Thursday, October 25, 2012

Ghosts of Halloweens Past

The last three years I was able to celebrate my favorite month of the year, October, with a post each day dedicated to the horror genre. With less than a week before the end of the month (and Halloween) I have not posted once this month. However, I have been watching a lot of horror films per tradition and hope to give you a little rundown of short reviews by the 31st, but like everything I have promised on this blog take that with a huge grain of salt with an asterisk attached.

But I thought I'd give some links to posts from the last three years, highlights if you will, for those that might have missed them or for those that are nostalgic for the time I actually updated this blog on a regular basis.


Posterized: The Psycho series
24 Frames: Psycho (1960, Alfred Hitchock)
Prince of Darkness (1987, John Carpenter) review
Posterized: The Universal Horror series part one and part two
24 Frames: Dracula (1931, Tod Browning)
Trick R Treat (2009, Michael Dougherty) review
Posterized: Stephen King on film
Silver Bullet (1985, Daniel Attias) review
24 Frames: Carrie (1976, Brian DePalma)
Posterized: The Halloween series
24 Frames: Halloween (1978, John Carpenter)


The Movies Go to the Movies: A Nightmare on Elm Street 4 at the Rialto Theatre (Pasadena, CA)
My Top 20 Horror Films (as of October 6th, 2010)
The Fog (1980, John Carpenter) review
MIA on DVD (and still to this day, if I am not mistaken): Twisted Nerve (1968, Roy Boulting)
Psycho III (1986, Anthony Perkins) review  
Five Great Horror Movie Opening Scenes
24 Frames: Suspiria (1977, Dario Argento)
Fade to Black (1980, Vernon Zimmerman) review
New Year's Evil (1980, Emmett Alston) review
Posterized: David Cronenberg in the 1970s and 80s
24 Frames: The Brood (1979, David Cronenberg)
10 Underrated Horror Films
24 Frames: Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982, Tommy Lee Wallace)


I was most proud of dedicating the month of October last year to one review a day of a horror film from 1981, so I would humbly recommend you check out the whole series here. But here are a few of my favorite films I reviewed if you need some recommendations for your seasonal viewing:

Eyes of a Stranger (Ken Wiederhorn)
An American Werewolf in London (John Landis)
The Howling (Joe Dante)
Bloody Birthday (Ed Hunt)
Friday the 13th part II (Steve Miner)
My Bloody Valentine (George Mihalka)
Possession (Andrezj Zuwawlki)
Dead and Buried (Gary Sherman)
Road Games (Richard Franklin)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Movies Go to the Movies: Blade Runner

What made Blade Runner such a revolutionary visual feat, and one of the most pardon the pun, replicated films in recent cinema, was that the vision of the future displayed by director Ridley Scott, cinematographer Jordan Cronenweth and the art and production design team not only contained your typical sci-fi future conventions (IE flying cars and artificial intelligence), but accounted for the how the present and past would integrate over time, as well as being cognizant of the impending multiculturalism of our cities. Gone are the antiseptic nearly exclusively interior sets of THX-1138 and Logan's Run, replaced with a film noir dark palette.

Part of this aesthetic includes incorporating classic architecture amid the futuristic developments, including the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Hollyhock House which serves as Deckard's home and Downtown Los Angeles' historic Bradbury Building, home of Replicant designer J.F. Sebastian. Across the street from the Bradbury Building is the Million Dollar Theatre, which you can see in a few shots:

The Million Dollar Theatre was built in 1918 as part of Sid Grauman's chain, and was serving as a live venue for musical performances by 1945. Beginning in the 1970's, as the beautiful downtown Los Angeles theatres were experiencing their last years of full time operation, it catered to the vast Mexican population with Spanish language films and musical performances, which is evident in the marquee during the filming of Blade Runner (the multicultural thread of the film probably lead Scott to leave the marquee as it was). After a recent renovation, the Million Dollar was reopened for speciality showings of classic films (I visited it a few years back as part of the Last Remaining Seats series), and live performances, but has recently lost it's lease and has returned to a dormant state. Hopefully, the future will be kinder to this treasure of a theatre.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

...And I still do as I please

Adam Yauch (1964-2012)

I apologize for the lateness (five whole days!) of this in general terms of the expedience of how information passes through the interwebs these days (and here I will offer a RIP to Maurice Sendak another important component of my youth, and whose books I will surely read to my son Elliot, who in fact already possesses four), but the passing of Adam Yauch (aka MCA) last week has left a, surprising even to myself, immeasurable cloud of sadness over me.

