Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The 200th Episode of The United Provinces of Ivanlandia (and a mess o’ movie reviews)

Before we start the festivities, check out above:
the Stupendous Gil Kane rendered a near perfect caricature of me—
as a demon tormenting an artist named… “Gil Kane”!
(Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!)

And he drew this a LONG TIME before I came near looking like that.
That drawing is me at 32! And was done when I was probably--mumble, mumble--12 or 13...?

Meanwhile I love Kane’s superclean pencils—jeez, such purity of line! I never read any of the comics he illustrated regularly, but I always loved it when he’d “guest” pencil for a vacationing regular: his two-issue run early in the publication of Conan the Barbarian is one of my faves (issues #17 & 18, summer 1972), and he had a way with technology—there’s Kirbytech, and then there’s Kanetech.

Therefore, it is with plenty of Gil Kane samples that we illustrate the 200th posting at The United Provinces of Ivanlandia!
The Gil Kane samples will share space with images of the lovely Martha Hyer, star of Pyro, one of the films reviewed in this post.

And to repeat, this is the 200th Edition of The United Provinces of Ivanlandia!
I’m spraining my arm patting myself on the back! Yee-ha!
And thanks to the “followers” and to everyone who leaves comments!

Here’s to 2,000 more!
(I guess to some folks 200 posts would be nothing—I mean, some blogs seem to put out 200 posting a month—and then there are the sites where somebody actually writes something for each of those posts—usually whining and whinging about TV shows, or health, or politics, or mainly morbidly self-involved navel gazing… Not that that’s all of what Maximum Posters do—just some of ’em.)

Hmmm….Well it appears I could have joined in all the 31 days of Halloween celebrations taking place across the blogosphere, but I watched more than 30 movies in September, and there are more day(s) in October.

Yeah, like a lot of nerds, I keep lists, and I noticed that the flicks viewed during September 2011
(whether via DVD or streaming—no theatricals this month—or for a while; the treasury’s short)
tended towards the…eclectic as a group—I find myself saying, how did I wind up watching these flicks in the course of a month?

September Cinema In Random Order

Seven Beauties (1975)
Swept Away (1974)
Yeah, I’m catching up on my Lina Wertmuller flicks—great, smart, cutting socio-political ideas churned up with some major emoting—go, go Giannini!

Pyro (1964)
Martha Hyer! Hubba-hubba!
Often she’s in leather pants (not tight enough, though) or bright red satin high-collared Asian dresses (ditto).
Hyer is fab in all her scenes, but she’s not really in the film enough, as it mainly follows Barry Sullivan’s revenge-driven jerk.

But Hyer emotes a storm, and looks good doing it.
My fave Hyer role, however, is her trashiest, as the starlet/whore in The Carpetbaggers—jeez, she’s so hot in that flick, she’s volcanic!

Why she was cast as the prim girl in Some Came Running is beyond me, but she does make the bourgeois life seem desirable.
I’ve seen Hyer in plenty of flicks, but most seemed too scared to let her let go, to really kick out the jams.
But there are still more to see/here’s hoping!

George Wallace (1997)
Only watched this b/c I’m a John Frankenheimer completist. It’s a good TV movie biopic, but nothing genuinely sensational—although Gary Sinise fans should check out his performance, there’s a certain sort of…geometry about it.

Deep Cover (1992)
The Undercover Cop Posing As A Drug Dealer flick that Sam Fuller never got to make—Larry Fishburne is good as the cop, but Jeff Goldblum sends the movie into the stratosphere as the hyper attorney-turned-dope-peddler.
Great script, moral confusion, snappy dialog and unique supporting characters add up to a very recommended B-movie.

Inception (2010)
The most inadvertently funny movie I’ve seen in ages. All the dialog is exposition and nothing but. DeCraprio still looks like a constipated child. I’m sure the effects looked cool in the movie theater, but otherwise, lamesville.
And laughable, so damn laughable.

