Rupert Pupkin Speaks: June 2018 ""

Friday, June 29, 2018

Just The Pods! Volume Two

More podcasting listening goodness for your ears! Some from this week and some a little older!
INSIDE JAWS - Becoming Spielberg & Breaking in
Produced by Wondery - from whence came shows like Hollywood and Crime - comes this series on Spielberg and the making of JAWS. Two Episodes are live right now: "Becoming Spielberg" and "Breaking In". Both are good and jump all over the map in time to present some interesting back stories on Spielberg and the things that inspired the JAWS story.
This is one of my very favorite podcasts out there and one of my favorite series that he’s done so far (and he’s made groups of episodes on Hitchcock and the Universal Monsters films as well). This particular round though is quite excellent and tells the tale behind Val Lewton’s THE CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE - which turns out to be the most personal film he ever made. This nearly three hour episode serves as a delightful supplement to the newly released Blu-ray of the film - just out from Scream Factory.

Another of my personal favorite shows and one I usually make sure to listen to the week it comes out. Host West Anthony is a music and film lover of the highest order and his shows always offer some lovely tidbits about the movie music his is excerpting each week. On this go round, he talks about the songs and artists behind one of Wes Anderson's best films AND soundtracks - THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS. This episode is quite timely with the release of ISLE OF DOGS on VOD this week.

Last week's show was also good and featured West highlighting some music from three films by David Lynch (ERASERHEAD, THE ELEPHANT MAN and DUNE):
SHOUT TAKES - Keith Carradine
The SHOUT TAKES podcast offers up longer versions of interviews they've used for their Blu-ray releases and they are almost always interesting. This latest episode runs more than an hour and has veteran actor Keith Carradine talking about his 40 plus year career - working with director Alan Rudolph and others. Highly enjoyable!

Elvis Mitchell talks to director Brad Bird about his new film INCREDIBLES 2, but lots of other things come up too - like THE PLAGUE DOGS (which Bird was an animator on) and Howard Hawks among others.

Patrick Bromley and Stephanie Crawford are two of my favorite podcasters/movie talkers (both have been kind enough to guest on my show Just the Discs). Listening to the two of them talk movies is one my favorite things and so even when they are talking about a pair of less than spectacular Canadian sexploitation movies, it is still a blast. Also, I love when they speak about things they've been watching which covers nearly the first forty minutes of this episode:
Also recommended is the episode they did on Empire Pictures from a few weeks back:

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Underrated '88 - Anya Stanley

Anya Stanley is a columnist at Dread Central and Daily Grindhouse. She is a contributor to Birth. Movies. Death., Vague Visages, and wherever they’ll let her talk about horror. More of her work can be seen at her website:

1988 saw some great films. Horror fans got entries in each of the three major franchises of the era (Halloween, Friday The 13th, and Nightmare On Elm Street), while body-swap comedy fans got three major films in their wheelhouse, within the span of a year. This Underrated list has the films that you may have seen sitting on the shelf at the video store, but never picked up until now. You missed out.

