Friday, August 05, 2011

The Dirty Dozen – Premiere Edition

Entertainment Weekly has their Must List.

Golf Magazine has the Front 9.

But what if you don't care about golf or what the cast of Glee is up to? What if you what you really want to know is what Eurotrash DVDs are coming out or what blogs you should be reading or bands you should be listening to in order to get your recommended daily dose of trash?

Well, fear not. ER is here with The Dirty Dozen, a new feature that will provide you with a look at the junk culture and fringe media stuff we love, Love, LOVE ... at the moment. Stop back every weekend for a new installment and be sure to drop me a line if you have something you feel is worthy of being in The Dirty Dozen. Got a mag, comic, zine, disc, movie or, well, anything you want us to check out? See the sidebar for our PO Box address.

Enough yakking. On to this week's list!
  1. The Planet of the Apes Saga: Original Recipe – I don't know if RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES is any good or not, though I was pleasantly surprised to see its rating on Rotten Tomatoes well past 80% when I got up this morning. But I do know that the new flick seems to have sparked renewed interest in the original five films which I love so much. Best of all, I got to watch all five flicks on the big screen last weekend thanks to the guys at Exhumed Films and believe it or not, I think I actually like the series more than I did about a week ago. Rather than simply make the same flick over and over again each film has its own unique take on the storyline, and, more importantly, the saga works as a great, epic tale. Sure, some of the effects are dated and the messages simplistic, but I'll go on the record as saying the STAR WARS flicks can't hold a candle to the APES saga.
  2. TENEBRAE (DVD) – Though I've been spending a lot of time these last few months immersed in The Summer of ACTION! (with more posts to come soon, I promise), an ongoing side project has been a reassessment of the work of Dario Argento. I've always thought The Italian Hitchcock was a little overrated but felt like I should go back and give fresh watches to some of his classic – and not so classic – work to see if I was being fair. I was surprised by how much I loved the nightmarish INFERNO and how much the trashy, nutzoid PHENOMENA didn't click with me. But a recent viewing of the seemingly personal TENEBRAE reminded me that when he was firing on all cylinders there weren't many who could touch Argento's deft touch when it came to giallo. It's an entertaining, funny and well-acted mystery packed with iconic death scenes and a superb cast.
  3. THE BASEMENT VHS Screener – As the DVD/Blu-Ray era closes in on the end of its second decade, one can be left wondering what's left to release? Thanks to the horror market's insatiable need to see anything and everything, no matter how poorly acted or cheaply made, it looks like shot-on-video and shot-on-super-8mm (!) features will ensure that horror fans have plenty to watch in the years to come. THE BASEMENT takes a page out of the SLEDGEHAMMER book by providing screeners on both DVD and VHS. THE VHS screener is a site to behold, an old school big box with colorful artwork of a buxom blonde being attached by nasty beasts from the titular basement. I don't know if the flick will even be watchable (though I was pleasantly surprised by SLEDGEHAMMER) but the screener brought a tear to my eye and reminded me of the good old days of turning those worn out cardboard boxes over and over in my hands.
  4. Klaus Kinski's Directorial Debut (And Swan Song) Comes to US DVD – Regular readers know of my love for the irascible and outrageous European film star Klaus Kinski. I've long contended that no matter how brief his role, "The German Olivier" usually makes anything he's in worth watching. (A theory that was severaly put to the test by PSYCHOPATH.) Towards the end of his long and storied career, Kinski conspired to write and direct a biography of Niccolo Paganini, an Italian violinist and composer whose wild lifestyle and violent playing style led some to suggest that he'd made a deal with the devil (take THAT Robert Johnson!). The resulting film – KINSKI PAGANINI – has only been available on German VHS and DVD but good pal and Cinema Arcana honcho Bruce Holecheck recently informed me that Mya (who released the Turkish Kinski oddity EVIL FACE) will be putting the film out on US DVD in November. I'll provide more details about the disc as they become available and be sure to check out the Cinema Arcana Upcoming Release List!
  5. NEVER SLEEP AGAIN: THE ELM STREET LEGACY (DVD) – I've always thought the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET franchise should have ended after the third installment – DREAM WARRIORS directed by Chuck Russell. It made up for some of the glaring sins of ELM STREET 2, gave the series a nice sense of closure thanks to the presence of Heather Langenkamp and John Saxon, and would have been a good way to end things on a high note. Thanks to boffo box office we all know that's not how things played out and the more of an outrageous wise-cracker Freddy became the more my interest in the series waned. But I'm glad it went on as long as it did, because it gave filmmakers Daniel Farrands and Andrew Kasch the opportunity to create NEVER SLEEP AGAIN, an exhaustive, funny and informative look at the franchise, the people behind it, and how New Line really was "The House That Freddy Built". Who knew a four-hour ELM STREET doc would be my front-runner for my favorite film I've seen all year?!
  6. The Stalkers: Yesterday is No Tomorrow (CD) – I caught this New York garage band a few weeks ago when they opened for The Dwarves here in Baltimore. The moment I saw them setting up on stage I had a feeling they'd be the kind of band I'd dig... the members looked like guys I hung out with in college and you could almost smell the Ramones/Thunders/Dictators vibe. Oddly enough, the dude I had pegged for their roadie – a burly biker type who looked like he might have kidnapped the rest of the band – was actually their lead singer, giving the garage-pop an interesting visual dynamic and gleefully sinister playfulness. The disc I picked up from their merch table after the show is four years old and doesn't really do them justice, but with great music in short supply these days I was happy to discover a band I'm anxious to hear more from.
