FROM DUSK TILL DAWN (1996) / WHOSE STREETS? (2017)

FROM DUSK TILL DAWN (1996) / WHOSE STREETS? (2017)

From Dusk to Dawn

Whose Streets

While the movie theaters here in Los Angeles remain closed due to the pandemic, The Royal marquee communicates to the passerby on the present situation. Sometimes funny, sometimes poignant.  I’m thankful to whoever puts these marquees together every week. A much needed light in gloomy times. (MA)

PULP FICTION (1994)

 

Pulp Fiction
Pulp Fiction at the New Beverly Cinema, November 29, 2019. 25th anniversary!                        Photo: Matt Average

PULP FICTION (1994)

Director: Quentin Tarantino

Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, John Travolta, Bruce Willis, Amanda Plummer, Tim Roth, Ving Rhames, Uma Thurman, Eric Stoltz, Frank Whaley, Phil LaMarr, Rosanna Arquette

 

ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD (2019)

Once Upon A Time
Once Upon A Time… In  Hollywood, at the New Beverly. Photo: Matt Average

ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD (2019)

Director: Quentin Tarantino

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Margaret Qualley, Timothy Olyphant, Emile Hirsch, Dakota Fanning, Luke Perry

It’s rare, but I do go see a new movie now and then. Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood is not one I’d miss out on seeing in the theatre. Tarantino is one of the few directors today that I think makes movies worth seeing. Even if you don’t like everything he’s done you still talk about those movies. I still remember seeing Reservoir Dogs when it opened at the now long gone Lumiere Theatre in San Francisco. I was blown away, and went back to see it many more times before it left. Sometimes twice in the same day, if it was on a weekend. I even dragged all my friends to see it, and convincing them repeated viewings were worth their time. The acting was great, the dialog was smart, and the soundtrack was perfect. And it was a much needed breath of fresh air in the shitty shitty state of genre cinema at the time. 

All the reviews for Once Upon A Time… are out, so you know who’s who and what’s what. I’ll just mention that Brad Pitt is great as Cliff Booth. I’d love to see more about him somewhere down the line. I’d even settle a series of novels about his past, present, and future. 

Also, I recommend seeing this at the New Beverly, and it’s playing all through September, so there’s time. Before the movie they play the broadcasts from KHJ that you hear throughout the movie when DiCaprio and Pitt are driving around LA, then you get the trailers that are also shown in the movie, as well some props from the movie on display in the lobby and back of the theatre.

Will I go see this again? Definitely.  (MA)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEAR DARK (1987) / JENNIFER’S BODY (2009)

neardark:jennbodymarquee
Near Dark, and Jennifer’s Body double feature at the New Beverly. Photo: Matt Average

NEAR DARK (1987) 

Director: Kathryn Bigelow

Starring: Adrian Pasadar, Jenny Wright, Bill Paxton, Lance Henriksen 

JENNIFER’S BODY (2009)

Director: Karyn Kusama

Starring: Amanda Seyfried, Megan Fox, Adam Brody, Amy Sedaris, J.K. Simmons

Played to a sold out crowd at the New Beverly on May 4, 2019. 

NAVAJO JOE (1966)

NAVAJO JOE (1966)

Director: Sergio Corbucci

Staring: Burt Reynolds, Aldo Sambrell, Fernando Rey, 

Viewed on Amazon Prime

Great transfer

navjojoe

This is a remarkable spaghetti western starring Burt Reynolds. For those not familiar, Sergio Corbucci also directed The Great Silence, which is another killer western.

 I’ve seen the movie poster for Navajo Joe around forever, but for some reason just never had any interest in watching it.  Imagine trying to make a movie with this title today!! 

The story is that of a Native American (played by Burt Reynolds) who is named.. duh… Joe.  I know this entire premise sounds like it won’t work, but it does.  Apparently Burt Reynolds was actually part Cherokee Indian.  His part in this was originally supposed to be played by Marlon Brando (now that would NOT have worked).  