Of Unknown Origin (1983)
Yuppie Vs. Giant Rat—
Decent B-movie, but it really needed the hand of a Larry Cohen or Roman Polanski or Cronenberg to delve into the socio-psychological issues that this flick only hints at. Verdict? Interesting misfire.

ZPG (1972)
Reviewed HERE

Red (2010)
Reviewed HERE

42nd St. Forever: Exploitation Explosion (2007)
42nd St. Forever: Alamo (2009)
Getting drunk and watching about 100 movie trailers with the Squeekster is always fun—especially when Mike Edison bursts into the room and declares that we’re nerds. Yeah, right, Mike, like you never obsessed about something dumb or geeky!

Run Silent Run Deep (1958)
Reviewed HERE

The Valley of Gwangi (1969)
Jeez, this flick was made at the height of the Vietnam War—I wonder if it was shown on bases overseas?
I guess I should comment more on this Ray Harryhausen effects extravaganza, but I didn’t think this cowboys vs. dinosaurs movie went far enough, y’know?

Ripping Yarns (1975)
Been catching up on a lot of Monty Python lately, as well as the Python’s ancillary projects. Some of these are too… quaint for my tastes, but I still LOVE “Tomkinson's Schooldays”—a brilliant piece of satire that could’ve fit right into Python’s run, alongside more subdued, longer narrative episodes like “The Cycling Tour” or “Michael Ellis.”

Caltiki, The Immortal Monster (1959)
The movie is almost garbage, but some gross and mysterious scenes saved it. Watch only if you’re an absolute Mario Bava completist. Otherwise, just check out the trailer and Ernest Dickerson’s commentary at Trailers From Hell—that is much better than the actual movie which is, uh, misguided at best.

The Big Cube (1968)
Mexico! A more detailed review of this Lana Turner LSD-murder-thriller is forthcoming, but I will note that it was the latest in a bunch of flicks I’d screened recently (including The Holy Mountain, The Black Scorpion and Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia) that had been filmed in Mexico and often used modern Mexican architecture, and I really have been enjoying checking out the scenery—I guess I haven’t seen too many films set in contemporary Mexican cities, and I’m finding it a unique experience. Viva Mexico!

Mr. No Legs (1979)
Reviewed HERE

Microworld (1980)
William Shatner hosts this AT&T industrial film that is fascinating because of HOW MUCH IT GETS RIGHT. These technicians KNOW what they’re doing.

The Naked Prey (1965)
A fave—
Reviewed HERE

Hurry Sundown (1967)
Holy Moly! Michael Caine’s southern accent in this flick is AWFUL!, and must be seen to be believed. It’s borderline incomprehensible, and nearly impossible to imitate: I double-dog dare ya! But Jane Fonda’s saxophone fellatio scene is FUCKING BRILLIANT, and Otto Preminger delivers an entertaining, if colossal and disjointed soap opera, with an all-star cast, and magnificent Panavision vistas.

Where the Money Is (2000)
Linda Fiorentino has been in far too few films
. She’s good in this cute, unassuming fable for grown-ups about a nurse meeting a bank robber—who’s faking a stroke to get out of prison. Pleasant diversion for a rainy afternoon.

Stuart Saves His Family (1995)
Too much 12-Step humor for the average sane person “to get,” but for Friends of Bill and their friends, this pic is a comedy bonanza. I especially like Vincent D’Onofrio’s angry stoner brother.

Ragtime (1981)
Doesn’t hold up; nope.

El Topo (1970)
Alejandro Jodorowsky’s breakout movie, and still supremely weird—but to me, also very dated.
I much prefer the director’s later magnum opus, The Holy Mountain (followed by his Santa Sangre).

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)
Albert R. Broccoli tries to bust out another Ian Fleming-inspired franchise, but let’s CCBB get overloaded. It’s much too long, and not action-packed enough, feeling slow and lugubrious often.
Several songs are unnecessary, but on the other hand, I was shocked to see how many songs I remembered (CCBB was on TV all the time when I was a kid)—and the flick wound up having a great nostalgic appeal for me.

Gamera Vs. Guiron (1969)
Giant atomic turtle vs. knife-head lizard—GENIUS!

