Wednesday, January 27, 2010

EUROCRIME! The Italian Cop and Gangster Films that Ruled the 70's

If you haven't seen this yet, here you go. I've been meaning to put this up.

Mike Malloy is a good egg and he knows his shit. I can't wait to see this.

Keep up with Mike and EUROCRIME! here.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

How DAY OF THE ANIMALS got me off on a unfocused rant.

One of the main selling points of moving to Austin besides finishing up my education (and most importantly, my wonderful girlfriend, in case she reads this) was the prospect of spending as much time as possible at the Alamo Drafthouse. Unfortunately, due to a long string of financial issues incured by the move, I really haven't been able to do so. Hell, I haven't been able to even go to a regular first-run movie hardly. Luckily with I Luv Video and Vulcan Video in town, my needs are filled but they run second to the regular 35mm experiences enjoyed downtown on 6th Street at the Alamo Ritz.

With a little money in my pocket from a side gig obtained on craigslist, I was able to venture out this evening and catch a showing of William Girdler's 1977 classic, DAY OF THE ANIMALS.

DAY OF THE ANIMALS has always been one of my favorite films from my youth. My memories of it stem from constant play on TBS, usually preceded by GRIZZLY. Your own William Girdler double feature on cable. Shit, the best TBS can do now is run episodes of THE OFFICE or LAW AND ORDER. Fuck that, where's my yearly showing of THE MYSTERIOUS MONSTERS, Ted Turner?

I digress. As I usually do.

DAY OF THE ANIMALS was Girdler's follow-up to the equally as classic GRIZZLY from the previous year and released by notorious exploitation stalwart Edward Montoro's Film Ventures International. It was great seeing the old Peach and Director's Chair Logo before the film.

The print shown was the SOMETHING IS OUT THERE re-release and I have to say, it's still highly entertaining to a sold out audience after all these years. Some laugh at the script, some laugh at the clothes, some laugh at Leslie Nielsen freaking the fuck out and calling a kid cockroach and wrestling a bear. Either way, this nearly 35 year old film still entertains unlike most newer cinematic offerings today.

Now this said, it pains me constantly to scan the movie times and realize there isn't anything I want to see much less a genre piece us Americans used to do so well. THE WOLFMAN? Hell no. Really, does that look good to anybody? DAYBREAKERS? It doesn't even look fun. Neither does that LEGION. And I think that's where the problem lies. Movies aren't fun anymore.

That's what I loved about THE HANGOVER so much. I wasn't expecting much from Todd Phillips. Honestly, OLD SCHOOL isn't that funny. It has some funny parts but pretty much eh. ROAD TRIP is quite the stinker.

But after seeing THE HANGOVER late in it's run at the theater and laughing as hard as I did, I could see why it did so well. It's actually fun.

How is it fun? The characters are not complete cliched assholes you could care less about. They actually have charisma and humanity and work well together as actors. They seem to have stuck to the script unlike most Will Ferrell comedies which means the script was pretty goddamn good to begin with. Another part of THE HANGOVER and one of it's most important components was that you never knew what was going to come next. That's pretty good for any movie in this day and age. It was almost, dare I say, somewhat original?

That said, it was patently adult. It was about adults. Not unlike one of last year's sleepers TAKEN, which I caught up with on cable earlier in the month. What a fun, action packed, not a lot of CGI blast with excellent acting that didn't insult your intelligence.

Both these films made a shit-ton of money so you have to ask Hollywood, why are you not taking more chances on original genre material? They get called out all the time in the media for being out of step socially and politically with America, but when you're out of step with what brung ya, well...maybe we should hold elections for those that greenlight some of the garbage that clogs up the movie theater screens and makes me walk out of a video store like I did on Saturday night because everything new looked like a piece of boring shit. Even my girl, who is in no way rabid about cinema said it before I could say it. There's nothing out to watch.

And that's what makes discovering old movies or watching old movies more entertaining and increasingly vital. I pine for a time when this medium was as entertaining. I didn't feel patronized or talked down to. If I wanted to watch someone play a video game, I'd go to Aladdin's Castle or play Nintendo. I want to like movies again.

And where are my new Christopher Georges or Leslie Nielsens or Richard Jaeckels? Where are my William Girdlers who make horror films or action films and they not either be fan-boy in-joke fests or CGI nightmares that really give new meaning to "there's no way that could happen".

In DAY OF THE ANIMALS, there's a horrible rear projection moment that caused everybody to laugh. Was it bad? Hell yeah, it was bad. But it seemed more real to me than any AVATAR or LORD OF THE RINGS universe. Why? I don't know if I can really put it into words other than I appreciate the the time somebody took to make all that happen with manual equipment as well as having to go outside and actually film real shit with real people both in front and behind the camera to make it happen. Some chick or dude clicking a mouse around and adding 3,000 Romans to a gladiator scene doesn't work for me. It's not very creative and it definitely didn't happen. They didn't even try to make it happen.

I need somebody to change the camera angles and drive the car the other way, like DEATH RACE 2000.

But anyway, DAY OF THE ANIMALS, a fucking classic, thumbs up, 4 stars and Andrew Stevens, fresh off of MASSACRE AT CENTRAL HIGH gets impaled.

What more could you ask for in life?

Andrew Stevens photo jacked from Yahoo. Photo by Steve Granitz.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Texas Theater-2222-A Guadalupe

1984 picture @ American Classic Images

Drove past this old theater today off Guadalupe. Nice that it was a porn theater once next to a business called FOOT ACTION.

Today it's a CVS.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Jay Reatard

Photo by Tom Oxley @

It's hard to believe that Jay Reatard is dead. But then again, it's not.

Reatard was a volatile rock and roll champion who getting into fights with the audience was part of the show. Most recently here in Austin, two kids jumped on stage to fight him. The show was a little over 25 minutes. I didn't go. I was broke. I was hoping to see him next time.

Reatard's earlier stuff didn't wow me. It's kind of pretentious in it's punk/garage posturing and artlessness. But man, did that kid ever grow. His most recent outings were incredibly melodic and raging full-on, the kind of noisy pop songs you wish you could write but alas can't.

It also reminded me of how I take things for granted. If you're wanting to do something but come up with a reason for why you can't, do it anyways. I could have went to that show. I was broke, but I still could've gone. I'd see him someday. I was being responsible.

Like Creedence says, someday never comes.

Sleep well, Jay.

Waiting For Something - a short documentary about Jay Reatard

While this is no official video, it is my favorite Reatard song.

Jay Reatard MySpace Music Videos

The newest video and a hell of a song.