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Showing posts from June, 2006

THERE'S A RIOT GOIN' ON UP IN CEL BLOC #10

This week's cartoon reviews on the Cinema 4: Cel Bloc -
Sunday, 6/18/06: Peg Leg Pedro (1939) Cel Bloc Rating: 7
Monday, 6/19/06:The King of Bugs (1930) Cel Bloc Rating: 4
Tuesday, 6/20/06:Joe Glow, the Firefly (1941) Cel Bloc Rating: 6
Wednesday, 6/21/06:Snowtime for Comedy (1941) Cel Bloc Rating: 6
Thursday, 6/22/06:The Curious Puppy (1939) Cel Bloc Rating: 6
Friday, 6/23/06:Dog Gone Modern (1939) Cel Bloc Rating: 6
Saturday, 6/24/06:A Fireman's Life (1933) Cel Bloc Rating: 6

RECENTLY RATED MOVIES #19

It's amazing the expectations that we carry into films when we watch them for the first time. A couple months of build-up for Nacho Libre, including downloading the wonderful preproduction podcasts, and an unfettered affection for the D. and J.B. and K.G. left me hanging a little bit when I watched the actual film. I still enjoyed it, and my laughter became unchained and wild in a few scenes, but I couldn't help feeling some disappointment over the final result. Still, thinking about getting some corn on a stick...

It's amazing how an old favorite like The Uninvited can show up on TV at the exact moment when you a) have some downtime, b) really need a relaxing plunge into familiarity, and c) have already watched three Ray Milland movies in the previous couple of weeks. Why not? And why is this seemingly dated ghostly creaker from 1944 still scarier than most of the films made since? I should actually make this one part of my Slipped Discsseries of neglected films not on DVD…

FIVE DISCS OF DEATH #7

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Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (1922)
[Nosferatu, A Symphony of Horror]
Director: F.W. Murnau
Cinema 4 Rating: 8
The first vampire film that I ever saw, it, along with Keaton's Seven Chances and Cops and Chaplin's The Gold Rush, kick-started my fascination with silent film. Not only my first vampire film, but also the one that creeps me out the most, even to this day. Perhaps because its not about blood or cheap scares or insane special effects; like many Murnau films, it's about mood. This particular mood contains a virus that slowly rots away at your soul and your psyche. The mood works over you much like the plague represented in the film, and you are already half defeated with the sickness by the time that Orlock makes his way into the town of Wisborg. Sure, it's not half as erotic as its plagiarized source material, Bram Stoker's Dracula, but in some ways, I feel this version gets closer to the syphillitic nightmare that lies at the heart of Stoker's wo…

THERE'S A RIOT GOIN' ON UP IN CEL BLOC #9

This week on the Cinema 4: Cel Bloc -
Sunday, 6/11/06: The Village Barber (1930) Cel Bloc Rating: 7
Monday, 6/12/06:Betty Boop's Crazy Inventions (1932) Cel Bloc Rating: 7
Tuesday, 6/13/06:Hep Cat Symphony (1949) Cel Bloc Rating: 6
Wednesday, 6/14/06:A Coach for Cinderella (1936) Cel Bloc Rating: 5
Thursday, 6/15/06:A Ride for Cinderella (1937) Cel Bloc Rating: 5
Friday, 6/16/06:In My Merry Oldsmobile (1930) Cel Bloc Rating: 6
Saturday, 6/17/06:Balloon Land (1935) Cel Bloc Rating: 8

SLIPPED DISCS: IT HAPPENS EVERY SPRING (1949)

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If you possessed a chemical substance that could gain you an edge in the competitive field of your choice -- say, baseball, for instance -- and you knew it could help you obtain large amounts of money and prestige, even for a single season, and you were reasonably sure that nobody could detect what you were using, would you use it? Or would your conscience weigh you down with guilt over your ill-gotten fortune and fame?

Unfortunately, such moral questions are barely touched on in 20th Century Fox's 1949 horsehide fantasy, It Happens Every Spring, but that doesn't diminish its entertainment value. Yeah, I've got my favorite baseball movies:Bull Durham, Pride of the Yankees, Eight Men Out, Bingo Long's Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings. And I could name a few more of which I am enamored, but none more so than this ridiculous, highly improbable goof-fest starring Ray Milland as a mild-mannered and low-paid college professor named Vernon Simpson who wants to earn enough m…

POPEYE FIGHTS TO THE FINISHK ON DVD! (PUNDITS CLAIM SPINACH-AIDED VICTORY)

POPEYE TO BE FINALLY RELEASED ON DVD

A couple months ago, I accused King Features Syndicate, the intellectual owner of Popeye, of cultural crimes for continuing to withhold the full slate of classic Max Fleischer Popeye shorts from being released on DVD, due to an ongoing decades-old dispute with Warner Bros., the studio which currently owns the rights to the library. Warners' has apparently been restoring the films in anticipation of a settlement in the case, and on Wednesday, June 9, 2006, a date that will ring loud and true in the hearts of cartoon fans for eternity, that time has come. The two entities have come to terms, Warners' kicks some serious ass, and now a complete Fleischer DVD boxed set of the Popeye series will be coming out sometime in 2007.

