Now, Where Was I?

Oh, right. Had some medical appointments this week and got a few more as a result. Whee. I need a vacation from all this poking and prodding, but it looks as if most of that quality time I’d prefer lazing about will be spent hanging out in waiting rooms listening to people griping about waiting. Feh. I’ll be replaying this cool kookiness on a loop in my head to drown that droning out:

(thanks, GoodOldDaysReturns!) 

I’ll try to get a few posts up this weekend, as the backlog is biting my butt hard and I do need to whittle down the pile of stuff somewhat.

Back in a bit.

-GW

Advertisements

Worst Assassins Ever (The Non-Blogathon!) #1: The French Connection

the_french_connection

A good cop? Oh, the irony of that caption. Or, a picture is worth a thousand words (or less)…

IF yours truly was ever going to host a blogathon, it would either be something like the ‘That’s NOT My City!’ or ‘Worst Assassins EVER!’ blogathon because both are topics that make me chuckle in films more than they’re supposed to. As a native New Yorker who’s heard from a bunch of friends over the decades about how certain films shot here (or places pretending to be here) range from inspiring (great!) to “It’s so unsafe there! Do you actually go out at night?” (lousy!), I can think of far too many made in (or outside) in NYC films to scribble about. As for terrible assassins in films, with assistance I could probably write a book on how the best of the best go from first in their class to dirt-napping klutzes thanks to inconvenient plot monkey wrenches needing them to forget how good they are in favor of making a series of increasingly terrible decisions that put them into the hall of shamefully comedic demises.

However, between being a bit more scattered than usual (“I want the hangings public” is my mantra of late) and not motivated enough to create all those GIFs, promo posters and banner art to pass out to potential contributors, I’ve decided to flip a coin for the name and non-host a stealth blogathon anyone can contribute to. Or not. Actually, this particular film popped into my head first because it fits both categories perfectly AND happens to be a great essential flick that’s still well worth a look. For those about to complain… don’t. I love this film to death, but repeated viewings over a few decades show it’s got a hidden comic gold vein running through it in the form of one the the most inept professional killers you’ll ever see. Continue reading

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!)
 

Fred Dobbs, You’re Nuts In Any Decade!

(thanks, Danios12345!)
 

Ha. I just realized while watching The Treasure of the Sierra Madre for the zillionth time that the name Fred Dobbs appears in another memorable (but for the wrong reasons) film and is played by a great actor that livens up the proceedings significantly. That film would be 1980’s sci-fi horror(/unintentional comedy) hybrid (They Came)Without Warning and that actor would be the great Martin Landau. The Greydon Clark-directed cult flick is actually one of those great guilty pleasures worth tracking down because of its oddball cast (Jack Palance, Cameron Mitchell, Larry Storch, Neville Brand and a young David Caruso among others) and pre-Predator plot about an alien come to earth to do some hunting.

(thanks, metal4472!)
 

As I’m a bit off-kilter (and proud of it!) I’d do a back-to-back double feature with these two even though the tone is vastly different between the two films. Or you could go from the first film to Raiders of the Lost Ark with Without Warning and Predator for an all-day marathon of interesting genre flipping and blending. But I’ll leave personal programming choices all to you fine folks out there. Enjoy!

Mezco’s New Living Dead Doll Has Universal Appeal

Mezco creature instagram_1While Mezco Toyz has previously sold a cool 9-inch Creature From the Black Lagoon collectible figure in its Universal Monsters line, this upcoming Living Dead Doll version of the Creature blows that one out of the water. I’m betting a new penny this new doll sells out faster than the Universal Monsters one just because it’s cute and creepy perfection. Just look at it:

Mezco Creature from the Black Lagoon LDD

 

Featuring an all new body and face sculpt, this iconic scaled terror from the deep stands a full 10” tall and captures the intricate detail of the pre-historic gill-man; from his mysterious yellow eyes, to his claw tipped webbed hands. With nine points of articulation he is the most articulated Living Dead Doll ever, he’ll be able to take out any scientist who dares to come between him and his true love. He comes packaged in a full color, collector friendly window box.

This upcoming Creature From the Black Lagoon Living Dead Doll will cost $32 and ship out in July. Pre-ordering is highly recommended, as I can see LDD fans worldwide making room in a cabinet or on a shelf just for this new arrival. Yeah, that Gill-man will still slay you, man. But he’ll kill you with cuteness first before getting you with those fishy claws of his. “Dawwwww!” and “Gyaaaaaaah!” at the same time? I can do that.

Random Art: It’s Not Really A Day Off, As I’m Still Breathing…

Inkomplete WIP 

Yuck. Between the cold weather outside, the home being too toasty (hey, at least the heat is on, but yikes, does it get steamy up in here!) and someone who moved back in recently with his nasty smoking habit (who needs to quit before he gets beaten senseless or drops dead himself), I’m a bit under the weather today.

(Thanks, chshaw87!)
 

Well, it’s not THAT bad, but past experience tells me that if I get too occupied with cranking out work when I’m starting to get sick, I usually end up this way in a few days. Anyway, I’m going to go out for a short walk (I ran out of aspirin and need a refill), pop back in to get some resty-rest and be back tomorrow with more intelligent things to say. Have a tree in the meantime.

See you all tomorrow. Or perhaps later if I pop up and feel less froggy and possessed.

