(Not-So) Random Film of the Week: Barry Lyndon

Barry Lyndon duel1

Where it all begins for one Redmond Barry.

Barry Lyndon is a story which does not depend upon surprise. What is important is not what is going to happen, but how it will happen.

Stanley Kubrick

barry_lyndon_ver1_xlgMy first introduction to Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon was via the most likely means most 11-year olds with little to no interest in certain three-hour plus films made by somewhat visionary directors had at the time: MAD Magazine. I do recall that particular issue was confiscated from the classmate who owned it later in the day by a somewhat strict English (Literature) teacher who didn’t appreciate his not paying attention during her class. Fortunately, the magazine was returned the following day with a note that student had to take to his parents about his reading habits during class and oddly (or not so oddly) enough, a public library copy of The Luck of Barry Lyndon for him to read, write a book report on and return to the teacher. It turned out the teacher was a big fan of Kubrick’s film but had never read the MAD version, so she took it home, read it and liked the parody. Thus the somewhat unusual  temporary gift and form of “punishment”.

You gotta love good teachers, friends. Go and hug one today (er, with consent, of course).

I’ve had the feeling for some time that I may have wished for such a tremendous fate back then, as it took quite a few years more for me to actually read the book Kubrick adapted and altered somewhat using groundbreaking lighting techniques and some of the most gorgeous and true to life costume recreations ever put on film. It’s also a film where you can practically hear its director chuckling as he reworked the book into his own style that in my opinion, fits in well with Thackeray’s original writing. Droll, deadpan humor is laced throughout the dramatic scenes, all of which are masterfully composed shots that may have you pausing the film to admire a landscape or painterly composition (of which there are many). Excellent performances from the cast all around also help, as does realizing that Redmond Barry (Ryan O’Neal) isn’t supposed to “act” here in the sense of a person throwing himself into a part and chewing up the scenery. He’s perfectly cast as a man in a particular point in history where both good to terrible things happen and he reacts as he sees fit (which isn’t always accordingly).

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Trilogy of Terror: Your Triple Case of Nightmare Fuel TV is Here

As I’m er, vintage enough to have been around to see it when it premiered back in 1975, it’s just great to see Dan Curtis’ Trilogy of Terror getting a snazzy 4K version and unleashed on the masses by Kino Lorber. This flick put me in a sleepless zone for a while, but it also became one of my favorite scary films that’s lingered in the memory in terms of nailing a particular set of moods and generating a superb amount of tension.

While I kind of wish this restoration would have included Curtis’ nowhere as impressive 1996 followup, Trilogy of Terror II, I’ll take what’s here for the pure scare factor and still somewhat timely Richard Matheson stories. Kino sadly has no new trailer up, but this tiny snippet from the final episode of the anthology, “Amelia” is all you need to know about what’s coming your way when you place that order. The rest of what’s on the disc is listed below the jump.

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TGS 2016: BERSERK + Musou Stars Make Up For An Ongoing Crappy Year


 

So. This week? LOUSY. I’m still trying to get my busted PlayStation 3 back from the jerk in Brooklyn who I sent it to for repair but neither did the work nor sent back the console, but can’t seem to get the legal wheels I set in motion to move faster after over four months. I finally went and bought my own new PS4 last week, but just found out it was shipped and allegedly arrived on the 12th, but was REFUSED, which is somewhat IMPOSSIBLE. I was here waiting for it all damn week and, hell, I don’t REFUSE any packages with my name on them. I suspect something fishy happened with the USPS driver and my purchase, as the standard procedure is to leave a slip in the mailbox if a recipient isn’t home. To me, REFUSED means someone figured out what was in the box and decided to give him or herself an early holiday gift at my expense.

I’ve contacted the seller to see if that return has indeed been returned and am waiting for a response. USPS is NO help at all, as all I got from them in an email saying the package was REFUSED and sent back, but I need to find out if it was received before proceeding further. If that PS4 is unaccounted for, I’ll be quite (well, even MORE) annoyed. Losing my old PS3 with ten years of save data is bad enough, considering I ended up having to replace that console with the same model, which wasn’t cheap. Losing $300 more on that new PS4 is going to make me want to kick something off the planet. Amusingly enough, I’d forgotten Tokyo Game Show is happening and Koei Tecmo gave my stressed out brain two games I really want to play… even though I currently have nothing to play them on.


 

Yeah, I hate people sometimes. Particularly the ones that cost me time and money on nonsense like this. FEH. Well… first world problems, I guess? Somebody have a good weekend out there, as I sure as hell won’t. I have NO idea with is up with me and tech and a few other things this year, but this song is now my life’s main title theme:

(Thanks, JORGE HITS OFFICIAL!)

Some Father’s Day Memories (Sort Of…)

(thanks, Star Wars Malaysia!)
 

Sadly, my own daddy-o is no longer with us, so I’m having a quieter day of no celebration or awful hastily bought ties, cheap cologne and overpriced restaurant suppers here. Instead, you get a bit of my oddball humor with a few movie clips of some memorable and not so good dads you may or may not remember.

)thanks, Movieclips!)
 

Before you get the wrong idea, I’ve certainly got fonder memories of my father, folks. I just prefer to keep them to myself. That is all. Back in a bit and I do hope your own Father’s Day was excellent and happier.

(thanks, glows!)
 

