Amoeblog

Having A Movie Moment with Jon Longhi: Godzilla Box Set Warts and All

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 20, 2019 05:35pm | Post a Comment

By Jon Longhi

Welcome to the last Having A Movie Moment of 2019. This year I go out with bang and review one über box set...

Godzilla: The Showa Era Films, 1954-1975, The Criterion Collection:
This is arguably the biggest Blu-ray release of 2019. It is the one thousandth Criterion Collection release, Godzilla Box Setand what could be a bigger subject matter for a big release than a Godzilla box set? This is all fifteen films from the original classic era of Godzilla. Godzilla is probably the world's most well-known monster. Only Dracula or Frankenstein are on the same level. Godzilla is the ultimate metaphor of the Cold War and the atomic era, an uncontrollable monster that we ourselves created by our warlike ways. Only a few other pop culture creations resonate this strongly in the modern mind of the human race. Over the course of the past 65 years, this giant radioactive lizard has stomped his way through 35 movies. There is a good reason he has been dubbed "King Of The Monsters." Generations of children and adults have grown up watching his movies. For decades they were the staples of Saturday late night horror shows and afternoon matinees. I don't think I've ever met a person who hasn't seen a Godzilla film.

The Big G has always had a special place in my life. I've been obsessed with his films since early childhood and watched them on television whenever they aired. I've bought every Godzilla movie ever released in the US in every format going back to Super 8. When I was in fourth grade, our year-end project was to give a fifteen minute speech to the entire school on a subject we had heavily researched. The topic I chose was Godzilla and his cultural relevance. I gave a good speech and got a good grade, but I'm not sure that everyone in the audience got or agreed with my point. So this Criterion Collection release, and a release of such importance, feels like a kind of personal validation to me. My fourth grade self was right.

Continue reading...

Weird Wednesdays this December at the Alamo Drafthouse New Mission

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 3, 2019 04:15pm | Post a Comment

The Stuff

Deck the halls with weirdo cinema this December as Amoeba Music joins Alamo Drafthouse New Mission in San Francisco for another month of Weird Wednesdays! Take a deep dive with us into these untraditional cult classics...

WHITE STAR (1983)
Wednesday, December 4. 10pm.
In the lost years between Out of the Blue and Blue Velvet, an unhinged Dennis Hopper starred in this wildly-unknown downfall tale. Hopper gives a terrifying, coke-infused, and heavily improvised performance as seedy concert promoter Ken Barlow, whose claim to fame is being The Rolling Stones’ tour manager. Barlow aims to get his new synth-punk protege Moody to the top of the charts by any means necessary. Set in the musical underground of West Berlin, Roland Klick’s White Star paints the divided city awash with subcultural dwellers - punks, squatters, musicians, and late-night revellers. Never released theatrically in the US. Check out this new digital restoration.

White Star

BLACK SAMURAI (1977)
Wednesday, December 11. 10pm.
Based on the popular series of adventure novels by Marc Olden, this low-budget karate crowd-pleaser stars Jim Kelly of Enter the Dragon, Black Belt Jones, and Three The Hard Way fame as Robert Sand, secret agent for D.R.A.G.O.N. (Defense Reserve Agency – Guardian of Nations). When a coven of kung fu Satanists led by the evil warlock Janicot kidnaps his girlfriend, Sand (code name Black Samurai) springs into action with sword, feet, and fists-a-flying! Directed by cult filmmaker Al Adamson, Black Samurai was a box-office hit that played theaters all over the world for over a decade before achieving further success on late-night television and home video during the 1980s and ‘90s. Not seen on the big screen in over 30 years, don’t miss the opportunity to see the restored, uncut R-rated version!

Continue reading...

Having A Movie Moment with Jon Longhi: Us at Marienbad

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, October 25, 2019 07:17pm | Post a Comment

By Jon Longhi

Welcome to this month’s Having A Movie Moment With Jon Longhi where I review recent Blu-ray releases.

Us, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment:
Jordan Peele has done it again. Just as Get Out was the most interesting movie of 2017, his new film Us may be the most thought provoking mainstream movie released in 2019. I don't tend to review a lot of contemporary films in this column, but that's not because I have anything against them. I watch a new release movie almost weekly and while many are good and perfectly entertaining, there are few great ones. The main reason for this is that movie production is so expensive these days that the studio accountants don't let directors take too many chances. Too much money and too many jobs are on the line, so the studios stick with formulas and franchises these days. Sure, I loved the new Avengers movie, but it was really just another superhero movie. Recent films all have the same general structure. It's like you can almost look at your watch an hour and fifteen minutes after the opening credits and realize that it is time for the big budget special effects to start showing up. Even when a new director has some kind of "vision," the studios rarely let them pursue it. Jordan Peele seems to be kind of an exception to this trend. Part of the reason for that is that despite being quirky, his films still do well in the mainstream marketplace. Us is no different. On a certain level, it is a straightforward horror genre picture or at least that's what it feels like for the first two thirds of its run time. Even if it was "just" a horror movie, it would have been one of the best horror films of the past two years. I was trying to eat my dinner while watching it, and it was such a gripping and suspense-filled ride that I kept having forkfuls of food get ice cold as I sat there for twenty minutes at a time, too engaged in the movie to even take another mouthful. 

