Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Film Discoveries of 2018 - Vinny Tucceri ""

Friday, January 25, 2019

Film Discoveries of 2018 - Vinny Tucceri

Vinny is an award winning editor of medical documentaries that you’ve never seen. He’s also an avid physical media collector and cinephile. He tries to stay active on letterboxd

The Touch (Bergman, 1971)
When the folks at Criterion announced the Ingmar Bergman’s Cinema boxset I nearly cried. I knew that it was a must own (I’ve been kicking myself for years for missing out on the Kurosawa boxset) and I also knew that it had to include films that I hadn’t seen before. Long unavailable on a US release, The Touch stars one of my favorite actors of all time, Elliott Gould, with some of my favorite Bergman’s regulars Bibi Andersson & Max von Sydow in a story of a disturbed love triangle. It hit all the right buttons for me and skyrocketed to the top tier of my favorite Bergman films.
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Her Husband’s Affairs (Simon, 1947)
Being a huge fan of the TV series ‘I Love Lucy’ (I’ve watched through the entire series over 10 times), I made it a personal goal to see every film in Lucille Ball’s filmography. Whenever one pops up on TCM, which happens a lot, I record it and I’m usually left underwhelmed. And then came Her Husband’s Affairs. What starts off as a silly, late entry into the screwball genre quickly turns into a wonderfully unique and bizarre sci-fi comedy. I won’t spoil the strange twist but it comes out of nowhere and gets weirder and darker and you’ll love it.
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Shamus (Kulik, 1973)
I was never a huge fan of Burt Reynolds until I was about 20. A regular customer at the video store that I worked at brought me in a stack of Burt’s films that (at that point) were only available on VHS: The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing, Hustle and Shamus. I watched the first two but the third, Shamus, didn’t work and I wasn’t able to get around to it until this year when, after Burt’s death, a large grouping of his films were available to stream on Prime. I couldn’t wait to watch it and actually really fell for it. It’s funny, exciting and quintessential Burt. It’s problematic (it’s a 70s comedy!) but it’s super charming and a fun little mystery.
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Hiding Out (Giraldi, 1987)
When ‘Dudes’ was released on Blu-ray it was an instant purchase for me. Upon rewatch I pondered for months: “What other gems can Jon Cryer offer me?” I searched streaming services and found ‘Hiding Out’. It tells the story of a stockbroker on the run from the mob that hides out with his cousin and pretends to be high school student. It’s got a lot of silliness to it (some unintended) but it’s genuinely entertaining and I’ll buy it if it becomes available on bluray. Recommended for fans of 80s teen comedies and people with a sense of humor.
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No Highway In The Sky (Koster, 1951)
Every few months I cash in all of my change. It’s usually at least $50 and I usually buy at least one movie with it. Back in July, I blind bought this movie because it’s James Stewart and that’s the only reason anyone needs to watch a movie. I had never even heard of it and didn’t even read the back so that the experience was 100% fresh for me. It’s the story of an engineer that predicts that a certain model of airplane will fail after a certain number of hours. He is sent across the Atlantic to conduct more research but realizes that he is on one of those very same planes! It’s exciting and fun to see Stewart in that kind of role and definitely a great surprise.
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Mr. Ricco (Bogart, 1975)
When two officers are murdered, a black militant is identified as the shooter. Dean Martin plays the titular character, an attorney who got the same man out of murder charge in the past. Now everyone is out to get Mr. Ricco. It was a fun 70s thriller and definitely a surprise considering it’s star. I was going into it thinking that it would be lame but I actually liked about 90% of it. Great San Francisco backdrop too!
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Zandy’s Bride (Troell, 1974)
The first 20 minutes of this movie are the least likable moments of Gene Hackman’s career but they pay off in the end. Hackman plays Zandy, a lonesome rancher who gets himself a mail order bride (Liv Ullmann). The relationship is doomed from the get go but the stubbornness of both characters help push the story along. Featuring some beautiful cinematography and some fun familiar faces, I thoroughly enjoyed this film. You’ll be frustrated as hell but I think that’s the point.
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The Sell-Out (Collinson, 1976)
Peter Collinson was not messing around from 1967-1980, directing 16 movies in that time span. One of my new favorites of his is this spy thriller starring Oliver Reed (!) and Richard Widmark (!) as two former spies and “friends” that are trying ward of an assassination attempt from both sides of the Cold War. It was a blind watch due to its cast but I really enjoyed the characters and how the plot kept twisting and turning. My friend that watched it with me found the last act frustrating but I felt like it was one huge payoff. Oliver Reed is one of the most watchable actors in the history of cinema and this film helps to support that.
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The Man With A Shotgun (Suzuki, 1961)
Seijun Suzuki was Japanese Cinema from 1957-1967, releasing not one, not two, not three, but 36 films in that amazing decade. Being a fan of everyone of them that I’ve seen so far, I was excited to check out some of his earlier works. This one, a western style story of a lone gunman wandering a mountain, was exactly what you’d want from a film from this era. There’s revenge, crime, romance, conflicting egos, gangsters, heroism, inner conflict, drunken brawls and logging. It works so well and the cast seems to be perfect. Highly recommended especially for fans Japanese cinema or western films.
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Grace Quigley (Harvey, 1984)
This film made its rounds on social media after its bluray was announced. A lot of people took shots at its various posters but I don’t think people actually took the time to watch the film. It’s a very dark comedy about mercy killing starring Katharine Hepburn and Nick Nolte. That’s all that you need to know because it’s so dark and so damn funny at times that I feel as if I had a smile on my face the entire time. I’m not a fan of Hepburn (other than a handful of her films, I find her to be unbearable) but this one just clicked with me. Hopefully other people like it too but if they don’t, I still will.
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