Blu-Ray Review: Island of Death

island of death BD Cover (Large)A funny thing happened on the way to me disliking Island of Death, director Nico Mastorakis’ 1975 horror film headed to Blu-Ray/DVD courtesy Arrow Video and MVD Entertainment Group. That would be I ended up liking the film a lot more than I thought. This is in part thanks to the great special features that include interviews with Mastorakis that show he’s just a genial, creative guy with a long and varied career who’s not at all like any of the vile characters in the nasty and brutal film he made very early in his career. I’d heard about how terrible and shocking the film was and I certainly wasn’t disappointed by the assorted scenes of murder, extremely stereotypical characters and loads of exploitative nudity on display. Yes, the film is a hard to watch experience not for the squeamish or easily offended. But it’s beautifully shot nastiness and at the end of the day, Mastorakis did exactly what he set out to do – make a film that out grossed (and out-grossed) The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

There’s nothing here even remotely close in plot or even tone to Tobe Hooper’s seminal shocker. IoD’s story about a pair of unbalanced British lovers killing their way through the island of Mykonos before getting their just desserts is merely a showcase for depravity that’s since been outclassed by more modern horror flicks with far more realistic effects. The director even makes this point in one of the commentaries on the Blu-Ray and it’s easy to toss off a bunch of titles from the top of my head that do indeed go for the gusto and blow this film out of the water. That said, by 1975 standards the catalog of perversions on display here certainly got this film in trouble all over the world. Bestiality, murders by an ingested bucket of paint post crucifixion, a phallic pistol, beheading by bulldozer and more are all on display. As terrifically terrible as these crimes are, some viewers may be more upset that one of the murderers is a hypocrite religious zealot out to cleanse the island of evil in the name of religion.

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Random Film of the Week(end), Too: SHIVERS (They Came From Within)

(Thanks, kxkwarriorv!) 

SHIVERS_MPSHIVERS (or They Came From Within) is NOT a very good date movie. At all. David Cronenberg’s absolutely unsettling and increasingly relentless genre classic may make you fear all of the following (in no order) sex, sexually transmitted diseases, parasites, scalpels, Canada, quirky (but sexy) Canadians, somewhat secluded apartment complexes, swimming, bathing, kitchen sinks, liquids in general, elevators, upset stomachs, children and doctors with strange hobbies (plus a few other things major and minor).

That said, the film excels at what it intends so well that it’s absolutely required viewing even though if you DO make it a date night flick. Just don’t be surprised to feel your butt muscles getting a workout as they slowly ambulate you sideways away from that sweetie sitting next to you (and his or her butt will be doing the same thing, by the way). On the other hand, this may be a film that brings you closer if only to get in some cuddle time afterwards. “No sex, please… we’re now both as scared as s#!t!”

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Shout Factory Keeps The 70’s Rolling Along With Some Genre Classics…

Seeing these three films pop up on the Shout Factory site almost makes me feel old, except for they got me excited that they’re back in circulation, so I’m bouncing around the room. OK, not so much at my age… but any activity is good when you get this creaky. I added the road movie from hell Race With the Devil as a Random Film of the Week last year, but haven’t got around to Electra Glide in Blue (a really good, quirky cop flick with one of those depressing 70’s endings) and Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry, a pretty cool extended car chase flick with some great action and yep, another smasher of an ending sequence.

Hmmm, with all this road wreckage, wild hippie women, devil worshipers doing their thing in the woods and assorted traffic cops going through really lousy workdays, it’s a wonder real people drove ANYWHERE during this period. Well, they had to go to the movies too, so I’d gather an evening at the drive-in for a triple feature of all three might have been happening somewhere out there back in the day…

Anyway, that’s two more films I’ll need to add to the RFotW pile – stay tuned…

Random FIlm of the Week: Love and Death

Love and Death poster Probably the most amusing thing about Woody Allen’s 1975 film Love and Death is how well it works despite practically hitting you over the head with how literate you need to be to get some of the best (and funniest) jokes. On the other hand, you don’t need to be a student of Russian literature or philosophy at all to nearly die laughing when Woody’s character, Boris, is trapped inside a gigantic lit cannon that rolls downhill during the big battle scene and fires him into a tent full of French officers, making him a temporary war hero of sorts.

There are a few other big laughs as well, but the bulk of the film’s humor springs from the one-two punch of Allen’s writing and flawless direction as he captures the moods of his put-upon characters as they go through their dramatically (and intentionally) dreary lives in 19th Century Russia. As bleak as that last sentence sounds, it’s one of Allen’s best comedies because it skewers its subject matter (and subjects) so well that you can’t help but laugh even when the worst is happening…
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Random Film of the Week(end): The Devil Within Her

the devil within herBad horror movies come in all types, but 1975’s The Devil Within Her (or I Don’t Want to Be Born) gets its own special place in film history for a few reasons. As you’re watching it and being completely baffled, amused and probably annoyed at what’s onscreen, you’ll probably wonder just what the hell got some very talented actors to commit to such an incredibly dumb movie. Just get a good look at that poster to the left and yes, your brain is popping already, right?

Then again, trying to make sense of this complete and utter mess is nothing but futile, as the movie does possibly the worst job at explaining its craziness in the first place. A “possessed” baby with super strength, a killer dwarf (or is it the baby?), a few bizarre murders (some of which are hilarious and/or unexpected), strippers, an exorcism and plenty of baffling dialog make this one an instant classic (provided you’ve got a good sense of humor)…

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Random Film of the Week (Corporate Edition): Rollerball

So, I’m looking over the notes for my Prometheus plot dissection (which probably won’t be as critical as my picking apart of The Thing from a few months ago), and that fun GE robot ad pops up. While writing up that last post about it, I got to thinking about a few of my sci-fi flicks that had evil corporations running things unto the ground for the purposes of profit and proving class struggle is a useless pursuit. Norman Jewison’s excellent Rollerball was one of the first films that popped into my head (along with Soylent Green and Logan’s Run in case you’re interested) and amusingly enough, it just so happens to have popped up on cable recently. For the younger crowd out there, stay FAR away from the truly terrible 2001 remake and check out the darker, more violent and surprisingly deep 1975 original.

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