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Arrow Video: Edge of Sanity (1989) - Reviewed

Posted By themoviesleuth 3 hours ago on Entertainment

After being made world famous and typecast by Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho in 1963, Anthony Perkins moved in and out of the public eye with a brief transition to European films before returning to America for character actor bit parts.  Twenty years later, Perkins reprised the role in Psycho II and briefly enjoyed success as a leading man in mainstream cinema again.  In between doing two more Psycho films, the actor crossed paths with British provocateur Ken Russell in the explicit erotic thriller Crimes of Passion before embarking on a film that may as well be spoken of the same breath as Russell’s mixture of camp and kitsch: French hard/softcore porn director Gérard Kikoïne’s sumptuous yet sleazy horror flick Edge of Sanity.A wild and loose, almost porn-parody hybridization of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and tall tales of Jack the Ripper, Kikoïne’s film follows Doctor Henry Jekyll (Anthony Perkins) in late nineteenth century England years after suffering a humiliating trauma as a young boy involving his father adulterating with a prostitute.  Living with his beautiful wife Elisabeth (Glynis Barber), he begins conducting a series of experiments on the human brain while snorting large amounts of cocaine in between notetaking.  One night, he mixes a concoction of cocaine and ether meant to be an anesthetic but not before inadvertently ingesting it himself and going berserk, mutating into a kind of frothing murderous madman with a pale face and deep cycles under his glowering eyes.   From here, the newly transformed Doctor, donning the alter-ego Edward Hyde, he stalks the night streets and brothels of prostitutes to drug, debauch and/or murder them, taking on the moniker Jack the Ripper as he begins engaging in serial killing.  From here, the film is on the one hand a costumed horror procedural mixing nineteenth century literature with stories of the infamous Whitechapel murderer while on the other hand serves as a perverse Russellian exercise in bawdy impishness and sadomasochism not that far removed from the actor’s turn in Crimes of Passion.  While being a straightforward work of psychological and slasher period horror, Edge of Sanity is mostly a raunchy skin flick with more than a few scenes that grind the narrative to a halt and wallows in wretched excess.That’s not to say the film isn’t without its virtues and there are many.  Take for instance Anthony Perkins’ inspired and gifted performance of this peculiar and somewhat queasy fusion of Jekyll/Hyde and Jack the Ripper.  For however many bare breasts and butts are shoved into the actors’ face and camera, Perkins plays the part convincingly, adopting a limp aided by a cane and perfectly illustrating the sharp split in personality traits and physical characteristics.  Making the character into a drug addicted pervert with the camera lingering on his numerous sexual trysts which raised the eyebrows of the ratings board upon initial release (only available uncut now), Perkins gives this spin on the myth of Jekyll/Hyde/Ripper a distinctive personal edge only he alone could’ve achieved as an actor.Visually the film is top-to-bottom lush and stunning with heavy deep reds of the film’s decadent brothel sets and deep blues of the English nighttime streets littered with junkies, drunks and prostitutes, all lensed gorgeously by Tony Spratling.  For a period piece, the look and feel of Edge of Sanity from the beginning is wacky, using numerous wide-angled lenses and dutch angles including an opening tracking shot that oddly sways back and forth as it follows the film’s soon-to-be troubled antihero.  The soundtrack by Robot Jox composer Frédéric Talgorn is suitably orchestral with hints of Christopher Young’s dread-soaked score for Hellraiser, perfectly augmenting the prurient nature of the world of the film.Trashy and violent decadent fun that’s beautiful to look at when it isn’t testing your tolerance for perversity and aberrant sexuality, Edge of Sanity came and went theatrically before becoming a minor cult sensation when it hit tape and laserdisc.  In the years since with renewed interest in the life and career of Anthony Perkins have shed a new spotlight on this frankly daring dose of cabaret kitsch that can be read as either a cinematic triumph in period horror or as a sordid if not masturbatory swan dive into depraved filth.  One thing is for sure, the depths of the rancid and evil pit this film plunges head over heels into without looking back, led by a gifted and underrated character actor at the top of his game, are bottomless.--Andrew Kotwicki (function() { var zergnet = document.createElement('script'); zergnet.type = 'text/javascript'; zergnet.async = true; zergnet.src = (document.location.protocol == "https:" ? "https:" : "http:") + '//'; var znscr = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; znscr.parentNode.insertBefore(zergnet, znscr); })();

