Rental Round Up – #4 Vidéothèque

RENTAL ROUND UP TIME!!!!!!!!! Whew I’ve got a lot to catch up on! Hee Hee! Enjoy!

On 2/26/17 at 2:22PM we (my guy Dave and I, duh) rented CONTAMINATION (1980) on Blu-Ray and COUNTDOWN (1967) on DVD.

CONTAMINATION – “Let’s see what this mystery is all about?” This Italian/German horror movie starts out in New York City when a ghost ship comes to port and there’s a bloody gooey mess aboard and a lot of green egg gunk! There’s Coffee from Columbia that’s been tainted, with alien things! A cop, a government scientist and an astronaut go to Columbia to go on an adventure because; “national security is at stake!” It was gorey good, it was ridiculous, a RAT exploded, I am pretty sure for realz and GOBLIN did the music.

 

COUNTDOWN – Let’s race to space! Robert Altman directed this film and it stars James Caan as Mickey Stegler, the man who’s going to the moon in what could be a one way trip because we’re racing to beat the Russians! Will we make it? Mickey is getting the intense crash course and his pal Chiz, played by Robert Duvall is mighty jealous he’s not going up, but begrudgingly helps with training. It was a fun space adventure and goes to show political ‘tudes haven’t changed, people want to win and movie magic makes dreams comes true.

 

On 3/7/17 at 7:41PM we rented ZOOT SUIT (1981) on DVD, SMART MONEY (1931) on DVD, WAKE IN FRIGHT (1971) on Blu-Ray and MEN & CHICKEN (2015) on Blu-Ray.

SMART MONEY – Edward G. Robinson is Nick the Barber, he’s lucky, he gambles and usually wins, wins big. His pals stake him so he can go to the big city and play against a big high roller. When Nick finds himself in the big city, he gets fleeced from some local hoods. Well, Nick ain’t no dummy, he gets revenge and makes money and starts running gambling halls of his own much to the annoyance of the police. Nick’s best pal is Jack, played by James Cagney. Jack is by Nick’s side and helps to keep the racket going strong while he tries to keep Nick from falling for Blondes, which is Nick’s biggest weakness. I love me pre-code films.

 

MEN & CHICKEN – Oh boy! This was a weird one! Two brothers, one being Mads Mikkelsen, find out they were adopted and they venture out to seek their true father and find three more brothers. Men & Chicken, tries to unfold the mystery of man, their place in the world and how society can hold them back. How does a man leave a legacy when he can’t sire children? Oh my, well Science and or Nature finds a way. You just need a Cock to control the chicken coop. This is what I learned from MEN & CHICKEN.

 

WAKE IN FRIGHT – This was quite a follow up to the previous mentioned movie. Men just have a tough time when they can’t get what they want. A teacher, John Grant, played by Gary Bond, is stuck in a nowhere one train stop town of Australia and it has eaten away at his soul. He’s got a vacation and plans to head to Sydney and see his girlfriend. John gets stuck in another small outback town! UH OH! The town is filled with gambling drunkards and soon he becomes one too. John even goes hunting in the outback shooting kangaroos, which is a brutal sight to see. (The hunting footage was very sad, and they made a point of saying it was done by real licensed hunters.) Donald Pleasence is the town doctor, and full time alcoholic and he takes John on many of the weekends adventures. This was re-released on the big screen a few years back and since I missed it then I knew I’d see it eventually. As sobering as it is, I’m glad I did.

 

ZOOT SUIT – “An American Classic.” There was a recent production of ZOOT SUIT here in Los Angeles and Dave and I were fortunate enough to attend. This inspired me to rent and re-watch the movie which I hadn’t seen in a long long time. “Enjoy the pretense..play the myth.”

ZOOT SUIT in film form is still a relevant piece of cinema! Directed by Luis Valdez and I was excited to realize that it was Patricia Birch who did the choreography. (She directed GREASE 2!!!!!!) Based on a true incident of a gang of Chicanos who are put on trial for murder.

