October Movies to Watch For

Here are a few films on Sundance, Fox Movies and TCM for the month of October that you might be interested. Remember, films may be edited, time compressed, in the wrong aspect ratio, or have rando porno frames inserted into them for the lulz. You know how it goes. *** SUNDANCE Volver (2006) October 8, midnight Pedro Almodovar’s film about Raimunda (Penelope Cruz) and her family’s copious misfortunes. Control (2007) October 15, 3:45 PM and later at 2:30 AM Biopic of Joy Division’s original lead singer Ian Curtis. The Darjeeling Limited (2007) October 17 at 6:30 PM, October 23 at 2:00 AM, and October 28 at 4:45 PM Three brothers who go on a cross-India trip after their father dies. Directed by Wes Anderson.   FOX MOVIE CHANNEL Kiss of Death (1947) October 1, 11:00 AM Noir classic with an iconic Richard Widmark performance. Also starring Victor Mature. Followed by the 1995 Nic Cage remake. Hot Shots! (1991) October 7 1:30 PM Because not playing to win is like sleeping with your sister. Nightmare Alley (1947) October 10, 6:00 AM Carny who learns a mind reading trick and teams with a quack psychiatrist to scam patients. This is followed by several great noirs like Fallen Angel, Panic in the Streets and In Broad Daylight. Killer Tomatoes Strike Back (1991) and Killer Tomatoes Eat France (1992) October 25, 10:00 AM Double feature of Killer Tomato sequels, starring John Astin.   TCM To make it easier on myself (lazy) I’m going to … Continue reading

Camp & Cult Blogathon: Modesty Blaise (1966)

Welcome to Day Twelve, the final day of the Camp & Cult Blogathon! Don’t forget to read the submissions here on the main page. If you have one to submit today, please email me or comment here, and it will go up later tonight. Thanks go out to so many of you for the terrific submissions, great comments, retweets, participation, and general revelry during this really, really long blogathon. It has been an amazing time, and I hope you’ve had as much fun as I have. *** For my final entry, I hope you will forgive me for submitting a short post. My acromioclavicular joints are madly protesting these twelve long days of typing and won’t allow me to do much today. But that is probably for the best, since I have very little to say about Modesty Blaise (1966) that has not been said before. A terrific run-down of the film can be found at Cult Movie Reviews here, and it is highly recommended reading. Monica Vitti is Modesty Blaise, fabulous international spy-slash-jewel thief. She is hired by Sir Gerald Terrant (Harry Andrews) of the British government — I think, but I’m not sure, for reasons I’ll explain momentarily — to make sure £50 million in diamonds gets to the proper Middle Eastern sheik in exchange for oil reserves. Modesty warns them that if she is not told the full story about the diamonds and the plans to rob them en route, she will consider herself a free agent … Continue reading

Herbert Lom (1917-2012)

  Herbert Lom in 1962.   Wonderful character actor Herbert Lom, most known for his roles in Pink Panther films, has passed away. He was 95. Lom figured prominently in the recently-reviewed Lace, and appeared in over 100 films and television shows.  He was in Spartacus (1960) and The Dead Zone (1983), and played Van Helsing opposite Christopher Lee in Count Dracula (1970), The Phantom in the 1962 version of Phantom of the Opera and Louis in The Ladykillers (1955). An amazing career and a terrific actor. He will be missed.  

Camp & Cult Blogathon: Joanna (1968)

Welcome to Day Eleven of the Camp & Cult Blogathon! Tomorrow is the last day, so if you have any submissions, make sure to get them in soon. I do accept late submissions, though not too late. Don’t show up in 2013 hoping to be added to the list, is all I’m saying. The master list of submissions is here, with new posts added every day.   ***   Joanna is a film I first saw on Encore nearly twenty years ago, back when the channel was my go-to place for old films. Truly, while TCM has been my self-inflicted Master’s degree in filmology and filmonomy, Encore was my undergraduate degree, and of the amazing 1960s and 1970s films I saw, Joanna was probably the most influential. But it had been twenty years and I quite honestly didn’t realize how much of this film I carried with me, how many moments in this film informed my own viewing, completely unconsciously of course, never quite remembering when or how I first saw a certain tracking shot or specific editing technique. The reason I didn’t know how influential Joanna had been for me was because it was so hard to find; I didn’t see it again until tonight, a full two decades after it last showed on Encore. Now, I watched it whenever it was on for those few months, as Encore had a habit of repeating shows several times. That explains why, to this day, the theme song from the finale … Continue reading