Documentary Releases: Television Event (2020) - Reviewed

Posted By themoviesleuth 2 days ago on Entertainment

Courtesy of Screen AustraliaOn November 20th, 1983, the face of American network television changed forever with the ABC broadcast of the made-for-TV film The Day After, a sobering post-apocalyptic science-fiction horror film about the aftermath of a nuclear exchange.  Directed by Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan realisateur Nicholas Meyer in a shaky foray from Hollywood to the small screen, it was a star studded, effects heavy literal Television Event in which millions of Americans watched their country, cities and hometowns decimated in a flash of light, hundreds of humans evaporated instantly, followed by months of slow painful death for those who survived.  Going on to become the highest-rated television film in the history of the medium, The Day After also influenced the signing of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in 1987 by then-US president Ronald Reagan and Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev.  Though the film followed in the footsteps of Peter Watkins’ The War Game and often gets compared to the UK television film Threads, The Day After left its mark on the American public, geopolitical powers and gradually modern television itself as seen by the success of HBO’s nuclear disaster series Chernobyl. Despite being delayed by COVID-19, the 2020 documentary film Television Event by Jeff Daniels (not the actor) seeks to examine that tumultuous period mired in controversy and at-the-time real world fears of nuclear holocaust which generated a televised a journey to the general public few theatrical films were willing to embark on.  Comprised of archival footage, original production notes, outtakes and newly conducted interviews with surviving members including but not limited to Meyer, Ted Koppel, screenwriter Edward Hume and many more, the film is a top to bottom look at before and after the production and release of unquestionably the most controversial television program ever aired. Stories of network censorship, producers clashing with a headstrong director determined to do it right and not pull any punches, attempts to prevent it from being aired at all are among the many wild things that befell what ultimately became The Day After as recalled with fondness and embitterment by those who lived through it.  As a documentary film Television Event is an engaging and riveting smorgasbord of production battles leading up to a potentially banned broadcast and finally the shockwaves the already shaky project would unleash on the unsuspecting television public at large.   While years have dissipated the mushroom cloud generated by the television broadcast of The Day After, in 1983 it raged through American homes like wildfire and shattered the public in its wake.  Nothing like it had come before or arguably since save for the UK’s answer to it with 1984’s Threads.  So powerful was the film’s cultural impact it garnered a fully fledged theatrical release in Europe including but not limited to Japan where survivors of the Hiroshima bombing spoke to the film’s realism.  If nothing else, Television Event is an attempt to make sense of the film’s legacy as the one time mainstream network television set off weapons of mass destruction in millions of American homes.--Andrew Kotwicki (function() { var zergnet = document.createElement('script'); zergnet.type = 'text/javascript'; zergnet.async = true; zergnet.src = (document.location.protocol == "https:" ? "https:" : "http:") + '//'; var znscr = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; znscr.parentNode.insertBefore(zergnet, znscr); })();

Solar Deities From World Mythology

Posted By ScribblingGeek 2 days ago on Entertainment - The post Solar Deities From World Mythology appeared first on The Scribbling Geek.
Prominent gods and goddesses of the sun from world mythology.
The post Solar Deities From World Mythology appeared first on The Scribbling Geek.