So Long, Jim- It Was A Nice Long Ride, Wasn’t It?

(thanks 11db11!)nbsp;

I can recall watching the pilot for The Rockford Files on NBC as a ten-year old kid and while not completely understanding everything that was going on, finding the show intriguing enough to come back week after week for almost the entire run of the series. Nothing lasts forever, and I was sad to see it vanish in 1980 (as far as original episodes went), but as with nearly any TV show that gains popularity and notoriety, reruns kept things going if I happened to be around to catch one. Of course, James Garner did much more memorable work in films before and since. Some of my favorite performances of his were in The Great Escape (1963), The Americanization of Emily (1964, the actor’s favorite role), Grand Prix (1966), Marlowe (1969) and Victor Victoria (1982). But, of course, since I was raised more on the tube, it’s Jim Rockford I’ll remember the best. I don’t have a favorite episode per se, but I absolutely recall rolling on the floor laughing at the episode where someone tries to bump off Rockford by sticking a canister of laughing gas in his car and hoping he’d have an accident:

(thanks 11db11!) 

This sequence makes me laugh harder today because it’s an homage of sorts to the scene in North By Northwest where a drunken Cary Grant (as Roger Thornhill) is put behind the wheel of a stolen Mercedes Benz and sent down a dark road towards certain doom off a cliff. Of course, he survives by taking the wheel and zig-zagging away from that cliff and down a highway until he brakes into the back of a patrol car. Jim got a wall tap to wake him out of his sunnier drive above. Anyway, another fallen star in another year too full of them. I’ll let TCM roll me out of this post with one of their tributes while I get ready for a slightly longer walk home tonight…

Random Film of the Week: Detour

(thanks, TheVideoCellar!) 

detour_xlg“Whichever way you turn, fate sticks out a foot to trip you.”

I’ve seen Detour so many times since I first discovered it back in 1992 that I sometimes have dreams about it that stick to the plot but play from different viewpoints. If you thank that’s loopy, guess what? I’ve actually dreamed numerous times about writing a review of this and posting it here to the point that I even wrote a post last year saying I thought I did. Yeah, I got it bad for this one. Sure, it’s got its technical issues and every print I’ve seen from film to tape to DVD over about thirty years looks as if it’s been dragged under a bus going cross country on four flat tires. But the combined efforts of writer/screenwriter Martin Goldsmith, director Edgar G. Ulmer, actors Tom Neal, (the aptly named) Ann Savage, Edmund MacDonald, Claudia Drake along with composer Leo Erdody, editor George McGuire and cinematographer Ben Kline all add up to what I think is one of the greatest American film noir movies ever made (warts and all).

Granted, if you’re picky or looking for perfection and haven’t see this before, as an exercise in Moviemaking 101 this may not wow you much thanks to its numerous technical flaws and what could be called a one-note performance by the lead actor. On the other hand, the film’s simple story and how it’s told hits that sweet spot in the brain as it delivers its karmic blows to its principals and leaves the residue of cheap diner food, cheaper booze, cigarettes and bile swirling around in your skull. “Poverty Row” budget and short shooting schedule aside, the film’s impact is immediate and lasting thanks to the short run time and every shot meaning something (yes, even the bad ones). I bet you’ll get it bad when you see this for the first time, too… Continue reading

Carrie “In Theaters Now” Spot: Thanks For Sharing, As I Sure Wouldn’t Know It Was!

Seriously, the last movie theater here is still closed and I’m feeling a bit morose and annoyed about that fact. I’m hoping that asbestos issue is resolved and it gets opened back up soon. The nearest theater is a multiplex a train or bus ride away, but I’ve heard that it’s overpriced and a pain to get to because you need to walk a bit after the public transportation jaunt. That and it’s packed with the most infuriatingly ill-mannered viewers who pay no heed to cell phone turn-off notices, bring bawling toddlers into R-rated movies and commit other low crimes against civil behavior that a normal person would go mad if they went there on a regular basis. From my source who frequent there because he’s hooked on films more than I am (well, he tends to watch more crap movies than I do), he also knows that the staff lets their friends hang out there (once they buy a ticket) and sneak into the other theaters to catch other films unless there’s a supervisor hanging about to keep things in check. Granted, that stuff has been going on since movie tickets have been sold, so it’s no big deal to me. On the other hand, I can see that being annoying to anyone trying to run a legitimate business where profits need to be calculated on a per-seat basis…

Anyway, reviews seem good on this Carrie remake, so that’s at least a good thing to see…

Random Film of the Week(end), Too: Horror Castle

(thanks, sleazeorama!) 

Horror Castle smallGiven that it’s been released with no fewer than three titles (The Virgin of Nuremberg and Castle of Terror are the other two), it’s not surprise that I didn’t get to see this Italian horror flick until it popped up on TCM a few days ago. Of course, if I wasn’t up and half dying from the scratchy throat that mutated into the cold I’m now getting over, I’d have missed this frightening little import gem. Sure, it’s got a score that sounds a bit out of place, some odd dialog (although I’m not sure if this a translation issue) and yes, plenty of cliché gone wild moments that would sink a lesser effort. Nevertheless, the overall gloomy atmosphere and great color photography, a great extended cameo by Christopher Lee (misspelled as Cristopher Lee in the credits) and a pretty damn excellent scene involving rats, a cage and a young woman’s face make this one worth tracking down…

Continue reading