Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Diddy Wah is a damn good site for music lovers, and through it I've discovered some swell tunes, including
my new favorite song, "Bacon Fat" by Big Daddy & His Boys.
(It's almost as good as "Check Me Baby," by Willie Tomlin (which I only know thanks to Toestubber), or “Layin’ in my Cell Sleepin’ ” by Sunnyland Slim (thanks WFMU Ichiban!).)
(some of the) LYRICS
While I was down/in-a Tennessee
All my friends was-a/glad to see me
Seen some of ’em down/by the railroad tracks
Seen some cotton-pickers/with their sacks on their backs
They say, “Hey, maaaaaaaaaan, we’re glad to see you back/we gotta new dance/they call the Bacon Fat.”
It go: Diddley-diddley-diddley-diddley-diddley-diddley-diddley-diddley-Wop! Wop!
“Lord, have mercy!”
“Help yerself, young’uns!”
“Yesssssssss! Feel like I wanna holler, but the town’s too small! Have mercy!”
“Entertain the people, young’un! Yesssssssssss!”
The Horrible Truth About Super Science
Oh yeah: the drug war is doomed
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Today in 1933, there was a 6.2 earthquake in Long Beach, California.
The perfect reason to feature some
The Lethal Hurt Weapon Locker
Life is a box of chocolates—a cheap, thoughtless, perfunctory gift that nobody ever asks for.
No conspiracies here, move along, citizen!
Why all the ladies are wearing it!
Foetus reads! And has a nifty book collection.
New documentary about The Great Stanley K.—unfortunately not available yet on DVD…
Netflix has fucked up BIG TIME and are pissing a lot of people off
“Does my writing need to be good?” Yes.
Happy 92nd Birthday to Mickey Spillane (who is, unfortunately still dead)!
Many times the titles are the best thing about a movie
Posted by Ivan at 2:06 PM
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm (1962)
Directed by Henry Levin and George Pal
Produced by George Pal
Screenplay by David P. Harmon, Charles Beaumont, William Roberts
Story by David P. Harmon
Based on "Die Bruder Grimm" by Dr. Hermann Gerstner
and the stories of Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm (uncredited)
Cinematography by Paul C. Vogel (in Cinerama!)
Film Editing by Walter Thompson
Special Visual Effects by Tim Baar, Wah Chang, Robert R. Hoag, Gene Warren
With stop-motion by Jim Danforth, David Pal, Don Sahlin, Peter Van Elk
Music by Leigh Harline
Laurence Harvey (Wilhelm Grimm/ The Cobbler), Karl Boehm (Jacob Grimm),
with Claire Bloom, Barbara Eden, Oskar Homolka, Arnold Stang, Yvette Mimieux, Russ Tamblyn, Jim Backus, Terry-Thomas, Buddy Hackett, Billy Barty, Angelo Rossitto, Ian Wolfe
Released by MGM
fab flick (as an adult and under the best conditions available, that is, letterboxed and in color),
it HERE (scroll way down; it’s the last of several long entries), and there’s plenty of additional links at that link if you’re interested in further reading on The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm.
Rarely seen since 1962, and never released to VHS, The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm (WWBG) was essentially considered “lost.”
Thankfully, it has been showing up at odd hours on TCM (my new best friend, and really an invaluable resource to anyone interested in movies unavailable on DVD), so maybe that’s an indication that a DVD release is in the works. Fingers crossed!
Because this George Pal production is a
gentle, sweet, family friendly fantasy
that’s often quite spectacular in that old school Hollywood way, especially the effects
(this movie has a great stop-motion dragon, in my opinion).
This is a Cinerama movie,
so seeing it on TV or DVD will never be the same experience as in an original theater,
but if you can brain-flash yourself into the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, circa 1962,
you could have a blast.
Developed to showcase the Cinerama movie system,
WWBG is full of eye-popping filler
(lots of travelogue-type footage, and cameras moving through sets and crowds), and personally,
I enjoy how the letterboxed Cinerama image distorts around the edges---it added to the sense of fantasy for me.
The movie is also worth seeing for one of Laurence Harvey’s most joyful and life-affirming performances (usually he’s so gloomy or mean!).
He’s one of the Grimms, the dreamy one (in both sense of the word—especially since the other Grimm Brother is played by creepy and stiff (was it a language problem?) Karl Boehm, who was the killer in Peeping Tom (WTF!?!)),
and Harvey seems to be having a good time in WWBG,
and he gets to really overact as the lazy, goofball Cobbler whose ass is saved by the welfare state, symbolized by Puppettoon magic elves.
While the whole third act of the film
could have used some seriously judicious trimming,
the finale is incredibly heartwarming and moving,
bringing a tear to even a coal-hearted monster like myself.
When I’d last written about George Pal
in my entry about MIA DVDs (the URL link I’d referred to earlier),
I was slamming the dude pretty hard about being out of touch with his audiences and in his choices of scripts,
especially with The Power and Atlantis, the Lost Continent.
The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm
is a film that richly deserves to be rediscovered
and put next to other classic fantasy flicks of that era.
Monday, March 1, 2010
Self-consciously arty, the Japanese horror flick Uzumaki (translated: Spiral, or Vortex), released in 2000, is, to the National Film Board of Ivanlandia, a failure.
The flick needed to be more exploitative—
it needed more cheap thrills, whether more gore, mayhem or boobs.
The film was certainly weird enough;
it’s just that it never got
Uzumaki never reached a crescendo or any sort of proper
it just petered out.
Sure, the flick’s clever. But how’s that workin’ out for you these days?
The biggest problem with Uzumaki is the female lead:
For no apparent reason, she remains blithe and clueless (almost stupid; perhaps brain damaged, or mentally retarded) while everyone around her is mutating or committing suicide.
Perhaps her behavior was meant to be unnerving, but without any explanation, she’s just annoying.
So this is another Ivanlandia entry into the
Final Girl’s Film Club Blogorama;
I bet most of the other entries will be more positive towards this flick—I can see why people might like Uzumaki.
But it just never clicked for me.
In my opinion, though, if you want some really TOP NOTCH Japanese weirdness/horror, I will say
Onibaba (1964) is utterly awesome:
An old woman and her daughter-in-law (both widows) live in the reeds near a river that’s near a battlefield or war zone.
The two women strip the dead and dying samurai of their armor and sell it on the black market.
A drifter enters their lives and romances the young woman, and the mother-in-law, frightened that she’ll be left alone to fend for herself, tries using the supernatural (I refuse to give away too much) to frighten him away.
An intense, almost raw film with some of the BEST black & white cinematography,
Horrors of Malformed Men (1969) is a Japanese Jodorowsky film. Nuff said. (But my review/comments on it are HERE, scroll to the end.)