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Top 10 Horror and Exploitation Blu-rays of 2016

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 26, 2016 05:24pm | Post a Comment

by Gabriel Wheeler

Most of us live in world where we can stream movies 24/7, but there are still quite a few of us who want physical copies of our favorite films, whether it’s for the artwork or the inclusion of extras like commentary, alternate cuts, behind-the-scenes photos, and more. Many amazing horror and exploitation movies found their way to Blu-ray this year, so without further ado here are my top 10 sleazy and scary Blu-rays for 2016.


Blood Father10. Blood Father (2016. Jean-Francois Richet. Lionsgate Films)

This is the only movie on the list that actually hit theaters in 2016. Mel Gibson plays John Link, an ex-biker on parole who runs a tattoo parlor out of his trailer in the desert. Out of the blue, his missing daughter gives him a call asking for money and so begins their high-octane journey full of mayhem. This is the ultimate dad film mixing elements of Breaking Bad and Mad Max. Also available on DVD.


 

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The Craziness of the Golden Globes and Finding the Winners on DVD/Blu-ray

Posted by Billy Gil, January 15, 2013 02:41pm | Post a Comment

Golden Globes Mel GibsonFor whatever reason — more alcohol, fewer fawning montages and less strictness in general — the Golden Globes are looser, funnier and generally better TV than their big brother, the Oscars. Years of Golden Globes shows have seen their fair share of nuttiness, from Elizabeth Taylor’s sadly strange yelling of “Glaaaadiator!” in 2001 to the Rat Pack hijacking the show in 1958. Read about more embarrassing moments here.

 

This year, the big story was Jodie Foster and her sprawling, sort-of coming-out speech upon receiving the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award. Whether from the pressure of being in the spotlight for nearly the entirety of her cognizant life, and/or the added pressures of those pushing her to reveal details of her personal life and the criticisms of her friend, Mel Gibson (whose googly eyed expression took to memesville), Foster chose to use her time at the podium to air her frustrations in a defensive, almost bitter but fiercely real speech.

Jodie Foster Golden Globes
Sorry about my jenky screen grabs. Celeb photos 'R' expensive.

I’m still processing what happened — regardless of how blase it may seem when a famous person whom everyone presumes is gay comes out of the closet, it’s still a big deal for its ripple effects. Foster’s speech didn’t make me feel sorry for her, but it did make me like her even more. It’s clear she’s reached the don’t-give-a-fuck stage of her life and career, at age 50, after starring in more than 70 films, directing three and producing several more, and winning two Oscars. Her candidness and awkwardness was a big breath of fresh air during a televised awards show, most of which tend to be rife with unrelenting ass-kissing. Read her entire speech here. See more coming-out speeches here.

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The Gods Must Be Crazy: Studying Celebrity Culture

Posted by Charles Reece, February 26, 2011 10:13am | Post a Comment
 
I have cleansed myself. I closed my eyes and in a nanosecond, I cured myself... It's the work of sissies. The only thing I'm addicted to is winning. This bootleg cult, arrogantly referred to as Alcoholics Anonymous, reports a 5 percent success rate. My success rate is 100 percent. Do the math ... another one of their mottoes is "Don't be special, be one of us." Newsflash: I am special, and I will never be one of you! I have a disease? Bullshit! I cured it with my brain, with my mind. I cured it, I'm done ... you don't look like you're having a lot of fun. I'm gonna hang out with these two smoking hotties and fly privately around the world. It might be lonely up here but I sure like the view, Alex!
 
-- Charlie Sheen on being a god

Could Sheen's firing from Men Behaving Badly be a sign of the end times for pop culture's Valhalla, that people will no longer put up with stars' egotistic bullshit? Nah, it's more like Ragnarök in the Thor comics, a cycle that's created by them, for them, but marketed to all of us -- diversionary entertainment at its purest. Here are some other recent examples:

the beaver mel gibson

Peter Biskind covers Mel Gibson's id in "The Rude Warrior" for Vanity Fair. Anyone who's read the author's books (e.g., Star, Down and Dirty Pictures) knows he has a penchant for overstatement, particularly when it comes to analogizing between a filmmaker's films and his or her personal life. This results in a hilarious reading of the movie I'm most anxious to see:

[The Beaver] features Gibson talking through a hand puppet that enables him to voice feelings he’s incapable of expressing directly, has been the object of much raillery. It hits every note in the Gibson songbook, and then some—most prominently, a suicidal dad redeemed by his son. (Foster says she took the script to Gibson because she thought it would speak to him personally.) But the film is so uncompromising, and directed with such delicacy, that it cuts through the sticky sentiment that is Gibson’s stock and trade. Foster manages to find in his preoccupations an authenticity that he has never been able to convincingly dramatize himself; she’s his beaver, so to speak.