1. LADY IN WHITE (dir. Frank LaLoggia)
Local lore can make for some solid horror films. In Lady In White, a Northeast legend makes its way onto the big screen in the form of a classic ghost story. Filmed largely in Wayne County, New York, the movie features a woman’s search for her daughter in Durand-Eastman Park, and a mystery surrounding murdered children of past and present. It’s a style-heavy story with plenty of appealing scenery to boost atmosphere. While the whodunit itself is fairly easy to solve, the movie had enough tension to horrify me as a child, serving as one of my gateway films into the genre.
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2. VICE VERSA (dir. Brian Gilbert)
The 80’s was a magical time for body-swap movies. From Like Father, Like Son to 18 Again! there was no shortage of stories to make us realize that we should be happy with what we’ve got. Vice Versa is the less popular little brother of the body-swap flick family, even though it’s just as fun as its be-careful-what-you-wish-for siblings. Dick Clement and Ian LaFrenais (sitcoms they wrote) bring the classic 80’s zaniness with a mishap that brings a magical skull (stolen from the South Pacific) into the possession of an 11 year old boy (Fred Savage), who handles the skull with his divorced father (Reinhold) while arguing over who has it worse. A switch occurs. Vice Versa came out just five months after Like Father, Like Son and three months before Big, so it makes sense that it would get lost in the shuffle. Watch it anyway.
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3. I’M GONNA GIT YOU SUCKA (dir. Keenan Ivory Wayans)
Before Black Dynamite, Keenan Ivory Wayans wrote, directed, and starred in a blaxploitation parody of epic proportions. Featuring a Murderer’s Row of actors from the genre (Jim Brown, Bernie Casey, Antonio Fargas, and Isaac Hayes), I'm Gonna Git You Sucka follows Soldier Jack Spade (Wayans) as he returns home to Any Ghetto, U.S.A. after receiving news that his brother Junebug died of an unusual overdose and decides to avenge his brother and his community entire. I’m Gonna Git You Sucka is a love letter to the genre that brought us Foxy Brown, Black Belt Jones, and Willie Dynamite, and it features one of my favorite comedic scenes of all time with a cheeky Chris Rock being an insufferable cheapskate. This film is due for some fresh appreciation.
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4. NECROMANCER (dir. Dusty Nelson)
Necromancer is an interesting addition to the rape-revenge genre, by way of its method of vengeance. Dusty Nelson’s American horror film follows a young woman who is raped by a group of young men, and enlists a necromancer to aid her in her vengeance. Most movies in this register have a woman victim picking up a snub-nosed little pistol and seeking street justice against her tormentors, but Necromancer has its heroine summoning a demon to act as her personal goon because, as the tagline says, “Black is the magic that shows no mercy.”
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5. PIN (dir. Standor Stern)
To my knowldege, Pin is the only horror movie featuring an anotomical medical doll instead of a ventriloquist dummy or puppet, which should be reason enough to check it out. It’s a subtle, slow-burn psychological horror film adapted from Andrew Neiderman’s novel of the same name, in which an emotionally disturbed young man (David Hewlett) becomes convinced that his father’s medical doll is alive and friendly to him. The story is fairly bloodless, striving for dread over gore. But it has a weird, wonderful potency that gets under your skin and leaves you unsettled. With the recent love for Dead Silence and the hype over Annabelle and The Boy, Pin is sure to entertain.
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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Underrated '88 - Gems from Thirty Years Ago!

1988 is somewhat of a watershed year for me in that I was fourteen and seeing a lot of movies with my family and on my own - both in theaters and on VHS. A few years from this point, I would start my first video store job and all things movies would become even more familiar (including a lot of the actors that showed up in many of the films listed below). In general, the late 80s and early 90s were a heavy period of movie consumption for me as well as being a formative time so a lot of films stuck with me. Here are a few of them:

