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On the Bowery

I guess this is the grandfather of mumblecore. It's mostly a loosely scripted film of men about to get drunk, actively drunk, or previously drunk aimlessly wandering the streets and living the general life of a homeless person in 1950s NYC. Most of the "conversations" are old guys arguing over nonsensical topics that are hard to even understand because they are all so inebriated. At barely over an hour, this is probably the perfect length for a movie that's not about anything other than a picture of lost people who inhabit a geographic location at a certain period of history.

Watched on Kanopy.

Roaring City

A jack of all trades "yes" man takes a job making shady bets on a boxing match. When things go wrong and a man is murdered, he must solve the crime before a detective pins the crime on him.

This movie made very little sense. It makes less sense that the man is constantly discovered all over the city with incriminating evidence (usually a dead body) after being knocked unconscious and each time the detective just lets him go on "solving" the mystery. This happens over and over. It's ridiculous.

I think this is vying for the title of dumbest noir ever made.

Watched on YouTube.

Warui yatsu hodo yoku nemuru

A bit too long even though it's good.
During a wedding reception, several story lines are revealed by the attending paparazzi about corporation executives doing shady deals with the government. After the wedding, several police investigations are helped by a corporate insider who is trying to take down the company form the inside.

Plot, plot, plot. This movie is very thick on lots of woven plots. I enjoyed the story of revenge, but it's obvious that by 1960, Akira Kurosawa was being allowed to do whatever he wanted with no editor. This kind of meanders to an end during the last 40ish minutes after having a great beginning and several great scenes of the setup, but definitely needed about 45-50 minutes cut out that just didn't matter.

This story would actually make a great tv series because you could have each episode focus on one of the 6-8 main characters and then another 5 or so episodes of how the plots all come together. Season 2 of True Detective feels like it has a lot of similarities.

Coppola must have designed the opening wedding scene of The Godfather after what is shown here. Even though it's a totally different story, the wedding that opens the movie lasts 20 minutes and you learn lots of info concerning at least a dozen characters both on and off screen to go along with symbolic gestures that will play out during the rest of the movie. You are learning this info in a variety of ways as well from the paparazzi, to the police, to the participants of the wedding. The Godfather did it better, but I definitely see parallels in pacing and shot selection.

Watched on dvd from Criterion.


Absurdly Fun!!!
Since I couldn't really understand what was going on due to the language barrier, I will have to describe what I think was happening:

Several kids break into the house of a mad scientist. He gives them pills and sticks them in his machine that gives them super powers and spirit animals. He then directs them to fight crime across the city of Manila.

A gang leader, who is a teleporting clown, wants to take over the city by terrorizing kids with laser eyed ghost wrestlers who are summoned when they play their Nintendo game systems. The Biokids must fight the ghost wrestlers and stop the clown warlord.

When it's 4am and you have nothing to do at work and you randomly come across a Philippine movie that is a knockoff of Power Rangers, you watch it. Even though this movie was in Tagalog (I'm guessing since I don't speak it and it wasn't Spanish), it was hilarious. I highly recommend at least finding the scene of a constipated kid on the toilet being summoned to fight crime.

Watched on YouTube.

Night and the City

The Safdie Brothers if they were making movies in the 50s.
A small time grifter and part time shady club promoter stumbles into what might finally be a break to starting a legitimate business. What he dosnt know is that he's being double crossed and conned by everyone and things quickly spiral beyond his already weak grasp of reality.

This has to be a favorite of the Safdie brothers as Richard Widmark's constant hustling and poor decision making would fit nicely with any of their films. Widmark was a noir staple, but this is easily his best role in a career that spanned decades. This whole movie is fun because it's not just one con man, but a nonstop slew of everyone conning everyone and the worst hurt people who get hurt are the outsiders who don't know the circus of deceit they've entered.

Watched on dvd from Criterion.

Road House

Meandering Noir Adjacent Film
A love triangle emerges between a club owner, his house manager, and a lounge singer at a fancy club with a bowling alley. Over time, everything devolves into double crossing, blackmail, and attempted murder.

I know this is usually listed with film noir, but it's kind of just a meandering drama with a touch of crime as a shallow plot point. Overall, It meanders a bit too much, has a very random court scene or two that could have been cut, and has characters that end up over the top and silly. This is definitely the kind of movie that any film noir scholar might call "noir adjacent."

Watched on bluray from Kino Lorber.

The Last Crooked Mile

Light hearted B noir.
After a bank robbery, $300k goes missing when the robbers are caught. A wise cracking PI inserts himself in the hunt for the money and, along the way, he finds dames, carnies, and conspiracies.