Upon reflection, I understand that a part of my childhood has passed. License to Ill was one of the first cassettes I ever purchased with my own money, the other, purchased at Gemco at the same time was Peter Gabriel So, a symbol of how much my ten year old self watched MTV (and subsquently, how much MTV has fallen down the shitter). But it’s deeper than that. Because the Beastie Boys weren’t just a component of my youth, they have been around for the last 25 plus years of my life. Their initial incarnation might have been kind of a joke, though a joke that with a few wincing moments aside still holds up, but they constantly evolved and matured, while still having a good time and never taking themselves too seriously, and it’s hard not to see my growth as a person reflected in their work. Yauch made perhaps the greatest evolution from the most lewd member of their first incarnation to a Buddhist who would literally not hurt a fly due to his religious beliefs. They were there for me in high school, college, and even last year as a married middle aged guy, with their final release Hot Sauce Committee part 2, a throwback album that showed neither their skills or joie de vivre had diminished.  While they always respected their past (and would still perform songs from License to Ill in concert with a few notable lyrical alterations), they never became a legacy act; you would never see anyone at a Beastie’s show looking at their watch waiting for “Sabotage” as they patiently went through their new material.  I do not know anyone who didn’t like or at the very least respected the Beastie Boys, and quite frankly, I’d prefer not to.

They were also complete film nerds, dropping references to Taking of Pelham One Two ThreeHigh Plains DrifterDirty Larry, Crazy Mary and Dolemite in their rhymes, sampling the scores of Psycho, Superfly and Jaws and paying tribute to Mario Bava’s pop art comic masterpiece Danger: Diabolik in their “Body Movin’” music video, which was directed by Yauch, or technically his lederhosen sporting alter ego Nathaniel Hornblower. Hell, they’re the only band to have a video compilation released as part of the Criterion Collection! Yauch’s passion for cinema lead him to create the distribution company Oscilloscope Laboratories with David Fenkel a few years ago. In an age where “independent cinema” has become deluded with so many toothless biopics, “quirked out” comedies and bad horror films, Oscilloscope has one of the better track records of getting interesting and challenging fair to an audience, including two of my favorite 2011 releases, We Need to Talk About Kevin and Meek’s Cutoff; in full admittance, they released probably my least favorite film of 2011, Bellflower, but even I will admit that is a distinctive personal work.

This week I, as I am sure many of you, find myself listening again to the Beastie’s discography for comfort, and as I listen to Yauch’s scratchy voice bragging that he has more suits than Jacoby and Meyers or informing listeners that he does not, in fact, rock the mic with the pantyhose, it is hard to come to grips with the fact they are a thing of the past, but as you listen to their records, it is impossible to grieve, because the Beastie Boys music is and always shall be, the soundtrack to the very celebration of life itself. 

Please read Outlaw Vern’s peerless thoughts on Adam Yauch’s life here.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Where I've Been, When I'll Return and a List

My wife gave birth to our first child, my son Elliot, two weeks ago. Since then, things have been a little busy needless to say. I just wanted to log in and chime a hello to those that still check for updates here, and assure you that I will return, hopefully by this month's end, when I will finally wrap up my 1981 Project with my Top Ten and Honorable Mentions list. After that I have an idea for a longer weekly series related to 1982 that is reminiscent of my 31 Days of '81 Horror series (fingers crossed I will have the time and energy for this).

But with those looming, something has got to go, and I decided to cease with the films I watched in 2011 poster posts. They are too time consuming with very little reward to the reader. If you are interested in what I've been watching in 2012 though, I have been keeping a log at this new site It's a fun social networking place centered around film where you can post reviews and lists (kind of similar to the Netflix friends feature before that was scrapped). I think it's still in beta test mode but I have two invites left, if you want to leave your email in the comment field, I'll send you one.

So see you back here (and on your blogs, I owe some of you comments) towards the end of the month, but to give you something to discuss until that time, I present with no comment, my Top 20 films of 2011.

Okay, a little bit of comment...This list is as always with these things, completely personal. Some of you are going to hate some of these films (I particularly do not recommend # 2, 4, 9 and 17 to the less adventurous or short attention spanned viewer), as I am sure some of the films you love I am not so fond of (Academy Award winner The Artist currently sits at #50 of the seventy-one films I watched for example). I think this list comprises a good variety in the type of cinema that I personally respond to be it high art, personal, bizarre or well executed genre pieces. As always, your mileage may vary.