I'm not sure he actually realized what he was writing in that last sentence, but what a double entendre.

tom cruise scientology

In "The Apostate" at The New Yorker, Lawrence Wright interviews filmmaker Paul Haggis (e.g., Crash, Million Dollar Baby) about his fallout with The Church of Scientology, while detailing, along the way, the cult's history and its calculated relationship with Hollywood. There's so much great material here that it's hard to pick just one example, but Scientology's use of Sea Org (its missionary wing) for slave labor is fascinating. Take ex-member John Brousseau's involvement in providing favors for Tom Cruise:
 

In 2005, [Church leader and chairman David] Miscavige showed Cruise a Harley-Davidson motorcycle he owned. At Miscavige’s request, Brousseau had had the vehicle’s parts plated with brushed nickel and painted candy- apple red. Brousseau recalls, “Cruise asked me, ‘God, could you paint my bike like that?’ I looked at Miscavige, and Miscavige agreed.” Cruise brought in two motorcycles to be painted, a Triumph and a Honda Rune; the Honda had been given to him by Spielberg after the filming of War of the Worlds. “The Honda already had a custom paint job by the set designer,” Brousseau recalls. Each motorcycle had to be taken apart completely, and all the parts nickel-plated, before it was painted. (The church denies Brousseau’s account.)

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Domination & Dragons: Georges Bataille's Story of the Eye (2003) & How to Train Your Dragon (2010)

Posted by Charles Reece, December 19, 2010 11:29pm | Post a Comment
georges bataille's story of the eye

Andrew McElhinney's adaptation of Georges Bataille's perverse classic, Story of the Eye, is transgressive in the way Lady GaGa challenges our notions of sexual identity. Its cast seems to have come from gay S&M clubs, Korn videos and Midwestern strip joints. I don't have Phil Donahue to tell me what middle America is thinking any more, so maybe the sight of a pierced black cock that looks like a Subway sandwich is still provocative up in Bakersfield. I'm certain my 95-year old grandmother would rather watch her soaps, but so would I. I knew I was in for a boring ride when the film opened with actual footage of a baby's birth, as if Hollywood still had Rob and Laura Petrie sleeping in single beds. Then came a scene with the Korn extra controlling via a joystick two dancing women with torsos painted to look like faces under big top hats. Guess what the joystick is replaced with through the magic of montage. Hasn't the phallic joystick become such a frozen metaphor at this point that it's literal? This is hardly the metonymic eroticism Roland Barthes once analyzed where eyes, eggs and breasts become signs of each other through cleverly structured vignettes of abject sexuality. Whereas Bataille's love story begins with a decapitated cyclist, McElhinney shows the application of a condom to promote safe sex! After about 5 minutes of gay porn involving a bleached blonde sailor boy pitted against the aforementioned Moby Dick of, umm, deli sandwiches, I began to fast forward, looking for anything involving buttocks and egg cracking, but to no avail. Maybe it's old-fashioned to be thinking of the halcyon days of transgression, however McElhinney's sexual terrain would've been flyover country back in de Sade's time.

apocalypto sacrifice

You're better off watching Apocalypto, where Mel Gibson displays true Bataillean flair by taking his time in showing a Mayan sacrifice. As with the mortification of Jesus' body in The Passion of Christ, Gibson eroticizes the sacrificial act, beginning with the arduous walk up the steps of the great temple to the removal of the victim's heart to his beheading and then to the tossing of the headless corpse down the steps. (Inspired, he goes on to show another sacrifice, albeit it in not quite as much detail.) In both films, pain builds until it's released through violent ejaculation. Gibson was particularly interested in why a civilization like the Mayans (one could ask the same of the Romans), rationally capable of creating such architectural marvels, would treat another human so cruelly. For Bataille, it had to do with the material baseness of any rational structure, society's blindspot, or the madness that makes it all possible. Against the ratio of the Hegelian master-slave dialectic, he suggested that Aztec sacrifice (which Gibson had considered using, but went with the Mayans instead) was a way of resisting the reduction of human life into pure exchange value. While the slave can be exchanged in a rational system, the sacrifice is pure excess, or waste, and can't be used for anything else. In this manner, it becomes sacred ("heterogeneous"), suggestive of something beyond the homogenizing structures their culture placed upon them, and was therefore a foundational act.   

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Movie of the Decade? The Beaver Starring Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster

Posted by Charles Reece, December 4, 2010 05:56pm | Post a Comment

No, this isn't some viral joke; 19 million was spent on it. I'm thinking there are two explanations for featuring Mel talking to a beaver on his hand: (1) Foster's a scientologist, because anything this wrong has to have a scientologist behind it, or (2) any support she gave him during his recent troubles was a ploy to lead him into this trap.
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