New Releases: Character-driven Script Makes The Old Man (2022) New

Posted By themoviesleuth 3 days ago on Entertainment

Plenty of direct-to-streaming or to–video plots involve some old agent/hitman being pulled back into his old life by some turn of events. Actors run through the lines with attempted emotion and hurry off to the next low-budget, scattershot action sequence.  The Old Man takes this overly familiar story and elevates it with a character-driven script, heaving hitting actors bringing their best, and well-orchestrated and filmed action sequences. It also melds this formula with frequent scenes of contemplative dialogue from characters in the later years of their lives. This addition could frustrate viewers expecting an even older version of a John Wick-type character, but it could also delight anyone watching for the heavy-hitting ensemble of John Lithgow, Amy Brennaman, and Jeff Bridges.  Production of the series, which originally began in 2019, was put on hold while Bridges recovered from non-Hodgkins lymphoma and COVID. Season one of the series premiered this June and released the final episode on July 21st. It was adapted from the pulpy novel of the same name by Thomas Perry, but changes were made to expand the plot and include new characters.  Bridges plays Dan Chase, an ex-CIA agent living off the grid and recovering from the death of his wife. He delivers the Clint Eastwood-like gravitas with only a minimal amount of Dude-like stammering. While it may be easy for viewers to see Bridges as a weathered old man with some wisdom to spout, it may be more challenging to see him as a Liam Neeson-like bad ass who can take out agents half his age.  Yet Bridges delivers during actions sequences that are filmed in the one-take, unbroken shot style. Though stunt doubles may have been used, it appears that Bridges, now 72, performs all the rough fights and actions sequences. This prompts the expected “Who is this guy?” line from some younger, ignorant character unfamiliar with the Old Man.  Complex characters and backstories from Lithgow and Brenneman’s characters make this more engaging. Brenneman unexpectedly steals more than a few scenes, creating some plot complications for Dan Chase. Also delivering a strong, performance was Alia Skawkat, expanding her more dramatic roles since her early days as Maebe on Arrested Development. Skawkat’s character plays an integral role in the series’ seven episodes, delivering one or two surprises. All three of these characters and their backstories converge in a smart, well-constructed puzzle that makes The Old Man a slow burn drama punctuated by realistic action sequences.  All episodes now streaming on Hulu. —Eric Beach

Cinematic Releases: Dark Glasses (2022) - Reviewed

Posted By themoviesleuth 3 days ago on Entertainment

Courtesy of Vision DistributionWhen we last saw the Italian giallo maestro Dario Argento, that grandmaster of horror behind such revered classics as The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, Suspiria and Tenebrae, he hit a creative rock bottom with the misbegotten 2012 Dracula 3D film.  While the years since saw renewed interest in the director’s oeuvre followed by a controversial remake of his most beloved title Suspiria, creatively speaking Argento more or less retired from film directing altogether after the disastrous critical and commercial release of his 3D film which made the maestro’s output look amateurish.   Then COVID hit and the director’s friend, fellow French provocateur Gaspar Noe, suffered a near-fatal brain hemorrhage which spawned that director’s most respectable film to date, the dementia drama Vortex.  In it, Dario Argento in his first leading role as an actor plays an elderly husband living with his wife who begins succumbing to dementia, meanwhile Argento’s character gradually begins developing respiratory problems.  A searing existential work about what awaits us all as we move into elderly aging, the film proved to be a creative hit for Argento and not long after being released to critical acclaim (rare for Noe), Argento found himself reinvigorated by the experience and then immediately proceeded to write and direct his first feature in almost ten years.  Though the aptly named Occhiali Neri or Dark Glasses reposits the director into familiar throwback giallo territory, it is nevertheless a welcome if not somewhat shaky return to form that makes you forget about his last picture. Based on a script dating back to 2002 before the original film’s producer declared bankruptcy and shelved the project before being rediscovered by daughter Asia Argento years later (who also co-stars and serves as an associate producer), the film concerns an Italian escort named Diana (Ilenia Pastorelli) who one night after leaving a difficult client finds herself under attack by a serial murderer.  Narrowly escaping a car crash which leaves her blinded, she befriends a young Chinese boy (Andrea Zhang) who becomes her only source of sight and help in trying to track down the killer with what little means they have before more bodies fall. Typical Argento fare that feels more like a career summation than bringing anything particularly new to the table, Dark Glasses is something of a greatest hits compilation with many noticeable callouts to Suspiriaand Tenebrae.  In the time-honored tradition of giallo, the film is also a glittery travelogue through contemporary Rome, showing off the location and culture while still telling a survival horror story.  The performances by the unlikely two leads Pastorelli and Zhang are generally good with Pastorelli doing a decent job pulling off the blindness look.  Also worth mentioning are the effects teams’ grisly gore and bloodletting though seasoned giallo fans are unlikely to be surprised by anything here. The real stars are Argento, his cinematographer Matteo Cocco whose anamorphic widescreen lenses distort and bend buildings and hallways unnaturally, and his composer Arnaud Rebotini.  While originally intending for Daft Punk to score the film before their unforeseen breakup dropped them out of the project, Rebotini’s score re-channels many of the familiar beats and notes of Argento’s Goblin musical talents and penchant for synthesizers.  Put together, while not reaching the visual phantasmagoria of Suspiria, is well shot and composed enough for it to still provide striking giallo imagery. Reviews of the film (slated for Autumn 2022 on Shudder) have been across the board with some fans appreciating the director’s return to the chair while also lamenting his seeming inability to make anything new that’s as strong as his 70s and 80s works.  That said, I’ll accept it as an antidote to The Mother of Tears and the aforementioned Dracula 3D experience that almost drove the nails the rest of the way into the coffin for Argento.  While the filmmaker could arguably be losing his touch at the ripe of age of 81, its still refreshing to see the greatest Italian horror director since Mario Bava do his thing one more time.  --Andrew Kotwicki (function() { var zergnet = document.createElement('script'); zergnet.type = 'text/javascript'; zergnet.async = true; zergnet.src = (document.location.protocol == "https:" ? "https:" : "http:") + '//'; var znscr = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; znscr.parentNode.insertBefore(zergnet, znscr); })();