Camp & Cult Blogathon: Lace (1984)

Welcome to Day Ten of the Camp & Cult Blogathon! Don’t forget to check out all the entries here on the main page! The ‘thon ends on Friday the 28th — there are only a few days left, so if you want to submit something, please comment here. *** When the results of the Reader’s Choice poll arrived, there was a tie between Where Love Has Gone, reviewed here, and Lace, the 1984 miniseries I had planned on watching whether it won the vote or not. Yet, as is often the case, I underestimated the gulf between what normal, sane people consider high camp and what I, a person who is neither normal or sane, considers high camp. I’ve seen hundreds of bad films, and after a while one becomes desensitized to the problems common in bad films. Dull cinematography, poor dialogue, and bad acting are the norm. There has to be more there there for me to really get into it. That’s not to say Lace doesn’t try its damndest to be trashy and useless, because it does. It is a ridiculous soap opera plot, but the purpose of stupid soap opera plots is to allow room for the other entertaining bits that people watch trash TV for: Sex, scandal, fashion, scenery, and melodrama. The problem, and I say that as though there is only one problem with Lace which is clearly not the case, is that Lace fails to deliver on the trashy entertainment a miniseries like this … Continue reading

Camp & Cult Blogathon: Madam Satan (1930)

Welcome to Day Nine of the Camp & Cult Blogathon! Because of a lengthy power outage last night, yesterday’s submissions will be up later today. I apologize for the delay, but I need sleep like you wouldn’t believe. Please, check out all the posts that have been submitted so far! These posts are, without exception, terrific. I wouldn’t be doing this without all you bloggers and readers, so thanks go out to you all. *** When I held a Reader’s Choice vote to decide some of the movies I should do for the ‘thon, I described Where Love Has Gone as “complete insanity.” In retrospect, I should have saved that appellation for Madam Satan, which is some of the craziest damn pre-code fuckery you can imagine. Nothing about it makes sense, although maybe there is some complicated equation that would explain it, something like pre-code plus popularity of musicals in the early talkie era multiplied by Cecil B. DeMille’s untreated mental condition divided by the invention of sequins equals Madam Satan. Angela Brooks (Kay Johnson) is upset because her husband Bob (a particularly knobbish Reginald Denny) is obviously seeing another woman. He comes home drunk after a night out with his friend Jimmy (Roland Young) and sneaks into the upstairs bed and bath, where he and Jimmy very naturally start showering together. It’s your standard boy marries girl then boffs another girl then goes back to his house to shower with a boy story. Meanwhile, Angela’s maid Martha has informed … Continue reading

Blogiversary V: Texas Blood Money

It appears that today is my fifth blogiversary, which is kind of scary but mostly frightening. It’s difficult to believe I’ve been doing this for five full years. Over the past few months, I have been replacing the old broken URLs of my photos at the SBBN archive with the new URLs, and while doing so I’ve had a chance to re-read my older posts. Boy, did I suck on ice when I started out. Not that I’m the second coming of Pauline Kael or anything now, but I like to think I’ve improved. Maybe I’ve even written that proverbial first million words, though I don’t know how that works with film criticism, although I imagine it involves semicolons and long strings of prepositional phrases. In the time-honored tradition of all previous SBBN blogiversaries, I present a lovely assortment of some of my favorite photos collected over the years. Edith Head and Gloria Swanson. Boris Karloff, courtesy Dr. Macro. Richard Schaal, Severn Darden and Del Close of Second City. Robert Taylor. 1931 photo by Robert Coburn of a Hollywood camera crew. Hitch’s usual sense of humor, courtesy Immoral Tales. He’s wearing two ties, one to go with his suit, the other to hang himself with. Such a practical man.   Thank you all for still being here.

