Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Those Who We Shall Never Forget #1

This is going to be a somewhat regular feature on here, where i ramble on about actors, actresses, directors, and the like who are dead, that I miss and feel were taken from us either too soon, or do to illness were forced to stop before they really should have, I think its a neat little segment idea and plan on keeping it going.... so with that explained, lets get into it shall we?

You know who I miss? Jim Henson

There are not many people who come into the world by means of fame and leave a footprint in the sand as big as the one Jim Henson made, the famed puppeteer and creator of the muppets, has literally left his mark on every human being on this planet, there is not a person alive that doesn't know Kermit the Frog if shown a picture of him, the same goes for countless other characters Henson brought into the world. But please, don't get the wrong idea here, I don't miss Jim Henson simply as a man that created dozens of beloved children's characters, though that is part of it, I miss Jim Henson more, because I feel when he passed on, the world changed. You see, Jim Henson always spoke from his heart, and always told us all to dream, to imagine and dream and if we truly believed in that dream, we could make it happen. And when he died tragically in 1990, I feel as if the world stopped dreaming, take a look at the 1990s, creativity, imagination, innovation, all stopped, and hollywood and all the places like Hollywood through out the world, started to just recycle what has been done before, plot and storytelling were replaced with explosions and graphic nudity, imagination and originality were replaced with recycled movie scripts and casting based on which star is hottest right now. Even Henson's creations, though going on with out him in his honor, seem somewhat less magical and amazing. In a sense, when Jim Henson died, the entertainment world stopped dreaming. Creativity and originality died on May 16, 1990, in New York City, in the state of New York, at 1:21 a.m.

Henson started out in television in the late 1950s first doing puppet work for a short lived morning children's program called "The Junior Morning Show", of which the character "Pierre the French Rat" is recognized officially as the first of what would be called The Muppets, and then not long after its end, Henson was asked to create another television series, he called it "Sam and Friends" and it was about a young bald human puppet named Sam, and it also starred a character that some might know, by the same of Kermit the Frog, however Kermit wasn't called a frog at the time, he was called a lizard. Interestingly enough Sam and Friends was a late night "filler series", where it would literally be 5 minute episodes shown to bridge gaps in late night programing and fill advertizing gaps, the show was an early cult hit in Washington DC, the only city it was aired in, it gained so much fame there were articles and interviews and polls on character popularity, interestingly enough, Kermit came in third to last in the poll of favorite character on the show, kind of ironic given what he went on to become. The show ran for 6 years and evolved from basically just characters lip syncing to popular songs of the day, into full on skits, some of which would be used or expanded on later in other skits on various shows, Sam and Friends also served as the prototypes for many later characters, including Chicken Liver, a prototype for Sam The Eagle of the Muppet Show, and Professor Madcliffe, a prototype for Guy Smiley from Sesame Street and Mushmellon, a prototype of Oscar The Grouch. Sam and Friends also brought Jane Noble into Jim's life, Jane and Jim would later marry, and stay married and she would be with him until the day Jim died.

This is a shot of young Jim Henson with some of the cast of Sam and Friends, already you can see his favoritism toward Kermit even in the earliest stages of the character.

Though Sam and Friends brought many things into Jim's life, success, fame, his future wife and the attention of many, Jim still worked on other things, he did many television adds, and always had new characters and new skits for his public appearances, when Sam and Friends ended in 1961, Jim would continue his talk and variety show appearances, infact it was during this time when Jim appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, and from the exposure that gave him, Henson was able to earn enough money that he and Jane could move to New York City and form Muppet Inc, which would later become the Henson Workshop, in those early days, some of Jim's most famous works were made, "The Wheel Monster" which was a short film for IBM who's star went on to become Cookie Monster, and "The Cube" for NBC Saturday Afternoon Theater, the movie that inspired the cult classic sci fi film "The Cube" years later, this is also the period when Sesame Street was created. In his travels around the variety and talk show circuit he started to build what would become the core cast of The Muppets. He also met a man named Frank Oz, who would go on to be one of Henson's closest friends, the operator of Fozzie Bear among others, and would go on to become one of the most influential producers in television and films.

"A Boy and His Frog", Jim and Kermit in New York City in the late 1960s, shortly before the creation of Sesame Street, this image gives a look into the mind of Jim Henson

Through the 1970s Henson continued to do what he was doing, advertising, television appearances, television specials, A weekly Segment on the first season of "Saturday Night Live", eventually creating The Muppet Show, which ran for 5 years and many argue is one of the most entertaining television series ever made, from the muppet show, Henson decided to take things up a level, creating The Muppet Movie in the late 1970s, which has lead to many follow ups, the latest being in 2005, and more planned along the way. In the 1980s Henson created many shows, the ironic Fraggle Rock, The Jim Henson Hour and many others, he also created many Christmas specials, which to this day, though rarely seen are considered to be among the best specials ever in the genre of Christmas programing, he would continue in that manor until his death in 1990. Jim died of whats called "toxic shock" caused by a powerful infection, which Henson was told by many doctors was "just the flu", many say he could have been saved but, in his own words "I don't want to bother anyone with a simple infection, far sicker people then me could use their time..", a true giver all the way to the very end, Jim was brought into an ER when he began to vomit blood, he died shortly after.

Jim with the cast of Fraggle Rock, the show most believe invisioned Jim's idea of what the world should be

My first encounter with Jim's work, like many was Sesame Street, followed by The Muppet Show, and Fraggle Rock, and though I loved The Muppet Show and Sesame Street, my first love was always Fraggle Rock, I just love the idea it puts forth and what it stands for. Its just so beautiful and lovely and full of imagination. I will never forget Jim and his life, they helped shape me and my life. I still miss Jim and I probably always will.



Sunday, June 28, 2009

Torrent Picks 6/28/09

So its that time again, for me to put up some Torrents of movies that hopefully some, if not all of you, haven't seen, or haven't been able to find on your own, or had forgotten were out there, and as always, I hope you enjoy them as much as i enjoyed finding them for you all.... so with out any more delay, lets get to it...

The Boondock Saints: This is one of those films that you either have too be from where its based and filmed, or know someone thats from there to explain it too you, otherwise you'll end up not fully getting it, atleast thats what I account to the bad reception the film has been given to date. The film is a crime drama that tells the story of two brothers, Conner and Murphy MacManus, two irish catholic brothers from South Boston Massachusetts, who after accidentally killing two members of the russian mafia, get a message from god and start to clean up the city's crime riddled underbelly. Now, sure, you could dismiss it as another crime drama, and i guess many could do that, but there is just something about The Boondock Saints, something kind of realistic, not that i believe the writer's claim that its based on his life story, but if you've never been too, its still a great little story thats become the thing of cult films and legends in my hometown, which i guess is why i'm kind excited to bring it to you all.

Towelhead: I've always found coming of age stories interesting, not exactly sure why, but I've just been drawn to them, this movie is set in the early 1990s and is about a 13 year old girl Lebanese American girl named Jasira as she explores her strange and kind of twisted life, she starts out in upstate new york, where her mother sends her away after she discovers Jasira and her boyfriend in an, uncomfortably sexual situation, she's sent to live with her father, down in Texas, where things become alot worse, she, as most girls her age do, starts to become very aware of her sexuality, and through her curious but trusting nature she allows herself to be molested by the man that lives next door to her father, who eventually commits statutory rape on her do to her trusting and curious nature, she also is very attracted to a black kid in her class who is too scared to make a move on her. The film is a mixture of commentary on youth and sexuality and how confusing it can be, as well as racism and how each nationality treats each other differently even though they dislike it when they are treated differently given their nationality. Its abit graphic and kind of dark given its under age sexuality angle, but much like other films in the same vain, it does not glorify the idea, it just tells the story of some things that happen do to it.