Henry Reyna (Daniel Valdez) is the gang leader at the center of the trail, and it doesn’t paint a pretty picture of the judicial system or our government. It’s angering even more so right now for what we’re all facing every single day! Zoot Suit says our system of justice can prevail; “no matter how slowly wheels grind.” but it sure doesn’t apologize for the error of it’s ways. People are ready to believe in hate, categorize what and who they don’t understand, let American’s kill American’s when they’re not white. ZOOT SUIT though is here to remind you to fight for your life, your race, your family, to shake up the country so they see the errors of it’s ways! #RESIST WAKE UP people, dance if you have to, just don’t let hate win!! Yup!
On 3/22/17 at 12:24PM we rented DEAD PIGEON ON BEETHOVEN STREET (1974) on DVD, BRANDED TO KILL (1967) on Blu-Ray and THE LAST SUPPER (1995) on DVD.

 

THE LAST SUPPER – 5 liberal friends all live together in a house and have a weekly Sunday meal, usually inviting an outsider to discuss the world and it’s politics. Oh 90’s…are you to blame? 😉 Anyways, this fun 90’s cast of characters includes Cameron Diaz, Annabeth Gish (SHAG!!!!), Jonathan Penner, Courtney B. Vance and Ron Eldard…oh and #DIRECTEDBYWOMEN Stacy Title.

As the film starts during their most recent things dinner goes over the edge when they kill a racist, evil man played by Bill Paxton. (R.I.P. Bill Paxton!) and so they fall down the rabbit hole of their moral dilemma. When you’re a liberal spouter do you take some action too? Could they do it again? Should they? The timid ones find new strength while some begin to feel their conscious creeping.

 

BRANDED TO KILL – A Japanese Yakuza movie that focuses on hitman #3, Goro Hanada, who finds himself on the kill list after a hit went wrong. He’s running from hitman #1, who’s tormenting him mentally rather than just taking him out the way he expects. Goro is trying to survive, trying to outsmart #1, while indulging in his fetish for white rice and women.

This movie just exudeds C-O-O-L, Cool! 1960’s Cool. It was visually beautiful and slick. Goro was a good #3 but it was a butterfly that got in his way. I really am leaning towards old stylish flicks these days and this was a great discovery.

 

DEAD PIGEON ON BEETHOVEN STREET – A film by Samuel Fuller and set in Germany. I’m a big fan of Samuel Fuller and this was an interesting discovery. It was actually part of a TV series in Germany but given a theatrical cut in 2015 UCLA Film and Television Archive put out the directors cut. This is what I watched on DVD.

An American agent dies on Beethoven Street with photos of a US official up to some dirty deeds with a woman. His pal, an American detective, played by Glenn Corbett, takes on the case and he joins up with the gang of drug dealers who delve into blackmail of entrapping officials with scandalous deeds.  Of course he plans to expose their plans, and it’s fun in Fuller’s style. The detective is an American in Germany and one of my favorite things is him talking in English to his German contact who replies in German, they just talk back and forth no subtitles on the German end but you know just what’s going on. It is a bit clunky along the way, but some cool stuff for sure and I loved Fuller’s little cameo off camera as his puff of cigar smoke is rising from a chair.

 

And our last rental was on 4/5/17;  GRAVEYARD SHIFT (1990) on DVD, NEEDFUL THINGS (1993) on DVD, HEART OF MIDNIGHT (1988) on DVD, SLEEPWALKERS (1992) on DVD, ALI FEAR EATS THE SOUL (1974) on DVD and THE DAMNED DON’T CRY (1950). Sadly we didn’t get to finish ALI FEAR EATS THE SOUL, but what I saw was quite good and a bit sad…I will have to finish it another day (I did see it was on FILMSTRUCK under their CRITERION collection!)

 

HEART OF MIDNIGHT – HEART OF MIDNIGHT is a very creepy, dark, moody piece that’s more than a little disturbing. There are some great visuals that lead to some great jump scares.

Jennifer Jason Leigh is Carol Rivers, she’s a survivor, recovering from a recent mental breakdown when she inherits her uncle’s night club Midnight. She heads there with plans to revamp it to her own style to fulfill a fantasy of her own, yet, she’s haunted by memories of her uncle’s past. Carol soon discovers his nightclub was more of a sex club with a series of fetish rooms. As Carol moves in an inhabits the building strange visions take over and local boys, one being a young Steve Buscemi, sexually assault her which only adds to the pain of sorting out her past and present. Peter Coyote comes in, who is intriguing from the start, trying to piece together the puzzles pieces of his own that involve the MIDNIGHT. I would love to delve more into this movie, but there’s so much that could be spoiled. As it started I really wasn’t too keen on where i thought it would go, but Jennifer is an amazing actress!! I actually read Ebert’s piece on the movie and it ended up spoiling some things, so don’t do that until after you watch the movie. And look out for Frank Stallone as a detective, a chauvinistic one at that.

