Sunday, September 29, 2019
Friday, September 27, 2019
Joe Dante explains the long gestation period of Orson Welles' final film and expresses my own feelings about it's qualities. It's a masterpiece and one of the best movies of the past decade or the decade in which it was made - take your pick.
Wednesday, September 25, 2019
Monday, September 23, 2019
Saturday, September 21, 2019
After more than a year away from the subject Cort Psyops and I finally return to the cinema of Zé do Caixão a.k.a. Coffin Joe! EMBODIMENT OF EVIL (2008) is the long delayed third film in the trilogy of tales about the mad undertaker and his quest for a woman to bear him the perfect child. As this film begins his frantic search has been on hold for forty years while he was kept locked away in a dank Brazilian prison. Once released his hunt is aided by a fanatical cult of followers that are willing to do their master’s bidding no matter what he demands. It seems that while he was imprisoned the world might have caught up with Coffin Joe’s dark vision of humanity. Pursued by two government officers and a priest driven to stop Zé do Caixão even if it means murder, Joe cuts a bloody path through the city’s underbelly terrorizing anyone in his way. Will he finally succeed in his life’s goal or will his enemies find a way to end his life?
Cort and I dig into this one in much the same way we did the first two films. We examine the dark outlook on the world that writer/director/ actor José Mojica Marins puts forth with his signature creation to determine how much of it we share. We discuss the structure of the story, the smart use of the decades long gap as part of the narrative and the clever use of footage from the previous films to enhance this last tale. We talk a bit about the beauty of the ugliness the movie displays as well as the amazing and effective special effects that are used to create the ghosts that haunt Coffin Joe’s mind. It’s rare that a filmmaker gets the chance to return to his creation after so long a break and even more rare for the return to be as impressive as the earlier work. Some of the images in this movie linger with the viewer for months afterward which is something I’m sure would put a smile on Marins' face.
If you have any comments about the show or Coffin Joe the email address is firstname.lastname@example.org where we’ll be thrilled to hear from you. As we mention near the end of the show Cort and I plan to cover more of Marins work eventually after we cleanse our palette with something less grotesque. If you have suggestions for that please let us know.
Friday, September 20, 2019
But the strangest element of this movie, and one that eventually irritates me over the course of its short running time, is that there are multiple times in the narrative when the most natural thing for characters to do is simply set fire to the zombies! Set them on fire, dammit! At several junctures there are cans of gasoline or kerosene, torches with open flames and a room full of walled-off zombies. Light those suckers up and get rid of your problem. Done. But this being a mid-50s low-budget affair (thank you Sam Katzman) what we get is something much sillier. You know - like pouring the flammable fluid on the ground and lighting it so that the zombies don't follow you. The script is such a sloppy mess that there are points where even the actors seem to have lost the thread of just what is going on. Oh well. I guess in another 10 years or so I'll have forgotten enough about this movie to be willing to watch it again. It's a shame it's not better. Maybe I should have watched it with a beer or four?
Wednesday, September 18, 2019
Sunday, September 15, 2019
TOY STORY 4 (2019) is the weakest of the animated series but it’s still an excellent movie. It really only seems less than perfect because of its predecessors. The writers have found another touching and heartfelt tale for these characters that shows that the creators are willing to let the toys grow up in ways similar to how the stories have allowed the kids change. It’s funny, fast, inventive and finds new ways to make the eventual loss of childhood innocence feel like a scary journey worth taking. And the film has a lot of interesting subtext about the importance of imagination to a healthy life. Plus, I would love to see a series of shorts starring the two characters voiced by Key & Peele. That was some hilarious stuff!
20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA (1954) – 8 (rewatch on Blu)
TOY STORY 4 (2019) – 8
FRANKENSTEIN 1970 (1958) – 5 (rewatch on Blu)
THE PROFESSIONALS (1966) – 8
THE MUMMY’S REVENGE (1975) – 8 (rewatch on Blu!)
THE SEA SERPENT (1985) – 4 (Ossorio’s last)
CRAWL (2019) – 6 (animal attack tale - nothing new but well done)
LOS PASAJEROS (1975) – 4 (a.k.a. The Travelers – failed Spanish arthouse w/Naschy)
THE SPIDER WOMAN (1943) – 7 (rewatch of Sherlock Holmes adventure)
LAS ALIMANAS (1977) – 7 (a.k.a. The Vermin – Ossorio crime film)
KEEP WATCHING (2017) – 3 (bad home invasion effort)
TREASURE ISLAND (1934) – 8 (very good version)
BATMAN: HUSH (2019) – 8 (excellent story with a host of villains)
THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB (2018)- 4 (well directed but stupidly plotted)
SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK (2019) – 6 (slight but well made)
BILLY THE KID VS DRACULA (1966) – 4 (rewatch on Blu – why do I like this?)
TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD (1972) – 9 (rewatch)
AVENGING FORCE (1986) – 4 (dumb, overlong action film)
DEATH WARMED UP (1984) - 3 (terrible New Zealand horror film)
EMBODIMENT OF EVIL (2008) – 8 (rewatch)
THE LOST SKELETON RETURNS AGAIN (2009) – 8 (rewatch on Blu)
DEMONOID (1980) – 6 (interesting possessed hand story)
Friday, September 13, 2019
It's only in the past fifteen years or so that I became a fan of this series. Now, I feel that they are a strange form of comfort viewing - 80's style. My appreciation for the slasher genre took time to grow and the maturity to realize that I was having a reaction to them that I disliked when I observed it in others. Like all other types of movies there are good and bad examples.