The Night James Brown Saved Boston: I normally shy away from "Concert Films" I've almost always found them to be nothing more then hype for musical acts that aren't doing all that well of feel they have a "statement" about their music or something or another, and on paper, this film was ment to be just that, a movie about the live and stage show of James Brown, but what you need to understand about this film is, it was filmed on April 5th 1968, the day after the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., originally ment to just be aired live on Boston's WGBH, a local public television station that is one of the most influential television stations in america, you need to picture it, Its the day after one of the greatest people to ever live has been shot dead for no reason other then dreaming of a better world, the entire united states is in an uproar, every nationality was exploding into race fueled riots over it, and my hometown of Boston was no different, James Brown, less then 24 hours after losing one of his closest friends and biggest influences in the now late Dr. King, steps on stage in the legendary, no now torn down, Boston Garden, one of the most important arenas the world over, and he sings his heart out, he sings his heart out as a tribute to his lost friend, with a heart and voice full of sadness, anger, and fear of uncertainty of what is to come, James Brown shined like the brightest star in the world that night as he sang and preached of unity, of togetherness between all, and pleaded that his friend's death not be in vain, he sang to keep the dream alive, it was true, James Brown Saved Boston, but he also saved the rest of the country that night. I still to this day can not hear the version he did of "try me" that night with out getting tears in my eyes.

The Warriors: In the late 1970s, there was a growing need in movies aimed at "urban youths" across the united states not just be about black people, and those most of the films that did this came across as horrible and lackluster at best, one film, one lonely film stands out as the king of that mountain, a film called The Warriors. The Warriors is about a street gang from who the film takes its name, who after attenting a meeting of all the gangs in New York City, where one gang leader tries to convince all of the other gangs they'd be more powerful if they pooled their powers together, though the idea of liked by all there, one gang leader shoots this one thats trying to end the gang on gang violence, as the police show up to raid the meeting place, they find the shooting, the man who shot him claims it was one of The Warriors, who all have escaped by now, The Warriors find themselves deep inside enemy territory and need to not only get home, but clear their names, for they are wanted by the police and the other gangs now. The film is a brilliantly shot urban city allegory for the Vietnam War, though you could say it takes the plot of any "behind enemy lines" war movie, just swap out the jungle or wilderness or where ever, for the at that point never really touched on "concrete jungle", the film is iconic and very influential, and is still homaged today, mostly the beautifully acted and shot "warriors come out and plaaaaaaaay" scene, where you see a rival gang haunting The Warriors as they hunt them through a Brooklyn neighborhood. This is Grindhouse at its finest, it really is, if you've never seen it, you're seriously missing out.

Harold and Maude: Every generation has those movies that become timeless, and not only stand as a timestamp of that time period's life, but also, will go on and for years after it's been made, will continue to be an influence on the world, like a pebble being tossed into a pond thats ripples are still felt today, one of those films, is a very important to me personally film called Harold and Maude, known as one of the greatest of the grindhouse films, this comedy about how when you are looking for death, all you find is life, and how when you're looking for life, all you find is death, has touched and influenced me in ways that not many others ever could. It tells you the story of Harold, a morbid 18 year old who is deeply depressed and fixated on killing himself, his rich socialite parents dismiss this as cries for attention, and seem somewhat unaffected by it all, in his travels, Harold meets Maude, a survivor of The Holocaust, who refuses to look at the dark and sad side of life, instead chooses to always look at the upbeat side of things, Harold is preplexed by Maude and her ways, and Maude is the same about him, the two embark on a journey together that takes them through each other's souls and through the world they each live in, with serious but mostly hilarious results, its a film that teaches us that love is love, life is life, and though death is sad, there is always happiness in there to, and in that happiness is rebirth. There are many hilarious things about this film, and I have to admit, I'd be rather shocked if some of you hadn't seen it, or if you pass up your chance now...

Ok thats it for torrents this week, sorry this is later in the day then normal, been a busy day here, but I hope you all enjoy, and I'll post again soon..



Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen

As the world knows, I am possibly one of the biggest fans in the entire world of The Transformers, and as anyone could guess, after watching the 2007 live action movie, I was basking in my fanboy glory, as wave after wave of people I know, went to see the film, many times with me, and I watched them recover memories long past of childhood toys and fun, or rekindle that spark of imagination and joy that so many of us children of the 1980s have centered around The Transformers, it is to us, similar to what "the force" is to those who grew up fans of Star Wars before it was ruined by Ewoks, you ask anyone that was alive in the 1980s, and they can name off atlast two Transformers, and in most cases sing the theme song, heck Tom Hanks busted out into the original 1983 cartoon theme song on the Tonight Show once in the late 1990s, when showing he can sing as well as act, much to the roar of those watching the taping of the show. Anyway you get the idea, in our gully of the Geek Forrest, a new transformers film is an event. And this one is no exception.

Now, to be fair, to say Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen is one of those perfect films that I desire all films to be like, would be untrue, but also to be fair, it falls into the same category as the first film, a great sci fi movie hidden as an excellent action movie, with just one or two things that annoy the general populous and tons of things people can nitpick until the end of time, but also, I think now two films into a franchise that could last many more films, I think thats gonna be the way they all are, and personally, I think thats great, a film shouldn't 100% cater to everyone in its fanbase, thats impossible, and completely improvable, and never a key to longevity, you need to evolve your story into a story that is recognizable to the fans, but also is fresh and different enough for new fans to come on board. And Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen does exactly that, and more so it does it with a style and coolness that not many films ever really live up too.

The film takes place two years after the first film ended, and now its cast are starting to go on with their lives, Sam Witwicky, is off to college on "on the east coast" which I guess is what you do after you apparently save the human race, and a race of alien robots from destruction, his girlfriend Mikaela Banes is working at a custom build and repair shop for cars and motorcycles with her recently released from prison father, she spends her days doing mechanic work and posing provocatively on motorcycles while whispering the word "camshaft" in a sexy tone for no real reason, Sam's parents Ron and Judy Witwicky are apparently heading off to France after they rush Sam off to college to make his room into a Home Theater, I would assume so they can watch more Micheal Bay films, after all that is the only real reason for home theaters. Sam's dog Mojo, now spends his days "dominating" the family's new bulldog Frankie, while Sam's guardian, the brave and awesome Bumblebee is living in Sam's parent's garage, apparently just chilling out like so much robotic Arthur Herbert Fonzarelli, though sadly, Bumblebee's voice box isn't working again in this movie, so you never get to hear Bumblebee say "aaaaay" or give the trademark thumps up most antiquate with The Fonz. As for the other Autobots; Optimus Prime, Ratchet and Ironhide are commanding a joint task force made up of Autobots and Humans that track and eliminate Decepticons that appear on planet earth looking for revenge for the end of the first film, or to simply find the surviving ones, Jazz however, is still very much dead, and very much in two parts, and still very much tossed to the side after his 4 second memorial at the end of the first film.

Trouble seems to be abound when Sam finds a small sliver of the Allspark, the all powerful rubik's cube from the first film, falls out of a jacket that he hasn't apparently worn sense the day he saved earth and all those to live on it, he picks it up, it transmits all sorts of images and pictures and things into his brain, it then glows very hot, causing Sam to drop it, and then melt through the floor and land on the kitchen table below, which, much like in the first film, causes everything electrical to come to life, and as you can guess, its all very mad and wants to beat on some humans, I guess thats the customary thing for robots to wanna do when they're just born these days, still not sure how that works, but hey, whatever gets their swagger on I guess, after destroying a good part of the Witwicky home, Sam calls for Bumblebee's help, who busts through the side of the garage and deals with the world's most angry kitchen set swiftly and with extreme prejudice, for which Sam, for some reason yells at him for, which upsets Bumblebee, no idea why you'd wanna yell at a 20 foot tall war mech that just saved you from a kitchen clock that was out for blood, but, Sam's a pretty confusing guy. After a short scene with Ron and Judy Witwicky talking about how they can't say killer robots did the damage to their home because of national security and that the government will pay for repairs, you see Sam gather "the sliver" off the table and place it in a metal container, he then hands it to his girlfriend Mikaela who shows up not long after the chaos happens, the two of them then go into the garage and explain to Bumblebee that he isn't going to college with Sam, to which Bumblebee starts to cry, because you know, giant war mech's cry all the time, I found this odd because, well come on, you're going to college, you'll need a car, I'm pretty sure a pimped out brand new Camaro is a good choice.