The Mythology of Road House (1989)

Posted By themoviesleuth 4 days ago on Entertainment

Road House, should by any account of taste be relegated to a bargain DVD bin.  But, despite all of its proclivities, it remains to this day, an absolute masterwork of the absurd.  Patrick Swayze battles a neo-conservative ghoul for the soul of a southern town, while simultaneously wooing a beautiful doctor and arguing the philosophical specifics of the life of a bouncer with Sam Elliot.  The absolute magic of this film, decades later, is in how a mythology is built.   Bruised, drunken gods walk the streets of Jasper, Missouri while henchmen ply their trades in seedy nightclubs and decadent mansions and mere mortals can do nothing but witness the collision of neon, blood, and bone.  Rowdy Herrington builds this mythos atop a veneer of neo-western sensibilities, while also serving as a transition from the macho fueled 80's action classics to the violent, more contemplative films of the early nineties.  Featuring an unforgettable cast, memorable songs and dialogue, and one of the most unique presentations of genre ever committed to the screen, this is one of the greatest films ever made.  Dalton is an enigmatic cooler who is drawn into conflict with the crime boss of a small town.  What follows is an escalation of violence that threatens to destroy not only Dalton, but everyone and everything he cares about.  Patrick Swayze gives the performance of his career.  Combining his unrelenting cool with his balletic movement, Dalton is a sexy, graceful, and an absolutely dangerous legend.  Opposite Swayze is film icon Ben Gazzara as the corrupt potentate of Jasper.  His Brad Wesley is unique monster, prone to domestic violence and nonchalant murder while also evoking the ideals of older generations.  He wears the guise of a veteran and philanthropist that hides the darker, more insidious nature within.  This works as an excellent foil to Dalton because both are warriors but at opposite ends of the continuum.  The supporting cast is filled with talent.  Sam Elliot gives one of his most memorable turns as Wade Garrett, Dalton's confidant and teacher.  Their relationship, and their approach to the trade of bouncing is what forms the ethos that winds through the bubble gum aesthetics.  These are tough, thoughtful men who truly never wish to fight, and yet their entire existence is defined by violence and death.  Kevin Tighe, Kelly Lynch,  and Keith David have notable supporting turns as well, but it is Jeff Healey and his band that is perhaps the strongest element, as the memorable soundtrack features both covers and original songs by the band, another key ingredient in the worldbuilding that Harrington did. One of the more unusual and interesting standouts is John William Young's memorable performance as the likable thug Tinker.  Throughout the film, Tinker is the only one of Wesley's thugs to actually injure Dalton.  In each of the fights, Tinker connects with each of his targets except Wade Garrett.  Whether on purpose or not, the implications of this are intriguing as Tinker; arguably the soul of Jasper incarnate; is able to wound Dalton, but does not possess the ability to wound his creator, thus signifying Garrett's godlike reputation and Dalton's inherent vulnerabilities. This is further intimated in the finale, as Tinker is the only thug to survive the carnage.  Foreshadowing is another prominent feature in the presentation.  Dean Cundey (The Thing) uses his cinematography to create different worlds.  First there is the controlled glitz of the Bandstand that eventually gives way to the chaos of the Double Deuce.  In the Bandstand, there is neon lights, gold and silver.  In the Double Deuce there is washed out colors and blood.  As the film transitions into the final act, the Double Deuce becomes an amalgam of both, symbolizing how Dalton has both mastered his demons, while also accepting them for what they are.  David Lee Henry and Hilary Henkin's script is full of endlessly quotable lines that both emulate the Westerns from which they were inspired while also lampooning them.  Road House is a movie that knows exactly what it is and it dangerously walks the line between brutality and parody.  Any other director and combination of cast and crew would have taken it too far across one side, but Herrington managed perfection by understanding the nuance of both approaches.  Upon first viewing, this could be thought of as a forgettable macho experience, but it slowly becomes clear through each scene and set piece that this is something so much more, and this is because of the way the balance between the two extremes is continually maintained. The result?  A true masterwork of American action cinema.  Now available for digital rental, Road House is surely a relic of its time and yet it possesses fundamental American themes that still have meaning and draw in the modern world.  This is a film that both sides of the political spectrum tend to enjoy, yet another mystifying miracle of this film's legacy.  There are not many films that simply slide into one's identity the way this film does.  It simply becomes part of the viewer’s universal subconscious, linking them with anyone else who has ever ventured through the inviting and ominous doors of the Double Deuce, creating a familial pantheon of demigods whose only demand to their supplicants is: Be Nice, Until It's Time to Not Be Nice.    --Kyle Jonathan   