BAD DREAMS (1988; Andrew Fleming)
This horror gem has risen to a bit more prominence in recent years (and gotten a solid Scream Factory Blu-ray to boot), but I feel like it’s not the 80s Classic it should be even so and so I’ll continue to sing it’s praises until it is. While bearing more than a passing resemblance to A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3: THE DREAM WARRIORS (and even sharing a major cast member in the underappreciated Jennifer Rubin), this tale of a different mentally unstable bunch is more compelling to me than the much beloved Freddy Krueger film. Part of that is due to the fact that I prefer Richard Lynch’s haunting cult leader psycho to Robert Englund’s tried and true horror icon (who has gotten far too jokey for my taste by the third film) and the fact that I am a full on Dean Cameron fanatic and he carries a lot of weight even in a supporting role. Overall, this one just sticks with me more despite a twist ending that may annoy the occasional genre fan. It’s potent stuff and I love it.
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RUNNING ON EMPTY (1988; Sidney Lumet)
Sidney Lumet is hands down one of the great American directors in my mind. He deserves all the praise that Scorsese gets heap on him (deservedly so), but he’ll never get it as Lumet’s films are less flashy and don’t traffic in as much violence. Lumet is a master of character dramas and though this is less glamourous in a lot of ways, it’s no easy feat. Watch masterpieces like THE VERDICT and PRINCE OF THE CITY (which creeps into Scorsese territory by the way) and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about. RUNNING ON EMPTY gets a bit lost in the shuffle though - perhaps more remembered as one of a handful of films that River Phoenix made before his untimely passing. Even as such and even as great as River is in the film, it’s still more of an ensemble powerhouse - with Judd Hirsch, Christine Lahti and Martha Plimpton all bringing their A game and allowing for a truly impactful and memorable emotional ending. The gist of the story is that Hirsch and Lahti play ex-hippies who were involved in a bombing that ended up tragically blinding a janitor (the building was supposed to be empty) and has kept them on the run from the authorities with their family (including their son played by Phoenix) for more than a decade. When Phoenix’s character encounters someone special (Plimpton) in the latest town they’ve moved to and begins to find his true calling as a musician, the family is faced with a decision to keep running or think about other options. It’s really a great movie and one I hope has begun to find more of an audience since its Warner Archive Blu-ray release.
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ANOTHER WOMAN (1988; Woody Allen)
Woody has made so many movies, it’s clear that there will be many that aren’t championed as much as others (I find this to be more and more the case as the years go by). This one has always had a particular resonance for me and I believe it to be among the best films Woody ever made, but as is often the case with many of my favorites, it has a lot to do with casting. I don’t really associate Gena Rowlands or Gene Hackman with Woody Allen and that has much to do with them not really working with him outside of this movie. Rowlands will always make me think of Cassavetes and Hackman is just one of my favorite actors of all-time (in my top three probably) who did great work with a huge variety of filmmakers over many many decades. This movie is very much a Woody movie, but it falls into what John Waters refers to as his “serious as a heart attack” output, which includes things like INTERIORS, SEPTEMBER and a few others. 
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SHOOT TO KILL (1988; Roger Spottiswoode)
My family had some odd films to call "family favorites", but this happened to be one of them for some reason (along with likes of ON GOLDEN POND). It is a bit of a dark thriller for family fare, but it remains a solid entry in the genre from this period. FBI Agent Sidney Poitier is unable to capture and kidnapping killer extortionist at the beginning of the film and he escapes to the mountain wilderness of Washington with a plan to hike across the Canadian border. What the killer needs is a guide and he ends up joining a fishing party led by Kirstie Alley without anyone in the group suspecting him of his evil intentions. Poitier finds himself in need of his own guide and gets wind that Tom Berenger is the best in the area (and also the boyfriend to Alley's character - complicating things a bit). Berenger and Poitier team up and attempt to track and look for the fishing party. The fun part comes when don't know what the killer looks like and he could be any one of five guys including: Clancy Brown, Andy Robinson, and in a lovely nod to Carpenter's THE THING (perhaps) - Richard Masur. All told though, a fun thriller that builds to a solid climax. No Blu-ray on this one and I wish there was.
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CROSSING DELANCEY (1988; Joan Micklin Silver)
This film hooks me with two particular elements. First, it stars the great Peter Riegert - a character actor that I love and who I find to be incredibly funny and fun to watch. Second it is from the same director as CHILLY SCENES OF WINTER, which happens to be one of my favorite films of all time. This film ends up being a quite charming little romantic dramedy featuring a book store employee (Amy Irving) in New York City who is torn between her intense interest in a local writer and her befuddling intrigue with a gent who runs a pickle shop on the lower east side (Peter Riegert). While it suffers from the a dreaded condition that I call "unworthy object of romantic desire syndrome" to a degree (the author she is into is clearly an asshole from his initial introduction, but she likes him anyway), it ends up being a quite delightful watch and is a relatively unknown film outside of some New Yorkers of a certain age.
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TAPEHEADS (1988; Bill Fishman)
This is another classic “cult movie” in the old school video score sense for me. I was certainly never aware of it until I saw it in several of those sections when I was in college. I was certainly aware of John Cusack, but Tim Robbins was a little more foreign to me and I was kind of knocked out by how well they played together. While film and its characters aspirations to work in music videos seems a bit dated now, I still greatly appreciate what they were angling for creatively even upon a rewatch. It’s also fun to see their affection for the fictional group “The Swanky Modes” and their secret handshake is quite amazing (I sincerely hope that Robbins and Cusack occasionally greet each other with it to this day). Also, Michael Nesmith of The Monkees was a producer on the film and it’s one of a few that he touched that are really interesting (see also: ELEPHANT PARTS). Another movie crying out for a special edition Blu-ray!
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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Just The Discs - Episode 60 - Imports! With Rob Galluzzo

Rob Galluzzo returns again to talk about Imports and why collectors should be all-region compatible. To demonstrate, Brian and Rob go through ten picks each of titles that they love that are only currently available on Blu-ray outside the U.S.

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Here are just a few of the titles Discussed on this episode:
TARNISHED ANGELS (Masters of Cinema)
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THE NAKED PREY (Masters of Cinema)
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CANDYMAN (Universal UK)
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MARTYRS (Studiocanal)
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THE GLASS KEY (Arrow Academy)
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LIVID (Studiocanal)
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RUGGLES OF RED GAP (Masters of Cinema)
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