You then next see the other Autobots as they runamuck (hehe original transformer references rock) through the city of Shanghai where the Autobots have tracked atleast one Decepticon, who happens to be hiding in the form of the largest vehicle on the planet, a Terrex Excavator, though unnamed in the film this character is called Demolishor, this is where you are introduced to some of the new autobots in the cast, most notably Sideswipe, a silver new body style Corvette, the triplet female motorcycles; Arcee, Chromia, and their unnamed on screen third one, Arcee is pink, Chromia is blue, and the unnamed one, given its purple color scheme and keeping with the female auotbot names, I'm lead to believe is ment to be Elita-One, this is also where you meet most debated characters in the film, "The Twins" Skidz and Mudflap, seen here both combining into the front and back half of a 1950s style ice cream truck, love or hate these two, the decal on their alt mode's side, "Decepticons can suck my popsicles" is epically hilarious, after this scene The Twins each take their own alt mode and then proceed to spend the rest of the movie drawing more hate from the transformers fandom then when Megatron's head CGI rendering leaked to the internet before the 2007 film.

Once you've been introduced to each of them, Demolishor transforms into his freakishly huge robot mode and starts to make a mess of the city of Shanghai, as is the custom with giant robots that are featured in the trailer for films about giant robots, as he does this, another Decepticon is detected, this time a high end sports car, though unnamed in the film as well, his name is Sideways, he is however quickly cut in half by Sideswipe in a scene thats to show us just how bad ass Sideswipe is, as the fight with Demolishor rages on, eventually Optimus Prime is called in, and after a fight through the city that causes even more property damage, and after harbingering the return of The Fallen, Optimus Prime ends the fight in the only way a hero of his nobility and stature could, by shooting Demolishor right in the face, heroically. From here you go abit more into learning whats been going on in the two years sense the first film, and you also meet Soundwave, who's so bad ass he spends the whole movie floating over the planet in some strange almost Satellite like form, I guess much like his original counterpart, Soundwave is just too awesome for us humans to handlehe does send down his "pet" Ravage though, so I guess thats something. You also see the Decepticons discover Megatron's body and steal the chunk of Allspark that was in the care of this Autobot/human task force (called NEST), and soon Megatron is revived and in the mood to kill him some humans, you are also introduced to The Fallen, who really only plays a small role in the film which bares his name, I found that confusing, but I didn't care, I was too busy being assaulted by awesome to care. You also meet Wheelie, the decepticon turned autobot radio control truck who spends his time in film being burned in the eye with a welding torch, locked in a case, swearing randomly and doing that thing to Megan Fox's leg that dogs do when they REALLY like you, all of these things would be funny on their own, but add to them that Wheelie is voiced by Tom Kenny who is using his trademark SpoungeBob Squarepants voice during it all, it just makes it even funnier.

With out giving away key plot points or too much detail, the movie shifts up into its fastest gear and then hits a nitro boost to give it that just enough super fast paced action to keep even the hardest of the hardcore fan happy and the motion sicknessest of the motion sickness suffers out there vomiting into their popcorn buckets. During this you find out what happened to Agent Simmons after Sector Seven was disband at the end of the first film, and you meet Jetfire who swears alot, is really old, really grumpy, has a cane that transforms as part of his alt form, and can use Spacebridges to travel from place to place, a Spacebridge in this version of the Transformers is basically a teleportation system that takes you from one place, and tosses you out in another, it doesn't seem to be all that safe, with the tossing everyone in the air all willy nilly and such instead of a nice soft landing, but hey, Jetfire himself is awesome for an old grumpy aussie slang speaking robot, oh and Devastator, the simple minded giant decepticon death machine of death shows up, and after causing alot of property damage and apparently almost beaten by The Twins, he eventually gets shot in the... crotch? i guess is the best way to explain that, with a railgun, and I seriously wish I was making that up, but I'm not, it really happens. Also the Fallen himself shows up for the end fight, which is strange because you really only see him for about 20 minutes tops in the whole film and you are left wondering why a secondary character got their name into the title.

There is alot more to this movie, but really with out spoiling it I can't really go on, but trust in me when I say that the film was just as amazing as I'd hoped it would be and I hope none of you take my light hearted tongue in cheek review of the film with negative connotations I truly loved it and am already crying for the next one to come out, sure there are alot of confusing things, mostly nitpicky things that didn't ruin the film for me by any means, but just sort of bugged me; like how certain decepticons seemed to be in more then one place at a time, and others came back from their deaths in the first film or there were two cons that shared the same alt mode, also lack of screen time for awesome newer characters like Sideswipe that really only feature in the first 10 minutes then hardly do anything the rest of the film, the ton of unnamed characters on both sides, and Alice, if you wanna understand why Alice bothered me, google these words "Transformers Kiss Player" and watch your mind shatter into thousands of bits. Also on the controversy of The Twins, though i can see where people find them racist or annoying, I can understand this way of thinking, but, we all need to remember, in every single part of the Transformers mythos, there has been atleast one character that you either hated or loved, in the movie universe, I'm assuming that role will be The Twins.

So, if you've not seen this film yet, I just have to ask, why are you sitting here reading the end of my review, get yourselves out there and see it! This, like the 2007 film before it, and all of those which will follow, are going to always be a happening, just like this is, you gotta be a part of it, fan or not.

Oh and just for fun, I'll leave you with these lines...

"Oh my friend, he went out to find you a tighter shirt"
"there isn't one.."
"yeah, we checked"

you will laugh yourself silly at it when its time comes to pass.



Saturday, June 27, 2009

My Childhood, in about 15 minutes.

I give to you all, Nostalgia Chick, reviewing the movie that defined the tv series, and the toyline that defined my toy collecting addiction

Yes, it is THAT bad, and yes, I totally rock out to Stan Bush's craptastically 1980s soundtrack exactly like that.

Enjoy, I'm off to see Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen in IMAX.... Be Jealous Rose, be very jealous.



Thursday, June 25, 2009

Good Bye Farrah

Today's been a pretty hard day on the entertainment industry, two big names, both taken way too soon, and yet, I find myself at a loss for what I can say about Farrah Fawcett, she was beautiful, she was charming, she never let anyone tell her she couldn't do anything, and though i'm sure today will be remembered for the day Micheal Jackson died, I don't want the world to forget Farrah, because it would be a shame.

I am gonna miss you.



Wednesday, June 24, 2009

So... Bruno....

I'm sure most of you have heard about this film, Sasha Baron Cohen's follow up to the ridiculously huge hit Borat, where he went around in the guise of a middle eastern looking newsman from central Europe who came to America to learn about our culture and how his people could be more like us, and along the way trying to teach about his country's customs. We all know now that in truth, it was a "smash" style movie, where in it was filmed with the character dealing with real people in real situations, where the real comedy isn't really Borat, so much as people reacting to him and his ways, that "how far will we go to be polite and not make a fuss do to cultural differences" thing, that was the true comedy of Borat, I'm not sure how many people really get that about it...

Anyway, for whatever reason, Sasha Baron Cohen, creator of Borat and before him hilariously chav British hip hop legend Ali G, has decided to go around, doing what he did with Borat again, but this time with an insanely flamboyant homosexual and completely clueless German character by the name of Bruno, only this time he's pushed the "real" up about 15 levels. And I'm sorry, it just doesn't work for me.

See, Borat was offensive, but there was an innocent unintentional offensiveness to him, like, you know if anyone else had said "we're going to speak to real chocolate faced man!" and then spoke to a black man, you would be offended, but given the innocently clueless nature of Borat, you find yourself laughing at it, even if you feel bad about it later. However, with Bruno, Cohen plays him as a completely shallow, ignorant, self centered, and just plain rude. There is none of the charm of either Borat or Ali G, there is just an insulting ignorance to Bruno that I found myself not caring for at all. Like when he tells a fake talk show's all black audience that he's named his adopted African baby a "traditional African American name" and then tells him he's named the child after O.J Simpson, much to their outrage, or how he speaks to a Muslim extremist and repeatedly calls him a terrorist, and says things like "your god, looks like a dirty crazy man, or homeless Santa Claus", you don't laugh, you find yourself wondering how exactly this was supposed to work when Cohen wrote it out on paper, and who he's trying to insult more, Americans and how our culture has influenced the world, or Europeans that are stereotypically seen as Eurotrash like Bruno in most country's media.

Dunno, maybe its just me, but, this just didn't work for me, i'm sure there is an audience for it out there, after all pot smokers haven't had a good pot friendly movie yet this year, maybe they'll be the ones that go and see this, because I can't really see any sane person doing so, but thats just me i guess.

