn't see this film until this year, mainly from everyone speaking about it in the community. And with Drafthouse Films announcing their putting it out, I wanted to see it the way it should be seen first. On VHS. And I was not let down. Actually, this was even better than I could have imagined. There's not much that I can say that would do it justice, so I will say that I've watched this film possibly a total of 5 times and will probably end up watching Dragon Sound fight crime violently in Orlando. I mean Miami. I found my father! Ohmygahhhhd!

Weekend(2011) - Considering CriterionCast hasn't done as many Criterion centered episode this past year due to our schedules being tighter and also deciding to devote more time with each film, many films we covered this year were films we wanted to do for awhile, such as Godzilla or Robocop. But when we chose Andrew Haigh's 2011 film Weekend, a story of a one night stand that becomes so much more that is truly one of the most beautiful romances I've personally ever seen on celluloid. It was a pleasure and a thrill to review it on the podcast and since then I've spread the word on how good this film is. Love comes when you least expect it, and I feel privileged to have seen this fantastic film, the newest one on this list.

Rope of Sand(1949) - When I saw this film sitting on a shelf at a library here in Brooklyn, I looked at the cover and saw Burt Lancaster and thought, "I've somehow never heard about this film and it has the Lancaster, I need to see it." And it was from Olive Films, who I love to death and really dig their choices for their catalog. This is also a film noir, which made me happy because whenever I find one I hadn't heard of, I'm like a kid in a candy shop. And I hit one of the gems with this one, because it really hit a nerve with me. Considering it's directed by the great William Dieterle (The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Devil and Daniel Webster) and also starring Claude Rains, Paul Henreid and the glorious Peter Lorre, this is one that escaped my radar completely. Diamonds, sadistic mining cop and all taking place in a South African desert. Great stuff. 

Tears of the Black Tiger(2000) - You can hear more about how and why I love this film over at cineAWESOME!, but this was a pleasant surprise, especially when the only 'Easter Western' people talk about is The Good, The Bad, The Weird. This is the one to find, considering it feels as if Quentin Tarantino watched this film when making both Grindhouse and Django Unchained. I don't even want to say too much about this film but find it as soon as you can. But the one on Instant Watch is the massively cut version. But considering I loved that one first and having seen the original cut, I loved that one even more. Check this one out.

Case of the Scorpion's Tail(1971) - If you know me, you know I love gialli. And sometimes I miss some essentials, this film being one of them. One that was on my list of giallo shame for awhile and had always kicked myself for not buying that NoShame disc, which sadly has been no more for ages. So when I had a free three month subscription to Blockbuster Online, somehow they had a few of these discs, one being Sergio Martino's film. And I'm glad that I finally sank my teeth in this sleazy gem. George Hilton is fantastic in a film that has some great twists and turns. And that music by Bruno Nicolai is to die for. Seek this one out if you haven't. I think it's in my top 10 - 15 gialli now. 
(watch on YouTube)

Avenging Force(1986) - Another first time watch for cineAWESOME!, Rufus had a DVD of this film for ages and joked that we'd watch it one day. When it came time to do a double feature with Hard Target, somehow Avenging Force fit in more than we had thought. Mardis Gras, man hunting man, violence and manly dudes with crazy weaponry was the mixture we wanted, and Avenging Force, starring the duo a lot of us know and love, Michael Dudikoff and Steve James, was one that I kept throwing at people to check out if they liked the American Ninja films and any film that shows a family being slaughtered horribly (especially a kid falling off a roof, like we couldn't believe when we were talking about it on the episode) is one that sicks in the brain. Sadly, no official DVD release of the film exists, and that's a damn shame.

Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh(1971) - Here's another one on my list of shame for gialli. It's funny when one has seen a lot of really awful and half assed gialli films, so when you finally check one out that is considered a tentpole film in that category, it's a breath of fresh air, and this is no exception. Also known as Blade of the Ripper, and another gialli by Sergio Martino with George Hilton as the star. And having the radiant Edwige Fenech as the titular Mrs. Wardh, it's a film that makes you wonder from the get go who is a serial killer; her husband, her ex-lover who was sadistic himself or her current lover. A great film and a further showcase as to why Martino was one of the best in the business. 
(Watch on YouTube)

Prison(1988) - One more for the cineAWESOME! books, a film that Rufus (again!) found at Eyesore up in Toronto when he was visiting. He brought it home mainly because, like me, he's a Renny Harlin fan and also because this film was a little seen horror film with a young Viggo Mortensen that wasn't Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III. Actually, this was 1988 and it was a horror film based in a prison, which there's been a few of but they aren't always the best but this one is a diamond in the rough. One that we were hoping to officially get a DVD release one day. Flash forward about a year later to the day that we covered it on the podcast and Scream Factory made our dreams come true with an official release with extras. It's got some great gore, Mortensen being a cool James Dean-esqu bad boy who is really good and inventive deaths. Plus Kane Hodder himself, as well as Tiny Lister. It's one that deserves more love, and it looks like it's been getting it now.

The Devil's Sword(1984) - Another batshit insane film? Yes please! Mondo Macabro is one of my favorite companies when I want to see a film that is one that you'll be talking about for years to come. They've done it before with films like Lady Terminator and this Indonesian action, adventure, sword and sorcery film is another one that is on the pile of 'WTF did I just watch!?!?" films that you want to throw right back on to make sure you didn't hallucinate. An excessive use of dry ice gives this film the rub in the most epic of ways, with a nymphomaniac crocodile queen who kidnaps me to satisfy her sexual needs, Barry Prima is there to rescue and fight his way through some weird shit. Non-stop fights, low budget gore that keeps on coming with such a frenetic sense of pacing, this is a film that uses the term 'to be seen to be believed' to the highest order.


Robert M. Lindsey said...

"... a nymphomaniac crocodile queen who kidnaps me to satisfy her sexual needs" A little wishful thinking there?

J Hurtado said...

I like that under the easily readable title treatment for Devil's Sword they print the title AGAIN.

James said...

haha I think writing this without any sleep was definitely a good/bad idea. Or maybe I do wish for that. :)

Anonymous said...

nice list. I have an official release of Avenging Force on DVD (Australian R4 release) from memory it is just bare bones, I will dig it out and watch it...