Continue reading...

Having A Movie Moment with Jon Longhi: The Reptile with a Side of Quatermass

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, October 4, 2019 07:43pm | Post a Comment

By Jon Longhi

Welcome to this month’s Having A Movie Moment With Jon Longhi where I review recent Blu-ray releases. If you're a Hammer movie fan Shout Factory really opened the floodgates for you in August when they released some of the best films the studio ever produced including one that is arguably their very best.

The Reptile, Shout Factory:
This has always been one of my very favorite Hammer films. The studio was mainly known for redoing all the classic Universal monsters like Dracula, Frankenstein, the Wolfman, and the Mummy in their own unique and luridly colorful British style. What sets The Reptile apart is that it is their own original creation. There are mild elements of the werewolf in the film but the script goes to new and unexpected places. The movie is kind of a slow burn but when the monster does finally reveal itself it is as good as anything Jack Pierce created. This was a later Hammer film so everybody who worked on this was at the top of their game when it was made. It's just a good story that is well told. Everything on the movie works flawlessly, the cinematography, directing, script, music, acting, so that when all these elements are put together they make a perfect whole. On many levels, this film is the essential embodiment of Hammer and their style.

It starts with a murder like many of the best Hammer movies do. After Charles Spalding is killed in this opening scene his brother Harry and his new bride, Valerie, inherit his cottage and move to the rural town of Clagmoor Heath in Cornwall. They find the town living in terror due to a rash of recent deaths caused by a mysterious and unexplained ailment the locals refer to as the "Black Death." The corpses left behind by this ailment are all foaming at the mouth with blackened and swollen faces. At first the locals shun the couple, but Harry eventually befriends Tom Bailey who owns the local pub and offers to help Harry solve the mystery of the recent deaths. Tom and Harry have only seen similar symptoms in people bitten by king cobras in India. Their investigation leads them to the nearby home of the sinister Doctor Franklyn who recently moved to the area with his daughter Anna. Franklyn is a professor of theology who has traveled the world studying mysterious and hidden cults and religious groups. To describe Doctor Franklyn's relationship with his daughter as "dysfunctional" is putting it lightly. Every scene with these two is profoundly disturbing on a number of psychological levels. You know something weird is going on with these people you just don't know what it is. John Gilling does an excellent job directing and he keeps you guessing at the true nature of what is going on right up until the final act. The ending really delivers and the movie is as good as any of the classic monster films Universal made.

Continue reading...

October is Full of Weird Wednesdays at the Alamo Drafthouse New Mission

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, September 30, 2019 06:20pm | Post a Comment

Anton LaVey

Not only is October the kookiest, spookiest, and ookiest month of all, but at the Alamo Drafthouse New Mission in San Francisco, it's also the Weirdest. Amoeba Music is thrilled and chilled to continue partnering with Alamo Drafthouse into the witching month for these five bitching Weird Wednesdays this October:

THE LOVE WITCH (2016)
Wednesday, October 2. 10:15pm
The Love Witch is a breath of fresh air for twenty-first century horror. Meticulously crafted on 35mm film by genre revisionist Anna Biller, this is both a salute to -- and an attack on -- decades of exploitation tradition. When a witch named Elaine (Samantha Robinson) moves to a new town, she wastes no time in using spells to line up lovers. And also corpses. Soon, Elaine finds her haunted libido in a psychotropic battle against an entire town of weirdos. Combining the hyper-stylized aesthetic of Jacques Tati, the surreal melodrama of Nicholas Ray, and the pop-art violence of Doris Wishman, The Love Witch drips with day-glo pulp while challenging gender expectations in horror. Smart, timeless, and unmissable.





SATANIS: THE DEVIL'S MASS (1970)
Wednesday, October 10. 10:15pm
Before Hail Satan, there was Satanis: The Devil's Mass! This is the unseen and unbelievable exposé documentary on Anton LaVey, America's favorite leader of the Church of Satan. Feeling like a bedtime story as told by Kenneth Anger and Russ Meyer, this is a wild glimpse into the witches, black masses, and sex lives that built San Francisco’s most infamous cult. From LaVey’s daughter ("I think they're nuts!") to a woman who performs a satanic rite with a Boa constrictor, you’ll meet numerous proto-goths, midnight maniacs, and daytime Draculas -- and even a pet tiger named Togare! In the words of LaVey, “If you’re going to be a sinner, be the best sinner on the block.”

Continue reading...
<<  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  >>  NEXT