So who knows...?



Monday, June 22, 2009

Ten Foreign Films Everyone Should See

I've always been a fan of the foreign cinema, most assume its to do with my roots in grindhouse and its obsession with asian market action films, and thats probably correct, but it goes so far past that, as I've grown older in my 31 years on this planet, most of which were spent watching movies, I've gained a sort of love for foreign language films, maybe its the way they're shot, or how they dare to do things that we here in the states wouldn't ever do, or couldn't do because of rating systems and things, or their completely non-formula take on things, or how they all feel generally real for the most part, given their shot on actual location, not just shot in LA or Vancouver and have you believe its some other place, or maybe its a number of things that i just can't seem to put my finger on, but the fact remains, i do love the foreign cinema ever so, and that is why I thought about it, and felt the need to write down my list of ten foreign films that everyone should see.. Oh and I should note that the order these are in isn't really a "top ten list" or anything its just I felt the need to number them, because I'm organized like that...

So with out any farther preamble, lets get to it...

Number 10: Yojimbo
As anyone can tell by my almost constant rambling on the matter, I am a huge fan of the Asian master of cinema himself Akira Kurosawa. And though you hear me go on and on about Seven Samurai and Rashomon, my two favorites, I often forget to mention the brilliance that is Yojimbo, the tale of a lone ronin (a master less samurai) who calls himself "Kuwabatake Sanjuro" a made up name its implied, and how he brings peace to two warring towns by inciting them to the brink of war. Alot of people claim this is the first "man with no name" film ever made, the man with no name concept would later become a staple of the early Clint Eastwood westerns among other things in the west, and I guess its possible, after all alot of Kurosawa's work was adapted and borrowed from in westerns, given the concept behind most westerns and samurai films weren't all that different. If you've not seen Yojimbo though, its definitely worth tracking down a copy via the internet or retail, beautiful film with a poignant story told as only Akira Kurosawa can.

Number Nine: Häxan
This is another of those films I'm always going on about, and with good reason honestly, readers of my blog know that this film is a documentary done in the early part of the 20th century about the history of witchcraft, and though we all know the "facts" to be horribly wrong, the cinematography and re-enacting of alot of the "historical events" make this film a must watch, even if you find it just comically bad, or insultingly offensive to your intelligence, its still very much worth a look, if for nothing else but to see just how early film makers from around the world did things in the days when budgets were so low they were almost not even there at all. Personally, I find the film engaging in the sense that even though its facts are all based on unchecked and untrue hearsay and local superstition, it still shows you just how far we have come in our beliefs of those things we can't understand and fear or dismiss because of that. Plus, the devil dancing around with all the witches will make anyone laugh atleast once.

Number Eight: Omaret Yakobean
Its name translates to "The Yacoubian Building" in english, and is possibly the greatest arabic movie I have ever seen. It was groundbreaking in both middle eastern cinema and in its native Egyptian cinema as well, given its taboo breaking nature, most notably the true to life in the middle east depiction of an openly homosexual character in a prominent role in the film, as well as its bluntly true depiction of discrimination do to someone's personal and even their parent's social standing. Its just a brilliant picture of what life is like in a modern, non war torn middle eastern country thats trying to stay true to its history and beliefs, but also moving forward in the modern world. The story is really several small stories all rolled together to make a film, with the central connection being the business buildin for which the film is named as the center point. Each story is happening at the same time, and though short in the pretext of fitting into a film with other stories to be told, they do a great job, I won't go into to much detail about each because i'd tend up telling you everything, but this really is a film everyone should watch atleast once, its based on a book of the same name and even spawned a television series, which is pretty impressive for anywhere in the world honestly.

Number Seven: Kader
This turkish film's name translates to "Destiny" and follows the life of three people, an emotionally damaged woman in her middle 20s, her mentally unstable boyfriend, and a shy man who falls in love with her, and how their lives connect and enventualy lead to the same point of destiny. I've always loved films of this nature, they are so good when done right, which sadly doesn't happen as often as you'd believe in cinema. This film took my by surprise honestly, I wasn't expecting to be as riveted to it as I was, truly impressed. The film does a great job jumping between the focus on all three and their backstories and clearly drives home how their relationships all work, the second half of the film though is the best, when it jumps afew years and involves two of them looking for the location of the other and all that happens in that quest, thats where the film really shines. Its hard to actually explain this film with out giving you everything all at once and ruining it, which really is a good sign about a film. Atleast I think so.

Number Six: Sügisball
As I've stated many times, I love this film, its name translates to "Autumn Ball" and tells the story of those who live in a rundown apartment building in Tallinn Estonia before the fall of the soviet union, it tells its stories in a fashion alot like Omaret Yakobean except in some form or another everyone in main cast interacts with each other and plays a role in each other's stories, and unlike most movies of this kind, they all come to the same end. I fell in love with the style this film was shot in almost insanely, form its realistic location shooting to its realistic depiction of social interaction on all levels, a true feel of realism, I always love thta in a film. A film's job is to take you into the world of the characters and make you feel a part of the story, not to just stare at a screen for 2 hours or so. I had alot of trouble though on this one, where to place it and such once I decided I wanted to show Estonia some love, and debating between listing this one, magnus or Klass all three are equally as brilliant, was really hard to decide, so I finally just pulled a name out of a hat. Yes, thats exactly how we all do lists in the business, its a truly scientific method really.

Number Five: Linha de Passe
I would be in alot of trouble if I hadn't included a Brazilian film on this list, and though to be honest, I am fairly new to the Brazilian cinema, one of the stand outs for me, has been Linha de Passe, the story of a poor family in São Paulo and how they all reach for their dreams while trying to survive. The film depicts a family that consists of four brothers who all have different father's but the same mother, who is pregnant with a fifth child and cleans houses for a job. The film tells each brother's story of their dreams as they go through childhood together and how they try to reach their goals while not being taken into the somewhat unhealthy lifestyle of the Favela (shanty town in english) where they live. As you would expect with a film of this nature, its fun and uplifting, and at times seriously saddening, but its true to life in that respect, no life anywhere is with out conflict or emotion. This film made me want to do research on the lifestyles of those who live in Favela communities and it seems to be pretty on point with afew differences, that I assume where made for cinematic reasons, but you get that with any film honestly, though as I've stated many times, the key is the not make it seem unrealistic. I was totally taken by surprise with this film, I hope the rest of you will be too.

Number Four:
I, like many, spent most of last year raving about swedish vampire film "Let the Right One In", and rightly so, but once that dust settled, I was aimed in the direction of another foreign horror film, who's name translates to "The Left Bank" in english, Linkeroever is a Belgian horror film in the older meaning of the term, where its more like a thriller that messes with your mind and your senses, with out going for that insultingly craptastic to the viewer concept modern american horror has where it has to be all bloody and gross out to be scary. This is more horror in the vain of the 1972 version of Last House On The Left or the 1973 version of The Wicker Man, where it was more the slow decent into a mental hell of one's own making was the real horror of the film. The centerpiece of this film is, oddly enough, the love story between its main characters and how its put through the most horrible stress, its the story of Maria, a professional runner who has just qualified for a large europian championship, and Bobby, a professional Archer, its the story of how they meet, fall in love, move in together and are slowly driven insane as they find clues to the mysterious disappearance of the people that lived in the apartment building on the left bank of Antwerp, which is built on an area said to have mysterious and dangerous history going all the way back to the Medieval times. I know alot of people will think this is a horror film in the horribly over done american sense and dismiss it, but seriously, don't sleep on this one, this film is a stellar mental horror film that twists your mind up in knots the whole way through.

Number Three: Loss
Its original name "Nereikalingi žmonės" translating too "Unnecessary People", this Lithuanian drama, loosely based on the film "Six Degrees of Separation" is the story of six lives that clash together no matter how hard they try not to, and how no matter what you do, you can not run away from your life and its complexity, there is just now way. The film starts in Ireland where a priest who's come there from Lithuania meets a woman from his homeland, and discovers that she is connected to the life he tried to leave behind. its a bitter tail of love, adultery, and child custody, thats just so gut wrenching that it almost is a crime to have not seen it, its just, so well made and so direct and to the point with its story and message. I love when a film does that, seriously, I can't repeat this enough, a good film is a film that takes you into its world and makes you feel you're part of it, something that is helped by the way the film was shot. It was shot in a way akin to the film Cloverfield, which was done all by hand held cameras to give you a "natural" sense of movement, you are at eye level with the cast, you move at the same speed, the same motions all of that, you truly feel as if you are part of the film. I love that.