This was oddly a more light hearted noir since the PI and all other men in this movie are constantly spitting flirty one liners at every woman within reach. It hit all the tropes, but wasn't much more than a light entertainment of a B noir. My favorite scene was the projection screen roller coaster that looked pretty good for a very low budget special effect 🎢.

Watched on YouTube.

Corridor of Mirrors

Great cinematography
I saw that one of my favorite film critics Eddie Muller insisted that this be shown at one of his Noir City Film Festivals even though it wasn't a noir. He said it was too good looking and had been obscure for far too long to not show to film lovers. I have to agree that it looks fantastic.

A woman who is already cheating on her husband decides to flirt with another man who is a weird dandy hipster obsessed with horse buggies and mirrors and speaks in obtuse quips. To up his weirdness, he's convinced he's a reincarnation of a 15th century member of the Borgias family.

Apart from the standard 40s silly melodrama and the very strange flashback that is most of the movie, the cinematography was outstanding. Especially during the 15th century Venetian party where most of the interesting action occurs. The overall look felt very French and sure enough when I looked to see who had lensed it, it was a Frenchman named Andre Thomas who worked in pre WWII France and Germany before fleeing to England to work in the film industry.

Watched on YouTube.

Showdown in Little Tokyo

Pretty bad on all levels.
While watching this, I think I rented it on vhs sometime around 1995 because some of the scenes were familiar. If you've seen any 90s Dolph Lundgren movie, you know whether you need to watch this awful action movie. Brandon Lee also shows up to do some mediocre action and awful acting. It's mercifully less than 80 minutes.

Watched on HBOMax.


Not true, but an interesting story.
I don't think Christopher Walken has ever Walkened as much as he Walkened in this movie. Even though I found every single actor in this movie earnestly annoying, I also thought it was oddly intriguing because it was so strange.

I used to listen to Whitley Strieber on the radio at 2am in college just to hear the extremely out there stories his callers would tell. This movie is based off his book that he tried super hard to convince everyone was real until he got caught in a string of over embellished life stories to make himself look more interesting. After that, he was relegated to the world of supernatural oddities and the fringe people who believe in them. It's too bad he lost his career or we would have maybe had some more movie adaptations of his books like The Wolfen with Albert Finney and The Hunger with David Bowie.

Watched on Amazon Prime.

Assassination Nation

Silly and trite.
I guess I'm not into hyper realism like this. It all comes across as an angsty teenager hipster soap opera drama fest.


Interesting? Maybe?!?
After I had endured the 80 minutes of The Hart of London, the 8 minutes of this Jack Chambers short was easy to get through.

I guess if you stumble across a dead raccoon, why not film a woman spilling flowers over it while another man and woman run toward a baby in a field.

Watched on YouTube.

The Hart of London

Kino Bruitalism
You know I'm bored at work when I have time to watch this experimental art piece that's from the early days of the Kino Bruitalism (Noise Cinema) movement. This is an 80 minute mashup of homemade videos of various things around his hometown, vacation footage, stock news footage, and nature scenes both homemade and stock footage where Jack Chambers layered them on top of each other while the score (can noise be a score?) plays as a cacophony of traffic, machinery, and various forms of running water from a faucet to ocean waves.

***Grotesque spoilers for something absolutely no one is ever going to watch***

The scenes of a sheep slaughterhouse were pretty out there, but then the director decided you needed to see it all again in color. From reading about this movie, I get he was dying from leukemia and was doing an exploration of the life and death cycle, but there are some things that are maybe too much realism to be put on screen. I think there is also a human birth intercut with these scenes. I have to guess that's what was going on because it was very hard to tell what was going on with the quick cuts and multi layers. It may have also been a stillborn sheep being birthed since we get plenty of that imagery as well.

Watched on YouTube.

Drive a Crooked Road

Come for the cars, stay for the Rooney.
I know he's more known for his 1930s/40s portrayal of a corny comedic actor in various family movies or musicals or when he became a popular b actor the 60s/70s that would show up in anything for a paycheck, but Mickey Rooney is fantastic in this dramatic role.

A criminal gets his girlfriend to flirt with Rooney's mechanic character to convince him to be a wheelman on a bank heist. She flirts with him for nearly 30 glorious minutes before anything happens and then we get a classic heist followed by a great car escape that feels amazing even though it's obviously not real because it's shot in classic projection style mixed with some outside car shots.

Even though there are some scenes of very over the top cat calling of a woman and a gang member who thinks he's hilarious as he spits very dry one-liners which don't fit with the mood of the movie, this is a classic that needs to be seen. I think if I had a top 100 list, this wouldn't be at the top, but would easily fit nicely with any other crime thriller. As far as acting best performances, Rooney is probably in my top 50 of all time here. As far as driving movies, it top 5 of all time.

