Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Film Discoveries of 2016 - Mitch Lovell ""

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Film Discoveries of 2016 - Mitch Lovell

Mitch Lovell runs the Video Vacuum and is also the author of the new book DOUBLE VISION: HOLLYWOOD VS. HOLLYWOOD which you can find on Amazon here:

His website is here:
Find him on Twitter here:
Check out his list from last year as well:
(AKA: Karate Exterminators. AKA: Karate Warrior. AKA: Lightning Kung Fu.)
The title makes it sound like a German krimi or an Italian giallo, but this is actually a badass Kung Fu movie. Like the best films of the genre; the themes of honor, loyalty, and revenge weigh heavily on our constable hero. The plot (which starts off like a Men-on-a-Mission flick before transforming into your more traditional Kung Fu fare) is engaging, the characters are complex, and director Kuei Chih-Hung (best known for The Boxer’s Omen) stages the various fight scenes in stylish fashion. Kung Fu fans are sure to love it as much as I did.

9. SAFETY LAST! (1923)
I can’t believe it took me this long to see Harold Lloyd’s Safety Last! This is, of course, the movie that features his most famous sight gag. The scene where Lloyd dangles from a clock high above the city is one of the most iconic and funniest scenes in the history of film. While the rest of the flick isn’t quite as memorable, this scene, along with Lloyd’s loveable Everyman persona, makes it a must-see.

If you thought Isabelle Adjani was kinky in Possession, wait until you see her in this. Sure, it’s fun to watch just on the strength of when and where Adjani is going to get naked next, but the plot (which unfolds like a good novel) is twisty and absorbing. Even if things get a bit slow-going in the second act, stick with it because there’s some stuff here that will make even the most jaded exploitation movie fans’ jaws drop.

7. THE ESCAPEES (1981)
Jean Rollin always had a knack for turning exploitation movies into art. In lesser hands, this story of two women escaping the nuthouse and getting into various misadventures would’ve been trashy at best and forgettable at worst. Rollin, however, is able to turn it into a dreamlike fable. It’s lyrical, haunting and definitely one of his all-time best.

6. STAR VIRGIN (1979)
Ah, the ‘70s. It was the only time in history you could make a porno in which Dracula and Richard Nixon had a three-way with a man’s wife while he was knocked unconscious. Oh, and did I mention it’s an anthology? The wraparound segments are filled with cheap-looking robots and women who pleasure themselves with adult toys shaped like lightsabers! Viva la ‘70s!

5. RUCKUS (1980)
(AKA: Ruckus in Madoc County. AKA: The Loner. AKA: The Intruder of Madoc County. AKA: Big Ruckus in a Small Town.)
I have this condition where I have to watch every movie Linda Blair ever made. That means I spend a lot of time watching crap. However, once you wade through a ton of the stinkers, you’re liable find a gem like this one. Think First Blood, but instead of Sylvester Stallone, it’s Dirk (The A-Team) Benedict on a motorcycle. That only scratches the surface of the awesomeness that lay in store. It’s a Vietnam Allegory by way of an episode of The Dukes of Hazzard. If that doesn’t make you want to watch it, I don’t know what will.

In addition to my Linda Blair Syndrome, I also have a condition in which I have to watch every movie trailer compilation ever made. Of all the ones out there, the Sleazemania series (compiled by the legendary Johnny Legend) give you the best bang for your buck. The trailer for Don’t Just Lay There (“Rated ‘B’ for BALLS”) alone is worth the price of admission.

3. FINAL SCORE (1986)
(AKA: Strike Commando.)
When you think of the all-time great action heroes, some names automatically come to mind. John Rambo. John Matrix. Paul Kersey. Dalton. Well, you might want to go ahead and add Richard Brown to that list. If you’ve never heard of Final Score, allow me to sing its praises. If you see only one thirty-year-old action film this year, it has to be this one. Not only is Final Score Chris Mitchum’s finest 86 minutes, it’s also probably the best Indonesian action movie ever made. Warehouses, houses, mansions, grass huts, cars, boats, jeeps, shacks, and helicopters all get blown to smithereens in the course of the running time. My favorite explosion though might have been when Mitchum plants a bomb on a bad guy’s crotch. If you love action as much as I do and you still haven’t seen this one yet, I implore you to drop whatever it is you’re doing and seek it out.

(AKA: Alley Tramps. AKA: I am a Woman. AKA: Pleasure Me, Master.)
We lost the legendary Herschell Gordon Lewis this year. He’s best known for his gore movies, but his sexploitation work packs a punch too. This one is an unheralded classic of sleazy ‘60s skin flicks. It’s not as good as best stuff, but it’s a helluva lot of fun and deserves a bigger following. The acting is so bad that it might as well have been performance art. The hateful dialogue is so outrageous that it could’ve been meant as a deft parody of the genre. The camerawork is so shoddy that is has its own mesmerizing quality to it. The plot, well, let’s just say that just when you think it can’t get any crazier, it does. I loved it. R.I.P. H.G.

Okay, so you’re Billy Wilder and you’re fresh off the success of Some Like it Hot, one of the greatest comedies of all time. What do you do for an encore? How do you top that iconic piece of cinema? You reteam with Some Like it Hot’s Jack Lemmon and make The Apartment, that’s how. I can’t believe it took me this long to see this! Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine are wonderful together and deliver some of the finest acting either one of them ever did. This is top notch moviemaking on all fronts.

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