Elsewhere: The Adorable Dogs and Hollywood Butts Edition

Things I’ve written elsewhere, and other stuff around the interwebs lately: My piece on The Human Factor (1979) as an underrated gem is up at Spectrum Culture. This is now available on MOD DVD at Warner Archives, in a print that I absolutely adored, because the grain was kept — all that delicious, nutritious 1970s grain — and it looks gorgeous. I don’t have Warner Archives Instant, but many of you do, so I thought I’d do a little browsing around and found a few things you might be interested in: Night Flight (1933) – Insane John Barrymore pre-Code that I’m not sure has even been on TCM before. An all-star cast and apparently a plot based on The Little Prince. Madam Satan (1930) – This one’s a no-brainer. If you haven’t seen it, and you have Warner Instant, go watch this now. Just… seriously, just stop everything you’re doing and go. Previous SBBN posts on Madam Satan can be found here and here. Simon (1980) – Available in high definition from Warner Instant. Just a few years ago you couldn’t even get a copy of this, now it’s on MOD DVD and Warner Instant. My Criminally Underrated post for Simon is here at Spectrum Culture. And, finally, my Oeuvre post for Vincente Minnelli’s The Pirate. Warning: I talk about Gene Kelly’s butt. *** Around the web: From February, a terrific post at Movie Morlocks by Susan Doll on one of my favorite actors, Sam Rockwell. Joan Crawford in a … Continue reading

Elsewhere Today: Writin’ For Spectrum Culture

I have three reviews up on Spectrum Culture today, which should explain why things have been a little quiet around here: Revisit: Death To Smoochy (2002): “…Underneath the obvious joke, Death to Smoochy is practically Shakespearean in its tragedy. Children’s entertainment is used as an analogue for the entire entertainment biz, not merely the crooked world of kid’s shows. The focus is less on the business itself than on its effect on individuals, like former child star Buggy Ding Dong (Vincent Schiavelli), now a drug-addled, urine-covered hit man. Spinner Dunn (Michael Rispoli) had been a boxer, a man once well paid to punch another man for the entertainment of others, now a goofball left with the mind of a young child. Everyone in the biz has been broken by it in some essential way, their dreams discarded as a world of fame, money and groupies overwhelmed them, then discarded them.” *** Addicted To Fame (2012): “Director David Giancola warned Anna Nicole Smith and her partner Howard K. Stern that if she did not complete Illegal Aliens, he would replace her by having her alien character morph into a banana, then he would release the behind-the-scenes footage of her antics and she would be put on, as Giancola said, “the acting blacklist.” The acting blacklist, mind you, as though there is a large leather-bound tome kept hidden in a dungeon somewhere just south of Burbank, guarded by wizened old character actors in retirement, names of misbehaving personalities carefully recorded in the … Continue reading

Elsewhere This Week: Anniversaries, Giveaways and Gunfights

Lots of stuff to point you to this week! First up is my article at Spectrum Culture on 3:10 to Yuma (1957 & 2007) for their Re-Make/Re-Model feature. The 1957 film is an absolute classic — I’d love to say “undisputed,” but nothing in the world of cinema is undisputed. It’s philosophical chaos! Madness reigns! Ahem. The two leads in each film give masterful performances, though for my money, Glenn Ford is the stand out. The remake, while flawed, is worthwhile. Let me put it this way: There are worse ways to make film than by getting a grew together and saying, “Okay, we’ll use John Ford location shots, Surtees camera angles and fill it with Peckinpah violence. Huh? Whaddya think?” I’m pretty excited about this article, so please, check it out! *** Films From Beyond the Time Barrier is celebrating its second anniversary! Brian has a terrific celebratory post featuring a Diabolic Dual Personality Double Feature about everyone’s favorite dual-personality sociopath, Jekyll and Hyde. Go on over and wish Brian a happy second! Meanwhile, at Thrilling Days of Yesteryear, Ivan is asking readers to help decide which serial he’s going to do next for Serial Saturdays! See, he is a normal human being, which is why in the time it’s taken me to finish Phantom Creeps, he’s done three serials, maybe four, plus wallpapered the hallway and dug up a few old stumps in the back yard. Braggart. But he’s also giving away VCI’s new box set release Dick … Continue reading

Life With a Gun to Your Face

This week on Spectrum Culture, my reviews of Inside Man (2006) and Dreams of a Life (2012): Denzel Washington plays the charismatic, group-hopping Detective Frazier to near perfection. Yet the quirky detective is not as easy to categorize as he first seems. Personable and eccentric, Frazier is also prone to non-sequiturs about his girlfriend and possesses the uncanny ability to ask the exact right question of a suspect, seemingly without realizing its importance. It’s all very Columbo, but it becomes clear soon enough that while Frazier may bear a surface resemblance to Columbo, or is perhaps even deliberately affecting Columbo’s mannerisms to hide his true self, Detective Frazier is no Columbo.     We presume that even if we check out of society willingly, a safety net of sorts exists via bill collectors, repossessors, government, taxes and, in Joyce’s case, social workers. Even if there are no longer co-workers, family or friends in our lives, we cynically believe those who want our money will eventually be around, though clearly that is not true. Joyce was certainly not the first to fall victim to being forgotten; the cases of Yvette Vickers, David Carter, Robert Roll and plenty of others have made the news over the last year or so, yet we still believe no one can never be truly overlooked. Follow the links to read the full reviews at Spectrum Culture Online.