Number Two: A Touch of Spice
This is the cute greek dramatic comedy that tells the story of a man named Fanis Iakovides as he looks back at his childhood in the 1960s and remembers his time living in Istanbul Turkey, and then moving to Athens Greece, it starts out in Istanbul where he works in a specialty spice shop owned and run by his turkish grandfather, a sort of culinary philosopher as he's called, he teaches him of the joy of spices and how they are the secret to life. He is later deported back to Greece with his parents because tention between Greece and Turkey at the time demanded the deportation of all greeks and their families back to Greece. Fanis having issues fitting in to life in Athens, spends alot of his time in the kitchen cooking, the only real link to his homeland and to his grandfather, this worries his mother who fears either he is depressed or a homosexual, how being a great cook links to homosexuality I have no idea, Fanis grows up to become an excellent cook and teaches many others, and often shares his tricks with friends and other cooks he meets, the film ends with Fanis back in Istanbul with his grandfather's health fading and looking back at his life. Its a cute and kind of sad at times story of one man's life, its not stellar or something that will stand the test of time, but, I find it a nice peak at the greek cinema, which is often forgotten by most outside of the country itself.

Number One:
4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
I'm pretty sure most people knew this film would be on this list, given how I constantly rave about it, and how its a must see film. For those that are new, or haven't seen me ramble about this film, "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days" is a Romanian film that takes place in 1987 Romania, when abortion is still illegal, it tells the story of two friends and their journey to find an abortionist to terminate one of them's unwanted pregnancy, and all the mental trauma that happens on the way, during and after, as i've said many times, its a punch you in the face hard edged in your face taboo subject matter film that kicks you in the genitals and stabs you in the stomach with its realism and its drive to push just how important it is to make films of this nature, about these things that no one ever talks about, and more so, to never water them down as most countries do. This gem of Romanian Cinema doesn't do that, instead it refuses to even entertain the idea and forces you to deal with its nature, if you agree with the subject matter or not, it doesn't care, it just makes you sit there cativated in your seat while it tells you a story that you might not be personally ready to hear, but are going to hear anyway. I've said it before and i'll say it again, films like this need to be made, and seen.

Ok so thats it for this post... i'll be back soon... so till then, blessid be.



Sunday, June 21, 2009

Torrent Picks 6/21/09

So here we are once again, its sunday and i'm setting up to pick my torrents for the week, this week is kind of a cool one because I tossed that extra set in there the other day, but this is the weekly original one, so we're just gonna roll with it.. because you know, thats just how we are around here :)

Ok with out any farther delay, lets get to it...

Angels and Demons: First off, I'm sorry on the size on this one, I couldn't find a copy of the torrent I got, which is the same size but split in two files, as a movie this size should be, and yes this IS an R5, which is basically a dvd rip way before a dvd rip is available. Now with that out of the way, I picked this film because it takes us all back to a genre of film that I believe to have lost its way, the classic thriller. Something that is often forgotten or over shadowed by toss away sex comedies or over the top dramas or slasher films that are forgotten less then 4 months after their release, the thriller is a staple of world wide cinema, and i feel its been forgotten. Angels and Demons brings back that feel, the classic mystery that leaves you guessing, and doesn't really give you a solid answer, which leaves you guessing more. Even if you don't agree with the subject matter of Angels and Demons and its sister film The Di Vinci Code, the whole religion is a cover up to hide the real truth of our past, or not, its still an entertaining ride and worth watching.

Watership Down: I know I talk about this film alot, and I constantly praise it, but believe me, its well with it. With its alligoy for life and religious and social equality as told through the world of rabbits and other woodland creatures in the hills of central england, this film teaches us that its no matter how it appears, for nothing on this planet is life easy or not complicated. Everything lives, everything believes in their own beliefs, and everything is willing to go to war for its home and ideals. In a sense, we are all in a way, the same be we man or beast, just the packaging is different, that is the one thing above all else to take away from this beautifully dark children's tale. Its a personal favorite, and as many might recall, its one of my 30 greatest films of all time, and its there for a very good reason.

Little Shop Of Horrors: Now, I know that most people are aware of, or atleast remember the 1986 remake of this film, which was infact pure musical comedy brilliance, but not many remember the original film from 1960, which happens to be the version that I have picked today. Oh sure there are many reasons to love this film, the comedicly offbeat acting, the over the top singing, a very young Jack Nickleson singing about being a dentist, puppet plants, just so many reasons, and to be honest i can't pick one that stands out over all of the others, in a sense, this is a perfect film because of that, which is really something impressive for a Roger Corman film, given most of his work involved ridiculously large breasted woman beating the crap out of men for no reason. For those of you that aren't aware of what this film is, or its plot, its a musical comedy about how alot of people deserve to die. it tells the tale of Seymour, a young poor boy that lives under the florist shop that he works in on skid row the poorest part of town, in I would assume new york city, he is in love with Audrey whom he spends alot of his time with, but is dating a repressive, abusive sadistic dentist (played by a very young and apparently very drunk Jack Nickleson), One day Seymour discovers this small plant, it looks somewhat like a Venus Flytrap, Seymour takes the plant to his home and raises it there, not knowing what it is, he calls it Audrey Two, one day he brings it out of his apartment and shows his boss, who exploits him and the plant to gain money, eventually, as the plant starts to die, Seymour discovers by accident, that the plant feeds off human blood, and as it gets bigger entire human beings. I know the idea sounds absurd but in the realm of intentionally bad and over the top comedy, this is just so very perfect.. if you haven't seen this version, you really should, watch it back to back with the 1986 remake if possible, they're just so awesome together.

Black Snake Moan
: Now it might be hard for many to believe, but I love when a film takes a perfect snapshot of a culture and a time, from the over all feel of the film, to the music used in it, to the cast and how they speak, to every single little detail, just a perfect snapshot, and somewhat forgotten film Black Snake Moan is a film that does all of that. The story of a deeply religious blues guitarist who's given it up for the life of a farmer, and the young nymphomaniac he is determined to save from the fires of hell after finding her beaten on the side of the road near death. Its a story of redemption, rebirth, and the evil that we all do, even those who do it in the name of salvation, and in the name of god, oh and its also got some amazingly well placed and well chosen blues music. This film is just beautiful from start to finish. If you haven't seen it, you really should, plus, like the promos stated, everything's hotter in the deep south.

Klass: Remember what I was saying last week about how some films no matter their subject matter and shocking realism just HAVE to be seen? Well thats the case this week with Klass, an Estonian movie about high school and the complexity and violence there in. its the shockingly realistic story of your average high school in Estonia's capital city Tallinn, where you have your basic social classes, of which, is ofcourse the bully and his followers. One kid decides after standing by and watching this bully's power get out of control, to do something about it, and fight back for himself and his classmates to end this reign of terror. The film explores the entire concept of why people bully others, of personal honor and respect, and how they are earned not given out of fear or intimidation. The film is very dark, and very graphic, from start all the way to the shockingly unsettling ending, but when you think about it, the mind of the average high school student thats living in fear of someone else is a pretty dark and twisted place. This is one of those films I've always told people needs to be seen because so many countries were afraid to tell this sort of story, plus this is like, my second favorite Estonian film to date, second only to August Ball, which, if i can find a good copy of, I'll put up here...

Well, thts it for this week, hopefully you all will enjoy them as much as I did, and be back here next week.. so until my next post, blessid be ..



Friday, June 19, 2009

Torrent Picks Special Edition

Ok so after my article about just what Grindhouse films are, one of my most loyal readers asked me abit more indepth what the term ment, and after explaining it was really a blanket term for many different types of movies just mashed together, I figured it would be best to give some examples of what the true meaning of grindhouse is, so if'n'ye'don'mind, I'm going to take you all on a trip through the heart of the genre that populated drive ins and dollar theaters in the inner city up until the death of both types of places in the mid 1980s.... So sit back, relax, and prepare to laugh at just how absurd these things can get...