1. Attack the Block (Joe Cornish)
2. Tree of Life (Terrence Malick)
3. Drive (Nicholas Winding Refn)
4. Love Exposure (Shion Sono)*
5. A Separation (Asghar Farhadi)
6. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Thomas Alfredsson)
7. Hugo (Martin Scorsese)
8. The Skin I Live In (Pedro Almodovar)
9. We Need to Talk About Kevin (Lynne Ramsay)
10. Senna (Asif Kapadia)
11. Miss Bala (Gerardo Naranjo)
12. Submarine (Richard Ayoade)
13. Shame (Steve McQueen)
14. Beginners (Mike Mills)**
15. 13 Assassins (Takashi Miike)***
16. Moneyball (Bennett Miller)
17. Meek's Cutoff (Kelly Reichardt)
18. Take Shelter (Jeff Nichols)
19. The Cave of Forgotten Dreams (Werner Herzog)****
20. Contagion (Steven Soderbergh)

* Technically a 2008 release that made the festival circuit in 2009, Sono nearly four hour epic ode to love, religion and upskirt photography received it's stateside theatrical premiere run (and DVD release where I finally caught it) early in 2011, and so impressed me, that I had to make a space for it on my list

**The surprise of the year seeing how I utterly despised Mill's debut feature Thumbsucker

***Another surprise as the cult of Miike had alluded me thus far

****The single most integral use of 3-D amongst any of the modern wave I've seen. Not sure if it would have the same impact at home (unless you got one of them fancy 3-D teevees)

And here's the films I failed to catch that I hope to eventually get around to: The Muppets, The Interrupters, that Woody Allen documentary, Carnage, Weekend, Paradise Lost 3 (really upset about missing that one), Young Adult (not a big fan of Jason Reitman, but hear only positives about this one), Snowtown, The Black Power Mixtape, Into the Abyss, Project Nim, A Dangerous Method, Terri, Margaret, The Adventures of Tintin and War Horse (did both of these Spielberg joints which opened within days of each other disappear from theatres in a flash or is it just me?)

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

2011 Year End Blowout Extravaganza! Posterized: Movies Watched May-June

Sorry, I don't feel like repeating the spiel for this each time, so go here for the gist (short version: I wanted to average a movie a day for 2011, I did.) Here are the posters for all the films and television series I watched in May and June of 2011.




Films in italics are films that I would rate a B+ or higher on the ol' grading system, or 4 stars or more on a 5 star scale.

And for films whose year of release is written like this...(2010/2011), the first year is the year of the film's premiere release (either at a festival or for foreign films, the year of their release in their particular country), the second year is the American release date. For year end lists, since I am an American at least until Rick Santorium is our president, I go by the second date.

