Amoeblog

Having a Movie Moment with Jon Longhi: Coronavirus Comfort Food

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, June 14, 2020 03:40pm | Post a Comment

By Jon Longhi.

When you work at Amoeba, the world is your media oyster. A copy of pretty much any new DVD, Blu-ray, or CD shows up used within the first couple of weeks of its release. Employees are allowed to use Amoeba as kind of a library for used stuff. On an average week at work I watch anywhere from five to ten new release movies. Some are movies made that year, others reissues of films from decades past. It makes it really easy to write a new release column like this. Well, that spigot shut off three months ago along with the rest of human civilization. Sure, I’ve got a huge movie collection and have had no problems keeping myself entertained during the shutdown, but new releases? Well, I’ve bought one new Blu-ray since the shutdown. The supply lines are jacked. Titles have been delayed. The prices for them are expensive even on discounted sites like Amazon. I only have a couple of new releases left to review. So this column is less of an overview of things that came out this month and more a review of the last things I bought from Amoeba before the world collapsed. They were good movies for this time because all of them are FUN. They’re coronavirus comfort food and they helped get me through these dark times.

The Return of Ultraman, Mill Creek Entertainment:
I bought this the week before the shutdown. I wasn’t going to review this because I’ve already devoted a Return of Ultramanlot of ink to these Ultraman releases in previous columns but as I said earlier, the slush pile is pretty much gone these days. Mill Creek Entertainment’s official Blu-ray releases of Ultraman are some of my favorite releases of all time. I’ve bought this stuff on horrible overpriced bootlegs for decades and am overjoyed that I can throw all those old copies away. Some of those bootlegs didn’t even have subtitles but I watched them anyway. These Mill Creek Blu-rays are the official prints direct from the Toho and Tsuburaya vaults. They are gorgeous and the sound is great. I’ve watched these shows over and over and have been utterly entranced watching them because they are so sharp it is like watching each episode for the first time. Plus, since they are subtitled, I’m frequently actually understanding what is going on for the first time. Usually in the past when I reviewed a big TV box set like this, I had watched anywhere from six to eight hours of the set by the time I wrote the review. Well, I’ve actually watched all twenty-one and a half hours of this set as I’m writing this. It’s one of the things that’s been instrumental in helping me psychologically survive the past three months.

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Weird Wednesday at The Alamo Drafthouse New Mission in September

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, September 1, 2019 03:42pm | Post a Comment

Amoeba and Alamo Drafthouse are at it again this September as we continue our partnership for Weird Wednesday at the New Mission theater in SF! Weird Wednesday is Alamo's weekly celebration of movies that are too outrageous, too beastly, too gritty, and sometimes too synthy for prime time. Here's what we have in store for you this month...

SLEEPWALKERS (1992)
Wednesday, September 4. 10:15pm
Mary and her son Charles are shapeshifting, telekinetic beasts who eat the souls of virgins and battle really cute house cats. Oh, and they’re also lovers. Filled with gory carnage, jaw-dropping special effects, and a constant barrage of insanity, Sleepwalkers is the ultimate WTF party in Stephen King’s filmography. Look for uncredited cameos from Mark Hamill, Joe Dante, Tobe Hooper, and Clive Barker. Plus a scene with John Landis eating a sandwich while performing an autopsy.



AN EVENING OF SYNTH ROCK W/ GENESIS AND EMERSON, LAKE, AND PALMER (1977)
Wednesday, September 11. 10:40pm
A 35mm double bill played L*O*U*D, communing us with the colorful godz of classic progressive rock. Come take a topographic journey into 21st Century Schizoid land with us. Everything that makes prog wonderful (and everything scoffed at by critics of the day) is on display in Genesis: In Concert (‘77) and ELP: Pictures At An Exhibition (‘73): synths, organs, dual drummers, Rickenbacker basses, guitar prodigies, elaborate stage shows, astounding sounds, lyrics from another planet and melodies from the eighth dimension.

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Sword-and-Sandal Time with Debra Paget

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, August 31, 2019 06:29pm | Post a Comment

By Kai Wada Roath
Ambassador of Confusion Hill and host of the Super Shangri-La Show


"Oh yeah there's all kinds of things happening here boy! There's sword fighting, horse-play, and there's dancing, dancing, dancing...Holy Cats!!"
~ Commander USA introducing Princess of the Nile (1954) on his Groovie Movies TV show

Pour yourself some pomegranate wine in a clay chalice, light some botanica candles, and kick your feet Journey to the Lost Cityup as Debra Paget takes you away to romantic palaces in ancient desert lands. Some of you may remember Debra from starring in Roger Corman's Tales of Terror and The Haunted Palace (both 1963 and her last films), but it was truly the Fritz Lang Indian epic of The Tiger of Eschnapur and The Indian Tomb (both released in 1959) that made her famous for her snake dance scene.

*Sidenote: This reminds me of the time I left my snake charmers flute that I got in India in my car on a hot day and the resin that kept it together melted all over my seat and my car reeked for months like someone dumped bong water in it.

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I'm Gonna Meet You on the Astral Plane

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, August 31, 2019 04:00pm | Post a Comment

By Kai Wada Roath
Ambassador of Confusion Hill and host of the Super Shangri-La Show


Astral projection, also called astral travel, is a term used in esotericism to explain an intentional out-of-body experience. In some far away tribes, men would use these abilities to fly over the jungle forests to look for the perfect tree to chop down to carve into a canoe. For me, I wanted to revisit the Mark Twain Saloon in Virginia City to see the paintings on the walls again, but my jalopy truck broke down before the trip, so that night I laid in my bed and let my spirit travel the astral plane over the state line. Folks, with practice, this is the cheapest way to take a vacation.

Perhaps the most famous song about traveling the astral plane is..."Astral Plane" on The Modern Lovers first album, which came out in 1976. And those who love the dreamy, soft voice of Valerie June from Memphis have probably heard her sing of dancing on the astral plane. But let's get more freaky with the 1970 song with the same title by the acid folk band Influenza.



In fact, in music, books, movies, and comics of the 1970s to early '80s, astral projection was the talk of the town...if you lived in a weird town. My Uncle Fred who lives down in Mexico practices astral projection. I'll never forget my aunt once asking him what he looked forward to doing when he got home after a family visit and he said, "Oh, just leaving my body and going where I wanna go."

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Jack the Ripper, Rock n' Roller or Just Creepy Dark Alley Stroller?

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, August 13, 2019 11:00pm | Post a Comment

By Kai Wada Roath
Ambassador of Confusion Hill and host of the Super Shangri-La Show


"Let us begin. Let the circle not be broken. Concentrate upon the flame, which burns upon the Altar of Truth. Yes... there is something here. Something terrible. I feel its presence. Fear, anger, hatred... anger feeds the flame. Oh, oh, there is evil here, monstrous, terrible evil! Consuming hunger! Hatred of all that lives, hatred of women, a hunger that never dies! It is strong, overpowering, an ancient terror! It has a name: Barratus, Kesla, Redjac. Devouring all life, all light! A hunger that will never die!"
~ Sybo, the Argelian empath

Let me start off by saying, serial killers are not cool. They are total jerks. But much like the Zodiac Killer, Jack the Ripper still has folks intrigued because he had a great name and was never caught. Judas Priest, Morrissey, Nick Cave, and even LL Cool J have songs about "The Ripper."

Now, I don't listen to those cats, but I do have a fond memory of tearing down a dirt road along side the railroad tracks in my old Ford F150 (with a spray-painted pirate flag on the hood) listening to Link Wray & His Ray Men's "Jack the Ripper" on cassette when I was a young lad.

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