The Rocky Horror Picture Show: When you talk about Grindhouse, you can't get more into it then the king of the dollar theater's midnight showing, I'm talking ofcourse about The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the movie that is still all of these years later still delightfully ridiculous and over the top it will NEVER really go out of style, be it for the story thats really just an allegory for the writer's inner struggle with his own sexuality and mental issues, the complete over the top pageantry of the entire film, the delightfully insane casting and just how well they all work together, or even the awesomely 1970s songs... This film still to this day gets midnight showings at the few surviving drive ins and dollar theaters left in the united states, thats a kind of saying power that has no equal.

The Car: Anyone that knows me knows I couldn't do a special edition post like this and not mention this film, possibly the greatest of the "haunted car" films ever made. This thing ruled the Drive In theaters of america for an entire summer, infact 1977, which was the summer of sam, which if you know your serial killers, is a big feat. Ths film follows the basic idea of every "haunted car" film ever made, car is possessed by a demonic spirit and decides to go around killing randomly, sure looking back at it, the film is hilariously bad, but thats the fun of it, the whole camp value, that allows us to look back at alot of Grindhouse films and laugh. Plus any film that makes my friend Frank say outloud "Oh yeah, that guy with the french horn is so gonna be the next to die.." and 4 seconds later it happens, is classic comedy gold.

Midnight Cowboy
: Most people forget that with its X Rating (X Rating in 1969 being the same as a strong R rating today) Midnight Cowboy stands at the top of the mountain of Grindhouse films, but it does. It stands tall and proud, even if most don't realize that its a grindhouse film. See, given its controversial nature, much like Easy Rider, Midnight Cowboy was pushed out to Drive Ins and Dollar Theaters, thinking that maybe it would be forgotten, much like other movies of the same nature, but no, that didn't happen. and today, Midnight Cowboy, one of the most praised films of the 20th Century, is infact a Grindhouse film, and I just love it.

The Fly: This is the classic of classics, this is the master of early horror and science fiction Vincent Price, starring in The Fly, the classic tale of science gone wrong, as yet another scientist tries to play god, and ends up becoming a mixture of fly and human, sure today we look back at this and laugh, even the ironic scene at the end where the fly is stuck in a spider's web yelling "help me! help me!", we laugh at it, and I guess rightly so, but, you see thats the true love of the grindhouse era, it can make us scared, tantalize us, leave us guessing till the very end, but also, it can make us laugh, no matter how intentional or unintentional, we can still look back and laugh, and in some cases, thats why we're entertained.

Shaft: I couldn't do this with out one BLaxplotation film, I just couldn't, they are just so perfect for what is truly grindhouse, with their timestamp of a culture that they are aimed directly at, they are just so perfect, with their giant afros, their bellbottom pants, their hip 1970s slang and way of speaking, and their completely far out fashion, you can't think of grindhouse with out blaxplotation. And when you speak of Blaxplotation, you almost always think of Shaft right away. Shaft, the gritty yet funky story of a strong black detective working for his fellow black people who have been wronged by "the man". With its smooth Issac Hayes made soundtrack, and the just brilliantly done acting, you truly feel as if you are in Shaft's world. Sure looking back at it, its kind of funny and laughable at alot of points, but, its still pretty cool no matter how you see it.

Ok well thats it for this special edition, I should be back sunday with more torrents, not sure if i got anything to post tomorrow, but we'll see... :D

so until then, I'll see all later...



Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Welcome To The Grindhouse

I originally wrote this article 4 years ago under the title "The History of The B-Movie" and having recently just discovered the original copy again, i felt the need to share it again, plus I felt it fits the feel of this place, so with out delay, here we go again...

" Welcome To The Grindhouse: A History of B-Movies from The Drive In and Two Dollar Double Feature Theaters To The Small Screen and Obscurity "

Grindhouse: (noun); A Movie Industry and Movie fan term for what is generally referred to as a "B-Movie" meaning of low budget production and little or unknown outside of a small genre of fans actors starring. Its taken from the 1942 movie "The Lady of The Burlesque" in which one of the dancers refers to the theater they dance in as a grindhouse. A Grindhouse film is generally a movie that would have in its day been shown at a drive in movie theater or in a cheap inner city dollar theater that would show adult features after midnight.

Ever since I was a minicon I can remember enjoying watching bad movies. It wasn't that I knew at the time they were bad, but I just loved them. Like many it started with old monster movies. See, back in the day Boston's WLVI 56, at the time an independent station, had the weekends on lock. Seriously, they would show old cartoons and early anime on saturday and sunday mornings, but come noon time, thats when it was really going on, at noon they would show a classic english dubbed kung fu movie of some kind, and then come 2pm, it was time for The Creature Double Feature. And thats when all the awesome happened, see for those of you too young to know what the classic Creature Double Feature was, it was sort of the daytime brother to the midnight movie, sometimes they would have a show host who would come in with facts about the movie or jokes about it, sometimes not. none of these hosts ever did make it to the iconic level of the late night movie ones, understandable though, people like Elvira or Maila Nurmi's classic alter ego Vampira, or even Count Floyd wouldn't really fit that well in a sunday afternoon timeslot, but thats a side point. The Concept was pretty simple, the creature double feature played mostly monster movies made in japan; Godzilla, Mothra, all the ToHo made classics or classic american B-movies, normally ranging from the universal monsters for the 1930s all the way up to late 1970s or early 1980s sci fi, and afew made by crap movie master studios Troma and Hammer films as well, they were so bad, and yet, thats what made them awesome. In time the other indie channels followed a similar format for awile, WSBK 38 would show two Blaxplotation movies back to back both days, movies like Shaft, Foxy Brown, Three The Hard Way, Car Wash, Sugar Hill (1874's version not that crappy 1994 movie of the same name and different plot), stuff like that, it made great stuff to watch if I didn't like the movie on 56, and following suit behind both of them was WQTV 68, a saturday morning favorite of mine because of their anime, followed up the other two indie stations with other movies that fit the "Grindhouse" genre, stuff like the original Walking Tall movies from the 1970s, and things of that nature. These concepts became so popular they would expand it to late night programing every night of the week, normally moving over for a nationally syndicated show on friday, saturday and sunday nights.

This is where my love of movies started. Oh sure, I didn't really become hardcore about it until I got into high school and started to take classes in Film Study, that I learned of more then just what was shown on tv on week end afternoons and late nights on the weekdays, I learned of some of the greats in film making, Troma Studios and all their intentionally bad sci fi monster movies, the UK's Hammer Studios and all of their incredibly made though really bad horror movies, as well as Cannon films and all their "bad ass" movies that starred people like Chuck Norris and such, all so very very badly made, but such a joy to watch, see, I learned in my teenage years a fact that I keep true with me today, even the worst pile of dog crap thats put on a movie screen, on some level is worth atleast watching once, even if its the worst thing you've ever seen, there is atleast one thing you can take away from it thats enjoyable. Be it, something like the two corvettes you can see in the chariot race scene in that horrible movie Ben-Hur, or the midget that killed himself on screen in The Wizard of Oz at the end of the scene where they meet the Tin Woodsman, or just how bad the line "Soylent Green .... is.... people!" really is, or any number of other things that make a bad movie, bad. And thankfully, with the power of the internet at the fingertips of anyone thats willing to use it for anything other then pornography, there are ways for those like me, to find others that love bad movies just as much, though in all honesty, I've not met one yet that could beat me in movie trivia yet, and in all fairness, I doubt I'll find anyone that ever can. But in any event, I have found those who are like me, and enjoy the same things I do for the same reasons I do, which is awesome because for so long, I thought I was the only one, I honestly did. And now, thanks to the joy that is filesharing, you can get just about any movie ever made with a day's time, or even less depending on your connection.