Now Streaming: Prey (2022) - Reviewed

Posted By themoviesleuth 5 days ago on Entertainment

 Predators stalk the annals of American history, visiting unspeakable horrors against the indigenous people who populated the New World long before colonists invaded.  Dan Trachtenberg's stellar entry into the Predator franchise doesn't fully delve into this, but the ghost of genocide is everywhere in the haunted forests of the northern plains.  Eschewing the heat and conflict-ridden hunting grounds of the previous installments for a quiet theater of blood, Prey, is an exceptional action horror sojourn that features a remarkable lead performance, pristine natural visuals, and some of the most inventive gore in recent memory.   A Predator begins its hunt in 1719 North America. A Native American woman, trying to prove herself as a hunter among her male tribe members is drawn into a life-or-death struggle with the infamous extraterrestrial.  Amber Midthunder (Legion) is sensational.  Prey is an interesting film, because it walks a line between synthetic looking online streamer and pristine, introspective think piece masquerading as an action film.  Midthunder's performance is layered and restrained, which pairs perfectly with Trachtenberg's subdued first half that lays the groundwork for the bloodletting.  And there is bloodletting.  While there are familiar tropes, such as the female warrior in the male's world, the story uses them as a foundation and elects to focus on Midthunder's quiet, brilliant rebellion.  Another important aspect of Midthunder's Naru is her stealth and pragmatism.  She knows when to run and when to hide and her fear is palpable, giving way to realistic catharsis and ingenious problem solving rather than the macho fueled showdowns of the previous installments.  She is the most human character in the entire franchise, rivaling the wonderful detectives of Predator 2. Jeff Cutter's beautiful cinematography is some of the best lens work this year.  There are a handful of homages to the first two films that are seamlessly woven into the optics as Cutter films the natural landscapes with an almost omnipotent viewpoint.  If there is a weakness, it's in the CGI and the inescapable reality that this is a streaming film and not an in-theater experience, but the budgetary limitations are on the fringe of what is undeniably a blood-soaked woman vs. alien extravaganza.   The creature itself is a unique rendering of the tried-and-true Predators of the previous entries.  This creature is vastly more primal and infinitely more brutal than its brethren, offering up some of the most goriest and shocking kills in the entire franchise, which pairs perfectly with the low key ambiance.  Everything about this film is muted, from Sarah Scachner's ominous score to the fog laden killing fields of the climax.  Hulu has the option to watch in English or in Comanche dialect, another wonderful detail that Trachtenberg included.  At its core, Prey is a predictable story that hits all familiar beats a fan of these films would expect, but it confidently knocks each of them out of the park.  Now available for streaming on Hulu, Prey delivers everything it promises and more, rising above expected mediocrity with an unforgettable performance and above bar imagery.  Come for the body heat visuals, stay for Midthunder's bad ass Naru and the absolutely insane kill sequences.  Perhaps the most fun at home viewing experience of 2022.  --Kyle Jonathan