Since this was a DVD, Dave and I  actually listened to some of the DVD commentary after watching the movie. It was great to learn about the director, his take on the movie from a recent viewing compared to when he made it. It really is a look at a women trying to survive in a man’s world and facing day to day exploitation. A fun factoid discovered, in the film commentary, Jennifer has a cast on her leg, when asked about it in the movie she says an Elephant stepped on her, the truth was she had a cast when filming started and the director said go with it instead of dropping her from the film. Yea movies! Yea Commentary!!

 

 

THE DAMNED DON’T CRY – Joan Crawford is a rich socialite Lorna who’s mixed up with the mob, she’s gone missing after young gangster Nick Prenta is found dead. Now it’s time for flashbacks as we discover Lorna was once Ethel, who came from a poor family. She was married to an oil worker, they had a kid and just worked to survive. When Ethel’s young son dies in an accident she leaves her husband determined to become someone, make some money and find another sort of life.

What we learn is Ethel is willing to take what she wants, and is ready to use men even as they use her too. Joan is an amazing woman and she plays this role so well. You see the tragedy that fuels her on the surface. As Ethel becomes Lorna she has a taste of living with money, and hopes to have happiness yet it is soon evident that a gangster lifestyle means just using others for more riches and love is not in the cards.
Next up is the Stephen King trilogy of DVD’s that my guy Dave was really keen on watching. I had seen two of the three, realizing I never watched all of GRAVEYARD SHIFT! I had rented the other two flicks back in the day, on VHS! So now re-sees on DVD! Woot Woot!

 

GRAVEYARD SHIFT – I remember catching this movie from the beginning on cable but never watch the whole thing, I must have found something else to watch because channel flipping was so much fun! Anyways, GRAVEYARD SHIFT, there’s a killer creature hiding in the bowels of a cotton factory in Maine that’s overrun by rats! David Andrews is John Hall, the latest employee to join the factory and wrangled into the basement clean up crew for double holiday pay! The things people do for money! There’s good gross out monster kills! There’s crazy rodent killer played by Brad Dourif and the cool touch chick played by Kelly Wolf. Watch this movie to learn what a slingshot and a soda pop can can do when you’re in trouble!

 

 

NEEDFUL THINGS – I had good memories of this movie when I first watched it on VHS with my dad. We dug it then and I am glad that it holds up just as good now. Dave had never seen it and dug it too! So woot! Oh and this time around I realized W.D. Richter wrote the screenplay!

Ok, let’s go to the little Maine town of Stephen King land and meet the latest tenant who has opened an antique shop, Leland Gaunt, played by Max Von Sydow. Leland has everything, especially that one thing your heart desires most, you just have to do some pranking! Leland spins the wheels to drive the town’s residents into killers. I love the twists of having one person taunt another thinking it’s someone else and so the vicious small town gossip circle spins rampant! The town though, is lucky to have newcomer Sheriff Alan Pangborn, played by Ed Harris. Will evil win? Can the human race survive it’s dance with the devil? (I’m feeling dramatic! Thanks Stephen King!)

 

AND last but NOT least!

 

SLEEPWALKERS – Oh 1992, thank you! SLEEPWALKERS are a cat like, incestuous race that need virgins! So the Mother and Son SLEEPWALKER team (Son Sleepwalker Charles played by Brain Krause and Mom Sleepwalker played by Alice Krige) are in a new town and in desperate need of that virgin goodness. From the start Charles has plans for local girl Tanya Robertson played by Mädchen Amick. There’s some cool old school effects mixed in with new computer moves (well new in 1992!) and it’s the old school bits that keep things fun. I still wonder why cat’s don’t like SLEEPWALKERS though, but maybe cause they got to be human cats and they’re still cats? Yeah, that’s my big question of the movie. I do love though how mad Mom Sleepwalker gets when those cats are around, you think she’d be better at killing ’em. Again more questions!?

 

Whew! Finally wrapped up a RENTAL ROUNDUP before I rented more movies! So now my guy Dave and I can go rent more movies!!!!!! See you soon Vidéothèque!! See you readers soon too with more movie stuff. Yup!

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