  7. Louis Fowler's Damaged Viewing (Podcast) – Longtime ER readers are certainly already familiar with Louis Fowler, a pop culture watchdog who has written some of my favorite reviews at the site. And when he's not telling everybody within earshot how great BATMAN & ROBIN is he's also a damn fine blogger, food writer (check out his work in our sister publication The Hungover Gourmet) and host of Damaged Hearing (available via iTunes). But I'm partial to Louis's latest venture – with frequent guest and card-carrying Man of ACTION! John Grace – a hysterical and interesting look at cinema called (what else?) Damaged Viewing. Louis and Co. jump in the studio after seeing such films as TRANSFORMERS 3, GREEN LANTERN and CAPTAIN AMERICA, only to find the conversation veering wildly off-topic before coming back around.
  8. Black Dynamite: The Animated Series Premiere (TV) – I finally caught up with BLACK DYNAMITE at this year's ActionFest and busted a gut over Michael Jai White's dead-on paean to 70s blaxploitation cinema. With DYNAMITE already a full-fledged cult film hit, the character has his own comic book and is now set for his big TV debut. But first, this Monday, August 8th will see the premiere of BLACK DYNAMITE: THE ANIMATED SERIES on The 11-minute pilot, featuring the voices of White, Tommy Davidson and others from the film, is just the start as Dynamite will be joining the Adult Swim lineup later this year.
  9. First Photo of Henry Cavill as The Man of Steel – I was shocked when the first photo of Henry Cavill in the Superman costume from the upcoming THE MAN OF STEEL hit the internet and nerds began complaining. Oh no, wait, I wasn't shocked at all. In fact, I resisted the urge to look at the pic when the link first hit my mailbox because I wanted time for the ferocious idiocy to come to a rolling boil. Sure enough, comments sections on blogs, websites and social media sites were packed with complaints ranging from nitpicky (Why is the S so big? The cape looks like drapes.) to nitwitty (Bring back Brandon Routh! Where's the curled lock of hair?). Frankly, I'm not a huge Superman fan but even I was dismayed at Kal-El's last cinematic outing and had little interest in this new "reboot", even if I like some of Zack Snyder's work. But not only does the first look at Supes remind me of the George Reeves show that I grew up on but for the first time in a long time the Boy Scout looks like he's finally ready to kick some bad guy ass. (I was not similarly enthused about the first glimpse of Anne Hathaway as Catwoman in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES.)
  10. Bruce Springsteen Auditions for PERFECT? (Viral) – There came a point in the 1980s where you had to make a music video. It didn't matter how big a star you were, music videos were a big promotional tool... even if they made you look like a tool. Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark" was, I believe, The Boss's first music video and the one that aired ad nauseum on MTV is largely remembered for the scene at the end with a post-MISFITS OF SCIENCE/pre-FRIENDS Courtney Cox being pulled from the audience to "dance" with Bruce. (The moment was even referenced on Cox's underrated COUGAR TOWN last season.) As stiff and uncomfortable as that video is, it's like a Kubrick film in comparison to this early, original version that I stumbled across thanks to the great Butch Walker (whose new album hits later this month). For twelve painful minutes The Boss arthritically lurches through "dance moves", does some kinda weird lasso thing over his head and snaps his fingers to a non-existent beat that only he can hear. That'd be bad enough, but the black pants, wife-beater tee, suspenders and black headband make it look like he's trying out for a role in PERFECT. Hard to believe this is the guy who did "Candy's Room".
  11. Kindle Bargains (eBooks) – After getting an iPad this summer I found myself blowing past the eBook apps because I couldn't imagine I'd ever curl up with the device to read a good book. I've always been a textural guy who likes the feel and smell of a used paperback or the ability to roll up a mag or zine and stuff it in my pocket. But I was won over by the Kindle app and the fact that Created, The Destroyer was available for the low, low price of 99 cents along with a ton of other Destroyer novels! (Hey, if you're going to take the plunge into a Summer of ACTION! you might as well read the first book in the most famous men's action series.) Then, while cruising around West Philly this past weekend, ER co-founder Lou Goncey informed me that the 25th anniversary edition of John Skipp & Craig Spector's groundbreaking splatterpunk horror novel Light at the End was available for less than the price of a cup of coffee. The eBook will never replace the fun of finding great, used trash at a flea market and I won't take my iPad into the can with me, but good bargains on great books will certainly keep me coming back for more.
  12. JAWS Meets... Peanuts? – As a kid I loved anything and everything related to PLANET OF THE APES, KISS, and James Bond, just to name a few. Having older siblings meant that I also got my hands on passed-down volumes of classic Peanuts strips re-printed in paperbacks and had escorts who would take me to see JAWS, even when I wasn't supposed to. Given how much time I spent in the ocean you'd have thought the flick would have freaked me out, but I went the opposite direction and, for a brief period, embraced all things shark. My 9th birthday even had a bit of a JAWS theme, with me getting a huge towel featuring the iconic JAWS poster (wish I still had that) and a plastic Great White Shark bank. Never expected to see beloved childhood icons like Snoopy and JAWS mashed up, but, well, you just never know. (Link via Super Punch)

1 comment:

CJG said...

I had that same Jaws bank when I was a kid.