Watched on YouTube.

Private Property

Two drifters become obsessed with and annoy a frustrated house wife in the Hollywood hills until things become dangerous. This feels like most indie movies today that are a few people in a house and then some stuff happens, so I wasn't suprised to see that it's being remade.

This was scandalous in the 50s and even earned an X rating in the UK. It's mostly innocuous, but it does have a very dark ending with some implied things. Overall, I'm not sure it's the "lost classic" as I've read and really dosnt need a modern remake. I guess it was way ahead of its time, but I generally don't really like the films it's way ahead of. Fortunately, it's only 80 minutes and the last 10 minutes was great.

Watched on Kanopy.


You've seen it before just not in this combo
This was a La Femme Nikita/DOA situation filtered though live action anime with touches of the current slate of action movies like Atomic Blonde, Hardcore Henry, The Raid, and John Wick.

I guess I don't get the critics being harsher on this than any other action movie of late. Stuff happens. Action happens. Some more stuff happens. Some more action happens. It's a fun romp that dosnt outstay it's welcome. And you get to see a unique fight haircut.

Art and Craft

Not bad, but more awkward than anything
If you want to see the most awkward meeting of a mentally handicapped art forger and a somewhat grumpy Midwestern art curator that lasts about 10 minutes, this documentary has you covered. I found this doc more of a somewhat interesting expose of a forger who can't help himself than what would have been a more interesting look at the pretensions of an art world that is very easily duped when someone is giving them "valuable" artwork.

Watch on Amazon Prime.

Side Street

Only in a film noir could the protagonist commit a crime that uncovers a crime connected to other crimes and then commits more crimes to solve other crimes and then survives to be happy at the end with his wife and new baby while many other people committing other crimes die. Crimes.

Winter Kills

Weird and illogical.
I decided to try another obscure political conspiracy theory movie after last night's disappointment of The Domino Principle.

Winter Kills is yet again packed with great actors (with a cameo by Toshiro Mifune and even Elizabeth Taylor shows up for no reason) and derived from a book by Richard Condon of The Manchurian Candidate fame, but is....very odd and off kilter, to say the least.

After doing some research, this film seems have been financed by cocaine drug lords trying to launder money by making movies and no studio would touch it after it was independently made. No wonder it seems to have no producers or editors making any logical story decisions. As maybe the only positive I can find, it feels like Oliver Stone maybe borrowed some style for JFK


This movie is trying so hard to be intellectual.
I rated Swallow (2019) 4/10. This movie is all over the place. All rich people assholes? All men are assholes? All poor people stuck in mediocrity? Marriage is shallow? Your past defines you forever? We are all gods defining our destiny?

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Just don't. This is easily the saddest excuse for a movie ever made. I'm astounded that so much money was spent on something so putrid and needlessly boring.

Friday Night Lights: Black Eyes and Broken Hearts
Episode 16, Season 1

The scene where the coach talks to his school counselor/wife/friend over whether or not he should fire a racist coach was magnificent writing and acting. It was as if he was literally talking to 3 distinct people and felt so real. Wow that was great.


Who thought this nonsense would be funny?
I rated Scoob (2020) 4/10. About as interesting as you would think a bunch of 40-50 year old writers would make a kids focused movie. The cliche and severely outdated jokes (Gerard Depardieu?!? Yeah, some 8-12 years old kid is really going to know a b list French actor from the late 80s...hilarious) & obvious nonstop homages (The Jesus scene from The Big Lebowski, the arena fight from Thor 3, and The Rabbit scene from Monty Pythons Quest for the Holy Grail) make this unbearable. There are some nice touches of the original show, but those are mostly all used in the first 15 minutes and then it's just eye rolling (Simon Cowell. Not an homage, an actual reference to American Idol era Cowell circa 2007) and downhill from there.

Also, as a side note, I'm all about teaching kids about the concept of consent, but being heavy handed with it, not once but twice within 5 minutes between a boy and his pet dog just feels odd and creepy. If you watch this movie, expect this level of subtlety throughout (expect random social justice "catchphrases" that are very oddly and glibly used. Fun right....for kids?!?).

Fast Company

?!? Who thought this would be an interesting movie?
I rated Fast Company (1979) 4/10. This is a silly melodramafest of a terrible movie. It's odd anyone would think drag racing would be interesting. It's even odder that someone got Cronenberg to direct. No wonder the studio went out of business before it was even released.

In Search of Darkness

A 4.5 hr doc?!?!?
I rated In Search of Darkness (2019) 6/10. A fun overview of all the great aspects of 80s horror, but why was this not a series? Why was this a 4.5 hr doc?

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