150.) 5.1-A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010, Samuel Bayer)/DVR (HBO)/1st
151.) 5.3-Big Wednesday (1978, John Milius)/Netflix Streaming/1st
152.) 5.4-Scream (1996, Wes Craven)/DVD/6th
153.) 5.6- Late Spring (1949, Yasujuro Ozu)/1st
154.) 5.6-Hobo With a Shotgun (2011, Michael Eisner)/DVR (HD Net)/1st
155.) 5.7-Somewhere (2010, Sofia Coppola)/DVD/1st
156.) 5.7-Stick (1985, Burt Reynolds)/Netflix Streaming/1st
157.) 5.9-Murder a la Mod (1968, Brian DePalma)/Blu Ray/1st
158.) 5.10-To Be or Not to Be (1942, Ernest Lubitsch)/DVD/1st
159.) 5.11-Possession (1981, Andrezj Zuwalski)/DVD/1st
160.) 5.11-Yor, Hunter from the Future (1983, Antonio Margharetti)/DVD/1st
161.) 5.12-How Do You Know (2010, James L. Brooks)/Blu Ray/1st
162.) 5.13-Bridesmaids (2011, Paul Feig)/Theatre (Glendale Americana)/1st
163.) 5.13-Vivre Sa Vie (1962, Jean-Luc Godard)/Blu Ray/2nd
164.) 5.14-Enter the Ninja (1981, Menaham Golan)/DVR (MGM HD)/1st
165.) 5.15-The Three Musketeers (1973, Richard Lester)/Netflix Streaming/1st
166.) 5.17-Tattoo (1981, Bob Brooks)/DVD/1st
167.) 5.18-Meek's Cutoff (2011, Kelly Reichardt)/Theatre (Laemle Playhouse)/1st
168.) 5.19-The Wild Bunch (1969, Sam Peckinpah)/DVD/3rd
169.) 5.20-Daybreakers (2010, The Spierig Brothers)/Blu Ray/1st
170.) 5.21-Head (1968, Bob Rafelson)/Blu Ray/2nd
171.) 5.21-The Final Destination (2009, David Ellis)/DVR (HBO)/1st
172.) 5.22-Scandal (1955, Akira Kurosawa)/DVR (TCM)/1st
173.) 5.22-High Plains Drifter (1973, Clint Eastwood)/Theatre (New Beverly)/1st
174.) 5.22-Pale Rider (1985, Clint Eastwood)/Theatre (New Beverly)/1st
175.) 5.23-The Funhouse (1981, Tobe Hooper)/Netflix Streaming/1st
176.) 5.24-The Wild Angels (1966, Roger Corman)/DVD/1st
177.) 5.24-Auto Focus (2002, Paul Schrader)/DVD/2nd
178.) 5.25-Badlands (1973, Terrence Malick)/DVD/2nd
179.) 5.26-Caliber Nine (1972, Fernando DiLeo)/DVD/1st
180.) 5.27-The Four Musketeers (1974, Richard Lester)/Netflix Streaming/1st
181.) 5.28-Sam Peckinpah's West: Legacy of a Hollywood Legend (2004, Tom Thurman)/DVD/1st
182.) 5.28-Moon (2009, Duncan Jones)/Blu Ray/2nd
183.) 5.29-Midnight in Paris (2011, Woody Allen)/Theatre (Laemle Playhouse)/1st
184.) 5.31-The Dion Brothers (1974, Jack Starret)/DVD/1st
185.) 5.31-Psycho (1998, Gus Van Sant)/DVR (HBO)/2nd
186.) 6.2-Scream 2 (1997, Wes Craven)/Netflix Streaming/3rd
187.) 6.3-Thor (2011, Kenneth Brannagh)/Theatre (AMC Citywalk)/1st
188.) 6.3-The Hangover part II (2011, Todd Phillips)/Theatre (AMC CItywalk)/1st
189.) 6.3-The Tree of Life (2011, Terrence Malick)/Theatre (Arclight Hollywood)/1st
190.) 6.4-Yi Yi (2000, Edward Yang)/DVD/1st
191.) 6.5-Paths of Glory (1957, Stanley Kubrick)/Blu Ray/2nd
192.) 6.6-Blood Beach (1981, Jeffrey Bloom)/DVD/1st
193.) 6.6-Transsiberian (2008, Brad Anderson)/DVR (Showtime)/1st
194.) 6.8-Fists of Fury/The Chinese Connection (1972, Lo Wei)/DVD/1st
195.) 6.9-The Young Racers (1963, Roger Corman)/DVD/1st
196.) 6.10-The Wild Life (1984, Art Linson)/DVR (HBO)/2nd
197.) 6.11-The Lady Eve (1941, Preston Sturges)/DVD/2nd
198.) 6.11-I Saw the Devil (2011, Jee-Won Kim)/Blu Ray/1st
199.) 6.12-The Burning (1981, Tony Maylam)/Netflix Streaming/2nd
200.) 6.13-The Hitch-Hiker (1953, Ida Lupino)/DVD/2nd
201.) 6.15-Death Hunt (1981, Peter Hunt)/DVD/1st
202.) 6.16-The Beguiled (1971, Don Siegel)/Netflix Streaming/1st
203.) 6.17-Super 8 (2011, JJ Abrahams)/Theatre (Century 21, San Jose, CA)/1st
204.) 6.18-Dragonslayer (1981, Matthew Robbins)/DVD/2nd
205.) 6.19-Prince of the City (1981, Sidney Lumet)/DVD/2nd
206.) 6.20-High and Low (1963, Akira Kurosawa)/Netflix Streaming/1st
207.) 6.21-The King of Marvin Gardens (1972, Bob Rafelson)/Blu Ray/1st
208.) 6.22-Submarine (2011, Richard Ayoade)/Theatre (Laemle Playhouse)/1st
209.) 6.23-Predators (2010, Nimrod Antal)/DVR (Cinemax)/1st
210.) 6.25-Videodrome (1983, David Cronenberg)/DVD/4th
211.) 6.26-Human Desire (1954, Fritz Lang)/DVD/1st
212.) 6.27-The Brink's Job (1978, William Friedkin)/Netflix Streaming/1st
213.) 6.29-Southern Comfort (1981, Walter Hill)/DVR (MGM HD)/2nd

TV Series:

TV7.) Community-Season Two (2010-11, Dan Harmon)
TV8.) Justified-Season Two (2011, Graham Yost)
TV9.) Breaking Bad-Season One (2008, Vince Gilligan)

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