Now I know that I am not the first or the last wax nostalgic on this topic, but thats alright with me, it doesn't matter who's first, who's last, all that matters is that there are others who share the same love of things because of their ability to defy logic by their very creation. And though I learned in my teen years of some of the greats, Mel Brooks, Roger Corman, Russ Meyer, and people of that ilk, it wasn't really until my late 20s that I discovered just how vast and really interesting the market for B-Movies really was. And just how expansive the genre truly is. apon finding out these things, and researching, I learned to love b-movies all over again, with a rekindled joy and love for something that almost rivals that of my love for a woman. Almost. I learned of the many subfields of B-movies, from the 1930s pre-MPAA era movies like "I am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang" and the 1932 version of "Scarface" and the version of "Little Caesar" that followed soon after, all laced with graphic violence and sexuality in their own ways, and the drug awareness movies of that same time period, everyone's aware of the ironic classic "Reefer Madness" but how many are aware the others made at that time? Movies like "Cocaine Friends" and "Marijuana"? they all followed the same basic plot, which made them kind of all comical in an unintentional way; Young couple go to a party, the party is either in a dark back alley bar or in some ultra rich mansion and the party is full of pretty people dressed in the hight of fashion for the time, there are drugs there, normally whatever drug the movie was showing you the evils of though others were mentioned, the couple have never done drugs before, the host of the party and their friends either bully or guilt the couple into trying whatever the drug "everyone's using" or whatever the term for the timeperiod is, the couple gives in, and followed by a musical bit set to strange music showing the room getting blurry and things looking funny and whatever, the two sink into this new world of drugs very fast so fast even that it always leads to sex before marriage! The movie then shows them spiral down into the lives of addicts who can't get enough, the girl normally becomes a prostitute that becomes pregnant and gives the kid up or ends up a single mother because the boy took up crime and either ends up in jail, dead, or leaving for someone else. Sometimes you'll find a different version where its just the girl and she basically becomes a prostitute with a baby, but they all end the same way, with a text card that reads "Warn your children". God I love 1930s propaganda, seriously its so much better then all that "yay go Allied Forces we're gonna win the war!" bullcrap from the 1940s, its not that I don't love my country mind you, I just find it so incredibly racist its not funny.

Also, its ironic that in the 1930s Hollywood would be doing movies against the use od drugs, when in the 1960s, one of the many genres to appear was Drugsplotation, a genre that embraced the hippie friendly drug culture and tried to make movies to bring that demographic into the theaters, movies like MaryJane, Alice in AcidLand, Yellow Submarine, Head: A Monkee Movie, Hair, Woodstock, and ofcourse the early 1970s brought us A Clockwork Orange and all the Cheech and Chong classics, all of them written for and aimed at the drug culture of the time, you still see this genre alive today in movies though admittedly there are no where near as many of them worth actually sitting down to see, though these early movies in the genre did to a point glamorize the drug scene of the 1960s and 1970s, all except afew choice movies, were quick and prominent to point out and show the downside as well as the up, if thats just how the stories were written or a hollywood mandate when studios started to aim at this demographic is unclear, but I rather like it, it added a human and harsh side to what would otherwise seem to be an onslaught of surrealistic imagery of half naked people flailing around to pretty colors played over even more surrealistic Hendrix style electric blues rock type music. The few exceptions were movies like Head: A Monkee Movie, Yellow Submarine, and the Cheech and Chong movies, Head and Yellow Submarine both being made by major label top selling music acts at the time it made since they would want to keep selling them to the drug crowd and the cheech and chong movies simply because they were just to funny end everyone knew they were really lampooning drug culture as much as they were promoting it. You still see the drug movie alive and well today, movies like "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" and "Half Baked", "Trainspotting" and "21 Grams" still show at at times, it can be a respectable field, though more times then not, its just an excuse to make a stupid movie about druggies doing stupid things these days.

The 1960s also gave us a very strange and hard to really define genre called Sexplotiation, see, its hard to tell where this concept came from, they aren't always hippie friendly "Free love" movies, infact though there is nudity and sexual related dialog 98% of movies in this genre have no actual sexual content, and even in the 2% that does, its never more then just passionate kissing between a man and a woman or sometimes two women depending on the story and plot of the movie, alot of people mix Sexplotation movies up with early pornographic movies, but there are many differences, there is almost never any sexual contact though there is alot of nudity, mostly "Cheesecake" poses and graphic talk of sex in some way or another, there really is none to speak of, and also, more times then not, the plot is just strange and kind of surrealistic stuff about daily life or just enjoying life wile being mostly naked or just plain violent. Graphic scenes of whipping, sometimes beating, cutting, and implied rape, by the Grindhouse era in the 1970s you had some rather interesting mixtures in movies of the sexplotation genre, "bad girl" movies like "Switchblade Sisters", "Faster Pussycat Kill! Kill!" and "The Born Losers", there were alot of biker, more to point hells angels related movies in this field as well I should add, as well as "Women Behind Bars" movies, most known in the "Ilsa" series of movies where in this tall statuesque blond woman from German named Ilsa who started out as the madam of "a secret nazi sex camp" takes on various roles, alot of nudity and weird bondage like stuff thats not exactly bondage happens, and in the end, there are afew mutilated nude bodies and stuff of that nature, how they were made with out being called porn, I'll never actually understand. In Sexplotation you also had movies didn't really fit any of the other categories, movies like "The Valley of the Dolls" and its follow up "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls", "3 Women" and movies like "I'm curious (blue)" and its second part "I'm curious (yellow) both highly erotic and display full frontal male and female nudity, blue has a famous scene where a woman kisses her lover's penis on screen, as well as a ton of beach movies that all followed the same plot; beaches, kids in almost nothing and sometimes nothing, singing, some older person trying to ruin their fun, and everyone getting along by the end. This concept was later redone as the "Teen Movie" in the 1980s, much like Sexplotation was recycled into the "sex movie" in the 1980s as well, movies like 9 1/2 Weeks, Basic instinct, even the recent soon to be cult movie Shortbus, all the children of this genre. Its weird, I'm not really a massive fan, given the graphic violence on women in alot of the movies, but I find it important to note in movie history.

By the early 1970s came the next genre that alot of the movies of my youth fit into, that would be the genre recently touched apon and brought back to life in the 2007 film named for the genre, I'm speaking ofcourse of the concept of The Grindhouse. The Grindhouse genre, named so because many of the theaters that aired these movies were either old porn theaters or burlesque show houses, is awesome in the fact it fits all of the above listed styles as well as many others, biker movies, slasher movies, cannibal and zombie movies, shock movies, Kung Fu movies, all sorts of stuff, all piled into dark, dirty rundown urban movie houses and shown two different movies at a time, 7 days a week, from noon till sometimes as late as 3am. The whole point of the Grindhouse style theater was pretty simple, take movies that could be gotten cheaply and aimed as second or third feature at a Drive In movie theater and show them double feature style, most of these theaters were simply just old theaters that didn't really make enough money to afford the big name movies of the time, and with the drive in movie theater slowly dying, despite most drive in theaters going to double and triple features for the price of one, it was very easy and cheap to get ahold of the movies aimed as second and third feature, and thats just what the Grindhouse theaters did, many of the movies, had film scratches, "quick clipped" edits or dialog and scenes, and other various damages or effects of badly produced movie making. See, The Grindhouse and The Drive In Movie Theaters weren't seen as being on the same level as a regular movie theater, and movies aimed at them didn't have to be overly pristine in their production and such, cheap made movies to get the people in the seats and make double or triple the movie's cost was the basic idea. The movies fit into many different categories, some of which we've covered already, but here is the complete list; Drugsplotation, Sexplotation, Blaxplotation, Shockplotation, Giallo, Disaster movies, Zombie Movies, Post Apocalypse movies, Space movies, Cannibal movies, Kung Fu Movies, Tough Guy Movies, Classic, Rubber Monster Movies, Slasher Movies, Hicksplotation, Revenge movies, Demonplotation and afew others that weren't really big enough to fit a name those are all filed under simply "B-Movies" or "Grindhouse Movies" both meaning the same thing. Some had their own subgenres too, which I would like to explain now if thats alright with all of you? Ok, I thought so, hope you don't mind alittle repeating.

Drugsplotation: Is a movie that intentionally glamorizes the use of drugs be it by intent or not, many times movies that were ment to be anti-drug were given cult status for their overly preachy to the point of comical depiction of drug life, almost every single one of them ends with the main characters dead, in jail, pregnant and single, becoming involved in prostitution, or some mix of all of them, movies like Reefer Madness, MaryJane and Cocaine Friends fit here. Some would also argue that 1970s things like H.R Puffnstuf the movie would fit here too.