Gamera Vs. Jiger (1970)
So the bad guy monster, Jiger, injects something into Gamera’s neck from the stinger in its tail. Paralyzed, Gamera collapses in Osaka harbor. The two young boys (because the Gamera flicks from this time weren’t kaiju so much as “boys adventure” movies) take their miniature submarine and maneuver through Gamera’s mouth, down his throat, into his lungs, where they encounter dry “land.”
Inside the lung, the boys find that Jiger has injected an egg into Gamera (eewwww!) and that the egg has hatched a baby Jiger, presumably to feed on Gamera.
What the filmmakers have done is use the same Jiger monster suit they used to fight Gamera and smash the city, but at a different scale—normal human scale; hence the boys are actually larger than the Jiger suit—but they are inside a monster-turtle’s lung: mega-scale shift.
Let these things mess with your head: it’s fun.

Skidoo (1968)
One of the greatest films ever made, longer review in the works….

Red Cartoons: Animated Films From East Germany (2007)
Don’t bother—very dated humor, mediocre animation and watered-down social commentary (pretty much what you’d expect from Stasi-era East Germany).

Paul (2011)
Made me laugh a lot, but only after the alien enters the picture—and I am routinely annoyed by any comedy that automatically makes every church-going Christian as a loony, with cheap jokes. Mocking them so simplistically only makes them stronger.

Last Year at Marienbad (1961)
Beautiful, beautiful super-weirdness: I’m a better person for having seen it.

The League of Gentlemen (1960)
The mediocre heist flick that gave the great, sick humor group its name.
I’ll assume that if you grew up in the UK at a certain time, that this flick was an action movie that everybody watched at one time or another and had become really familiar with, even though it’s quality is not necessarily top-notch—like Von Ryan’s Express, to anybody familiar with NYC’s "The 4:30 Movie."

Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979)
Classic, still funny—survives multiple viewings, and is even more relevant today.

Deadlier Than the Male (1967)
Low-budget James Bond rip-off that is goofy and groovy enough (that chessboard!), with plenty of foxy broads.

The Holy Mountain (1973)
Pure fucking genius.

Ganja & Hess (1973)
Had I discovered this in 1987 on my own at the Thalia (RIP), I’d probably have loved it. But after hearing about this flick for years, it could never live up to the hype.

Must-See Triple Feature at the Ivanlandia Expanding Consciousness Drive-In?
Last Year at Marienbad, The Holy Mountain and Skidoo

BTW, I’m not sure I remember where I borrowed many of the Gil Kane jpegs illustrating this post, but I’m sure many of them came from the always awesome Diversions of the Groovy Kind. Thanks! And bookmark them today!


  1. HEY, according to BLOG ARCHIVE you have 53 posts in 2011, 54 in 2010, and 90 in 2009. Whisky Tango Bravo???

    I only know Martha Hyer in Some Came Running, and she plays a frigid bitch. Maybe i need to see more of her 'work'.

    As a kid i was a big fan of THE ATOM, whose stories were featured in serial form at the end of ACTION COMICS in the 70s. Later i ended up collecting at least a dozen of the original silver age ATOM comics. Still have 'em, if you wanna borrow 'em.

    THE BIG CUBE. did you borrow my copy? I like that movie. For some reason i think of it as a double feature with VENUS IN FURS.

  2. Congrats. Some good flix on here man. Also, that pumpkin is sick.

  3. Thanks for the compliments, but the ever-pedantic Auto Maniacs is right--I only have 197 posts published. I was going off my dashboard's counter, which includes those posts that I started but never finished or posted. Which means that we'll be having another 200th posting celebration SOON!

    Ocho: I've never seen the movie VENUS IN FURS, but THE BIG CUBE *would* be better if you turned off the sound, and out the Velvet Underground's song "Venus in Furs" on auto-repeat. And yes, it's your copy I've got.

  4. Last Year at Marienbad, The Holy Mountain and Skidoo

    God, yes.

    Congrats on 200(ish) posts! And thanks for pointing me to PYRO, which looks lovely.