Goodnight Mommy: English Language Remake Sets Release Date

Posted By themoviesleuth 6 days ago on Entertainment

 It was announced last year that the Austrian independent horror film, Goodnight Mommy would be getting a domestic remake. Naomi Watts will be stepping into the shoes of the mother in the film with Cameron and Nicholas Crovetti taking up the parts as her sons. The original film which was released in 2014 and was the Austrian pick for Best Foreign Language at the 88th Academy Awards but did not receive a nomination. Matt Sobel (Take Me To The River) is taking up directorial duties on the remake of the cult horror film. Yesterday it was announced that the film will be premiering on Amazon Prime Video on September 16th, 2022 and doesn't look to be receiving a theatrical run at this time. The story follows two young boys who are sent to live with their mother whose face is wrapped in bandages after a medical procedure. The boys suspect that the woman that's face is concealed is not really their mother. -CG (function() { var zergnet = document.createElement('script'); zergnet.type = 'text/javascript'; zergnet.async = true; zergnet.src = (document.location.protocol == "https:" ? "https:" : "http:") + '//'; var znscr = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; znscr.parentNode.insertBefore(zergnet, znscr); })();

Movie Review: Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank

Posted By ScribblingGeek 6 days ago on Entertainment - The post Movie Review: Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank appeared first on The Scribbling Geek.
Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank Synopsis Earnest but simpleminded Hank heads to the land of cats to become a samurai, and promptly gets swept up by all sorts of flagitious feline machinations! Would the easygoing pooch manage to overcome racial prejudice, political conspiracies, and rampaging ninja cats to become a true swordsman? Would […]
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The Joke's On Us...Again: Joker Sequel Will Release For Halloween 2024

Posted By themoviesleuth 6 days ago on Entertainment

Image courtesy WB While DC and movie fans are still toiling over WB's decision to pull the plug on their Batgirl movie and numerous other upcoming titles, the sequel to 2019's hit Joker starring Joaquin Phoenix is moving full steam ahead. The part two that is tentatively titled Joker: Folie a Deux has the go ahead from the studio execs and will see Phoenix return to the role that will now move into musical territory. Many will argue that the film needs no sequel and stands as its own one off story. But, knowing how studios like money, it's no shock that they're going to milk this for all its worth, even as they abandon a $90 million project for a tax write off. It's been revealed today that the second Joker movie will now see a Halloween 2024 release date and is rumored to feature Lady Gaga as an alternative version of Harley Quinn. Todd Philips and Scott Silver are currently writing the sequel with Philips once again attached to direct. The 2019 Joker film went on to grossed over $1 billion in revenue and garnered two wins at the Academy Awards.-CG (function() { var zergnet = document.createElement('script'); zergnet.type = 'text/javascript'; zergnet.async = true; zergnet.src = (document.location.protocol == "https:" ? "https:" : "http:") + '//'; var znscr = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; znscr.parentNode.insertBefore(zergnet, znscr); })();