I'm sorry, that is all that I can write about it at one time. I can barely keep my fingers on the keys due to the fact that I keep floating up into the air with laughter. (Maybe I shouldn't write after I've seen p…

THERE'S A RIOT GOIN' ON UP IN CEL BLOC #8

A second week of Aesop's Fables from the Van Beuren Studios in the early 1930's was the focus, but the next couple weeks will see the spotlight hopping around between numerous studios and stars. I'm feeling the need to be a little more diverse with my choices for a while, so with the cute but sneakily dope-tinged Fly Frolic, I am bidding adieu to Van Beuren for the forseeable future. (I still have four or five films left on the first volume of the Thunderbean collection, but I shall save them for another time). Hopping over to Ub Iwerks' studio today for The Village Barber with Flip the Frog. As for the past week, go check them out!

The past week on the Cinema 4: Cel Bloc -
Sunday, 6/04/06: A Romeo Robin (1930) Cel Bloc Rating: 4
Monday, 6/05/06:Hot Tamale (1930) Cel Bloc Rating: 5
Tuesday, 6/06/06:Gypped in Egypt (1930) Cel Bloc Rating: 6
Wednesday, 6/07/06:Makin' 'Em Move (1931) Cel Bloc Rating: 6
Thursday, 6/08/06:The Family Shoe (1931) Cel Bloc Rating…

RECENTLY RATED MOVIES #18

Fuzzy everything.

Fuzzy editing. Fuzzy screenwriting. Even fuzzy acting. And this fuzziness is embodied in the scene where Jennifer Aniston parades past Vince Vaughan to shock him with the fact that a certain recently waxed area of her pelvic region is no longer in the fuzzy category, and as she walks away from the camera, its lens fuzzes out more the longer we are allowed a glimpse of her posterior. She, of the infamous Rolling Stone butt cover, a full decade later, mind you, has to resort to coyly exposing her flesh, only to tease the audience in the so-called "romantic comedy" called The Break-Up. The irony of the fuzz shot is that the scene is about a bare cooter. On the Vaughn end of things, he sells the scene with just a shocked look and a bemused smirk on her exit, but I feel it would have been more devastating if the audience could have shared in his pain more by seeing clearly what is walking slowly out of his life. Because her posterior beauty is one of the few thin…

THERE'S A RIOT GOIN' ON UP IN CEL BLOC #7

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Follow the bouncing ball, folks! The Cel Bloc is stuck in the early 1930's for the next couple of weeks. Most of the films hail from one company, the Van Beuren Studios, who folded in 1936 after RKO pulled the rug out from under them and went with Disney instead. Hard to blame them, of course, but the company that went down produced a lot of fun little pictures over the years. Not great films, but fun little pictures. Thunderbean Animation has produced an exquisite collection of many of these films, and when the title of the DVD, Aesop's Fables From the Van Beuren Studio - Volume 1, promises it is the first of a series, then I hope that they follow through with the rest. Dig the cat girl on the cover, too! Meeee-owww!

I took a little time and checked out the special Collector's Edition of The Wizard of Oz -- you know, the great and powerful one -- and this time around, the set comes with numerous other versions of Oz, including a 1933 animated one by the mysterious Ted Eshb…

FIVE DISCS OF DEATH #6

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Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
Director: Terry Gilliam
Cinema 4 Rating: 8
I'm 14, my parents are divorced, and my mom has new friends, a new home, and is trying out variations in her own life. She leaves an intriguingly titled book on the dashboard of her car, leaves me in the car while she runs a few errands at a couple of stops, and in the time she takes at each stop, I successfully made it halfway through Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. It cannot be stated too exaggeratedly that my mind was blown from that point on, to the point where my inner vision resembled that of Ralph Steadman's crude scrawlings on the paperback's cover. In the next couple of weeks, through the sly wrangling of the slim volume, I managed to read through it four times, and then hit the library for more of Thompson's seemingly insane though prophetic ranting against Nixon and the establishment. (Nixon had been abolished by this point, of course, but much of what he s…

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