Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Polly Shang Kuan!

PSK, join the movement.

This little video says everything you need to know about my favorite kung fu actress Polly Shang Kuan. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Lee Marvin, everybody

Lee Marvin liked to fight the Second World War. He fought it all the time! He fought it killin’ everyone that was coming up the highway. But then when I got in the picture he started just starin’ at me. And he stared at me and he stared at me. I knew something was gonna happen to me bad right then. And then he would jump right at me, jump right over to the sideways at me and there I was, fighting the Second World War. I’d go sideways over the couch, he’d go sideways over the couch. I’d jump over behind the couch and here he’d come Ku-thud, Ku-thud, Ku-thud so I couldn’t quite get away from him.—June Carter Cash

This week the Weird Wednesday presentation will be Lee Marvin in John Boorman's POINT BLANK, one of the best Hollywood films ever made and a totally bizarre amalgam of RED DESERT, Don Siegel and Vincente Minnelli. It's a film that could have never been made without Lee Marvin. MGM wasn't in the art film business but because Lee Marvin was such a bankable star he secured cast approval and final cut, then deferred them to Boorman. Together Boorman and Marvin crafted a film like no other.

Here's John Boorman's appreciation of Lee Marvin:

Follow through to the further chapters if you're interested.

And here's some great stuff from Lee Marvin himself:

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I Luv Video Pick Shelf for Nov 11.

Come Drink With Me!

Pop by I Luv Video to see tons of great new stuff. I changed out my pick shelf today.

Here's what I gots now:

Airport Blvd. Location:

Charles Bronson plays a great, challenging multifaceted role in this strange Rene Clement thriller. With Marlene Joubert, Gabrielle Tinti and of course Jill Ireland. Much more cerebral and less sweaty than you'd expect. Great noir euroambient vibe too.

William Smith, with an unfortunate, ludicrous fake 'stache stars as a biker who sells his story to LIFE magazine and ends up on the run from his former bros. Directed by the late, great Jack Starrett. Some really strange, experimental editing going on here. Smith is awesome.

Richard Lester directed both of these films, which were originally conceived as one big, long film. When they were released separately Raquel Welch, and maybe others, sued the producers. It's a huge epic in a way but it feels really loose and spontaneous too. It turns out Lester used up to seven cameras to film every take, so the action and performances have great, lifelike continuity. And it's really funny. Cast includes Raquel Welch, Faye Dunaway, Charlton Heston, Christopher Lee and, as the musketeers: Michael York, Frank Finlay, Richard Chamberlain and the always drunk and violent Oliver Reed. Great!

Shaw Brothers master Lau Kar Leung directs what is basically a 30's screwball farce mixed with a hardcore martial arts extravaganza. Gordon Liu marries a Japanese woman who turns out to be a karate master. They have a number of philosophical disputes about the nature of martial arts, then she storms back to Japan. He sends her a playful "challenge letter" which is intercepted by a shit-starting ninja master. Pretty soon the ninja brings a whole delegation of Japanese fighters to answer Liu's challenge. Then, in a long series of fights, the weapons and philosophy of China's martial arts prove to be no match for Japan. The End.

Guadalupe Store:

I don't know why everybody doesn't talk about this movie every day. It's a huge landmark classic. You can't be cool unless you've seen it. Ostensibly a women in prison film it becomes a howling vortex of psychedelic Noh expressionism. So weird. So great. So not rented out? What?

DEATH CURSE is OK but STING OF DEATH is what I'm about. Made in Florida dopiness about a mad scientist who somehow makes a jellyfish monster. At least I think that's what it's about. You watch it and tell me. With Neil Sedaka, horseman of the apocalypse.

Not a typical Shaw Bros. film, if there is such a thing. This was made by one of the greatest film dudes ever to make films, King Hu. Check out his A TOUCH OF ZEN too. This is beautifully soundstagebound, like a little Joseph Cornell box. Star Cheng Pei-Pei is just heartbreakingly adorable and cute and sexy and deadly. The action is like a dream. A perfect little jewel of a movie. Also known as BIG DRUNK HERO.

Dumb '40s B-movie. Completely forgettable in every way except for the performance of Mantan Moreland. Moreland excelled at playing the archetypal "easily scared man". Unfortunately a lot of people cringe at his performances because in addition to being "easily scared" he's "black". If he happened to be easily scared white man Mantan Moreland many more people would consider his humor funny. But no matter, Mantan Moreland was really really funny. And the proof is right here. Rent it. You'll laugh.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


This scene was cut out! Shiiiiiit!

Last week's showing of DEVIL'S WEDDING NIGHT went OK I guess. Unfortunately the print was mangled and my two favorite scenes were missing. If you didn't know what you weren't getting it was probably still fun but if you've seen the film you know that the blood bath scene and the love scene between Rosalba Neri and Mark Damon are pretty key parts. Also, a number of people were asking why Rosalba Neri was billed as Sara Bay. She did several films with that pseudonym towards the end of her prime, including LADY FRANKENSTEIN. I think she was trying to generate some US marquee appeal, which would be tough with such an ungainly name as Rosalba Neri I guess.

Even though the print was cut I think any time you can experience Rosalba Neri on film on the big screen is like a kind of religious experience and I enjoyed every second. It's apparently in the public domain and you can watch the whole thing here.

FREEZE BOMB is pretty appealing too. I've tried and tried to identify the appeal of Al Adamson movies and I can't quite put the pieces together. He's not a skilled director but he gets all the shots together to tell the story and works with good people like cinematographer Gary Graver and stunt coordinator Bud Cardos. The cast in FREEZE BOMB is pretty good too. Odd Job and Terry Moore are really bad (but entertaining) but Jim Kelly, George Lazenby, Aldo Ray and Patch Mackenzie as the lab assistant with the implanted microchip are all good. Also notable is the great stuntman Bob Wall as the Haitian henchman. But that snapping turtle is nightmare material. If I saw one of those in my neighborhood I'd move away.