Sexplotation: Is a movie that shows graphic nudity or women wearing almost nothing or very revealing clothing, more often then not the women were large busted, some were also very violent and degrading to women as a whole though not to the extent that Shocksplotation was at times. Russ Meyer and Roger Corman were the two biggest film makers of this field. It had subgenres too, Women in Prison, where its your basic prison movie, just with women and nudity, Bad Girl movies, were you would have a woman or a group of women dressed rather sexy going around fighting bad guys for whatever reason, Nunsplotation movies, were you normally had an attractive nun meeting a man or woman and questioning leaving her station for them, there were also movies that would today be listed as "erotic art house" movies like I'm Curious (Blue) and I'm Curious (Yellow), though they were more "intersexual" movies, meaning though erotically based in story and image, they were intelligently written and ment to make you look inside yourself and your own ideas. Movies like Faster Pussycat Kill Kill!, The Born Losers and Switchblade Sisters fit here.

Blaxplotation: Is a movie aimed at urban culture and mostly black movie-goers, they dealt with issues that were common to the urban landscape at the time, though looking back at them now, as cool as they are, some do come off seeming insulting to the culture itself. Movies range from being about music, to drugs, to pimps, to revenge, and all sorts of others too, sometimes they would just take a movie that was already made and give it an all black cast, Black Shampoo and The Whiz come to mind as examples of that(Remakes of Shampoo and The Wizard of Oz respectively). Movies like Shaft, Hammer, Coonskin, and Cleopatra Jones fit here.

Shockplotation: Shock is just that, shock. Any movie designed to gross you out with gore and violence and things of that nature, The whole point of them is to, well shock you, "Faces of Death", "Mondo Cane", and the Ilsa movies too, "The Life of Ricky" movies come to mind as well. Though admittedly, The Life of Ricky movies came along many years after the golden era of Grindhouse. You see just about anything can fit in this genre really, sexplotation crossed into it alot, as did slasher movies, and sometimes even kung fu. There really aren't any definitive series or movies in this genre, sept I guess Faces of Death and Mondo Cane and all those cannibal movies.

Hicksplotation: These were movies aimed at people who lived in rural areas, mostly in the south, alot of these movies starred country music singers from the 60s and 70s and to a degree had a revival in the early 80s with those really bad Dolly Parton movies, but they would be based on stuff you would find happening in the rural areas of the country, moonshine running, stock car or hot rod races, saving the farm from being taken by the bank, stuff like that, mostly movies that starred Burt Reynolds or people like that. Movies like, Stroker Ace, Convoy and Harper Valley PTA fit here.

Demonplotation: This where you would fit all the "demonic" movies, things like the exorcist, poltergeist, the omen, movies of that nature as well as classics like Häxan, a 1922 movie about witches and satanic worship that gained a cult following, and others that fit that same formula. this genre really only came into being near the end of the Grindhouse era and isn't as well known as its older brothers, the zombie and cannibal movies. Movies like The Omen, Phantasm, to an extent the Hellraiser movies later on, all would fit here.

Rubber Monster Movies:
These are basically all of those monster movies from japan, mostly ones made by Toho and companies like that, there are so many sub genres of that its kind of dizzying, so for the American crowd its just lopped into one, this is also were you would find badly made American and European monster movies too, and some would list zombie movies in this grouping too, I tend to do that for sake of simplification, Movies that would fit into this genre are Godzilla and all the movies spun from that, most of the alien movies made in the 1950s, and alot of the monster ones made in the 60s too.

Space Movies: Space movies, and their sister the post apocalypse, always seemed to follow the same formula basically though Post Apocalypse doesn't leave the planet normally, the great nuclear war has come and gone, and whats left of mankind have either taken to space for a home or searching for a new home, normally they involve fighting some big alien armada of some kind, more often then not there are robots of some kind, or strange alien crew members and such, basic sci fi fodder. Movies that fit in this genre would be things like The Black Hole, Darkstar, 2001: Space odyssey.

Giallo: are Italian made movies with a mix of thriller/erotica/Crime Drama normally, kind of the Italian brother to the gangster movie of the 1940s normally. Dario Argento was the master of this genre if there ever was one. Movies one would put into this genre are Five Dolls for an August Moon, Don't Torture a Duckling, A Dragonfly for Each Corpse.

Kung Fu Movies: Simple explanation, these are as they seem, kung fu movies brought over from Asia, mostly hong kong, ironically based on Japanese lore or manga, they were tales of honor and stuff of that nature, the genre is, always defined by Akira Kurosawa and his work. Movies in this genre would be things like Enter The Dragon, Lone Wolf and Cub, and Seven Samurai.

Slasher Movies: Slasher movies have to be the most well known of all the Grindhouse genres, the basic idea is pretty simple, a group of teenagers or collage age kids end up somewhere, normally a campground or some old house in the middle of nowhere, and there is some kind of local legend about someone that goes around killing people cuz of some stupid thing or another, and normally all one one of the kids dies, its kind of what you wished Scooby Doo cartoons would be, but never ended up being. Movies in this genre would be things like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween, and Nightmare on Elm Street.

Tough Guy Movies: The concept of the Tough Guy movie is pretty simple, angry man or group of men normally fight against a big business or some local rich person thats trying to take over or something, action movies also came out of this genre as did alot of biker movies, and it infact made Chuck Norris, Charles Bronson, and earlier then them Steve McQueen and James Dean stars. though some argue on if thats a good thing or not. Movies in this genre include Death Wish, Bullit, and the three Walking Tall movies.

Music Movies: The Music Movie is, in some cases the greatest form of Grindhouse movie there is, normally they were just an excuse for a band to act in some crappy written movie that allowed them to sort of Showcase their greatest hits, or songs off a certain album, maybe work a cover or two into the mix for fun, sometimes they were movies that were simply documentaries, like Woodstock, Monterey Pop, Wattstax, and the like, others were completely off the wall, Tommy, Rock and Roll High School, KISS Meets the Phantom of Central Park, This Spinal Tap, and many others worked in popular songs by the bands involved but were actual movies, that told a story, even if it wasn't that powerful of a story. Movies that would fit this genre are like, Heavy Metal, Rock and Roll High School, and Tommy.

The rest filter off into Cult and standard B-Movies, not incredibly bad, not incredibly good in most cases, there are many gems though among the coal though, when researching the history of the B-Movie, Harold and Maude comes to mind as one of the best, as does Carnival of Souls, and Somewhere In Time, another great classic thats forever to be a B-Movie. I know alot of you out there are thinking "the hell are you on about, the B-movie is still around, they make them all the time.." well yes, you are right, the *name* of the B-Movie is still around, but the concept, well the concept is nothing more then cable friendly softcore porn in the modern era, don't get me wrong, there are many stars who have made great careers out of being in B-movies in the modern era, Julie Strain comes to mind, but still at the risk of sounding somewhat like a whining old grump thats scared by change, its not the same, a B-Movie isn't supposed to be softcore pornography, or crappy sex joke movies that star people like Ron Jeremy, simply because they're Ron Jeremy. A B-Movie is ment to be somewhat campy and fun, or to scare the piss out of you and make you laugh all at the same time, its not ment to be this stupid excuse for washed up pornstars to try and act in "real" movies, just seems strange and out of place to me. But thats me, I'm kind of stuck in my movie past.

I won't lie to you, as a whole I sometimes think the modern movie business has lost something, its lost its way, and its soul, and its originality, oh sure you see afew gems a year, though many are loe budget, Indie or direct to dvd movies with no promotion at all, wile piles of crap like Mission Impossible 3 and that really bad Pink Panther remake get all sorts of promotion and just plain tank at the box office. I just don't understand Hollywood I guess, no matter how well I read on it, and learn on it, and the more and more people I meet in the business, I swear I will never understand the way the promotional values are divvied up, I just don't get it. I am not going to be one of those doomsayers that proclaims the end of the world is at hand because they made another DieHard movie, or whatever, but I won't say I don't miss my weekend afternoons as a child watching movies with people in foam rubber suits fighting in miniature cities where stuff gets blown up constantly, or old black and white movies where a woman will let out a really loud earsplitting scream for no reason at all half the time wile running away from what looks like jello.