The Phantom Creeps #10: “The Meteorite Is More Dangerous To You Than Useful!”

This is Day (looks at the calendar, does math, cries a little, asks for help) Seven of the Camp & Cult Blogathon! Because of the weekend and a little bit of distraction with some online shenanigans, I decided to hold off tweeting or posting any new submissions I’ve received this weekend until early Monday morning. They’ll get more publicity that way, at least I hope so. If you have some ‘thon links that you don’t see on the master list by 9:00 AM Monday morning, please either comment here or drop me a note! Twitter has been wonky and I am almost certain I missed a couple submissions sent to me over there. And now, today’s campy culty post: The Phantom Creeps. That may seem like a bit of a cheat, but really, if Creeps doesn’t count for the ‘thon then nothing does. NOTH. ING. *** Chapter 10: Phantom Footprints When we last left our heroes (for want of a better word), they had just wrecked their boat into a buoy because they were too busy punching each other and/or lying face-down in laps, while G-Man Bob once again decided to solve a problem by flying an airplane. And I know what you’re thinking: He’s going to crash that damn plane again. This is a man who has destroyed three cars, three airplanes and one train over the course of nine episodes, so he is due to create more unnecessary chaos. That’s why when Bob starts spinning, twirling, flying sideways … Continue reading

Camp & Cult Blogathon: You’ll Find Out (1940)

This is Day Six of the Camp & Cult Blogathon, and boy are my arms tired. Don’t forget to check out all the submissions on the main page, found at the top of this blog! They’re all terrific, and the turnout has been positively amazing. Thank you all. Now, if you will indulge me here at the halfway point of the ‘thon, a short post for Day Six because kids, I have been watching — enduring, really — Lace for three days now, and I am verklempt. *** Today’s cinematic curiosity is the 1940s never-heard-of-it flick entitled You’ll Find Out. Filmed as a vehicle for the Kay Kyser Band — yes, that’s right, it was a vehicle for an entire band — this comedic riff on the old dark house theme is surprisingly less irritating than one would believe. And I say that despite the fact that a major player in the film is Ish Kabibble. Ish as “The Bad Humor Man.”   Ish was born Merwyn Bogue and took the name “Ish Kabibble” from an early 1900s novelty song, where the Yiddish phrase “nisht gefidlt” (roughly, “I don’t care”) was bowdlerized into “ish kabibble.” Now, one would think that it was nearly impossible for someone as young as me — 39 and holding for as long as I can pull it off — to have heard of Ish before watching this film. Yet one would be forgetting that Ish was mentioned many times on “M*A*S*H,” the television show that … Continue reading

Camp & Cult Blogathon: Satan in High Heels (1962)

Welcome to Day Five (five!) of the Camp & Cult Blogathon! Yesterday was a bit of a slow day, but Thursdays are a difficult day to get the hang of. Don’t forget to visit all the fine participants, listed here on the main ‘thon page, and if you have a post you want to submit, please drop me a comment here, on Twitter, or in email! *** For years, I have been an avid fan of The Bachelor Pad Radio Show hosted by Jason Croft and broadcasting weekly on WEFT out of Champaign, Illinois. It was through The Bachelor Pad that I first heard jazz guitarist Mundell Lowe and his orchestra, usually something from the soundtrack to the movie Satan in High Heels. Jason Croft has said many times that it’s one of his favorite films, and of course it’s an exploitation flick I’ve heard much about over the years, but despite all that I’m a procrastinator and had not watched the movie until recently. The entire soundtrack is delightful, pure cinematic jazz, with the beatnik coffeehouse bop of the title track and the mournful intensity of “The Lost and the Lonely” being my personal faves. “From Mundy On” is classic Bachelor Pad Radio Show fare, though I don’t think it’s played nearly as often as “The Lost and the Lonely,” which I’ve posted here so you can take a listen: Mundell Lowe and His Orchestra: The Lost and the Lonely   It’s impossible to hear that game show orchestra … Continue reading