This is hands down in my opinion Burt’s role of a lifetime.  Burt however was super embarrassed by the film and always told people it was the kind of movie that was shown in prisons and on airplanes, “places where people couldn’t leave”.   He stated it was made by the wrong Sergio. 

Joe’s tribe have been wiped out by a large gang of criminals lead by the infamous and ruthless Duncan.  His woman is murdered and scalped by Duncan. This is a revenge movie in which Joe just starts picking off each and everyone in the band of murderers. The plot involves a Wells Fargo train filled with half a million dollars and a town filled with innocent god fearing cowards.  The ending is awesome and brutal as hell.  Things are super action packed with tons of fight scenes, with shoot outs on horses and trains.  Remember Burt started off as a stunt man, so he coordinated and did many and most of his own stunts.  

Like many spaghetti westerns it is entirely filmed in the desert mountains of Spain.  

All great films in this genre must have a great theme song. This music and song are bad ass and were later reused in Kill Bill by Quentin Terentino.  

Pretty awesome transfer on Prime. (NW)

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Nate Wilson: NW  Devon Cahill: DC  Heath Row: HR  Matt Average: MA

 

BONNIE’S KIDS (1972)

BONNIE’S KIDS (1972)

Country: US
Starring: Tiffany Bolling (Ellie), Robin Mattson (Myra), Steve Sandor (Larry)
Director: Arthur Marks
Music: Carson Whitsett

Viewed:  Streaming, Amazon Prime

Transfer Quality: Excellent! Top quality restoration and transfer

bonnie

Larry: You mean to tell me that God made two of you?

Ellie: God had nothing to do with it, darling.

Hot, oversexed, devious, and cruel would aptly describe the sisters, Myra (Robin Mattson Candystripe Nurses, Phantom of the Paradise) and Ellie (Tiffany Bolling The Candy Snatchers, Kingdom of the Spiders), but Bonnie’s kids aren’t the only morally bankrupt denizens of this twisted and superficial world of predator vs. prey. Virtually every character that appears on screen is on the make in one way or another. Even the camera is a lecherous creep, shamelessly panning up and down the contours of every female figure and implicating the viewer along the way whether we like it or not. This feature is gratuitous, but why would you expect any less of a film that was a major influence on Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction.

There are some magical moments in this movie, which makes its impact on Tarantino easy to figure. For example, the arrangement of shots in the opening scene is quite brilliant in its portrayal of teen innocence that’s just slightly askew. It’s difficult to describe how well done this scene is, but director Arthur Marx (Bucktown, Monkey Hustle) employs some great visual storytelling techniques here that set the deliciously cynical tone for the film. An ice cream truck, headlights glowing in the distance, blares its syrupy looped tone made even more unsettling by its incongruity with the nighttime scene. Something is off balance, and it creates a sense of foreboding that subconsciously prepares us for the nihilistic excess that will occupy the rest of the film.  As the ice cream truck jingle continues, we see two high school couples making out in a convertible. While the ominous vehicle slowly rolls towards the make out session, Myra skillfully rebuffs the advances of her boyfriend as he presses his luck trying to unzip her dress. In the meantime, the truck passes without incident and the camera moves away from the action in the car to zoom in on the front window of the house where Myra’s stepfather, the tightly wound Charlie (Leo Gordon, Riot in Cell Block 11) is playing cards with his buddies.

Myra leaves her friends and enters the house where things get intense quick. Charlie’s buddies take turns teasing Myra and him about what they’d do with her and her older sister Ellie if Charlie wasn’t around. Myra quickly reveals herself as no innocent as her sexual teasing of the older men shatters any presumptions lingering from the opening scene. Later, as an undressing Myra is ogled at through the bathroom window by his departing guests (and then by the local police!) Charlie, who’s planning a trip to Montana to be with his terminally ill father, is in his bedroom chugging down a bottle of Seagram’s. Things continue to devolve as the drunken Charlie catches Myra on the phone talking sexy to her boyfriend. The out of control stepfather unleashes on Myra in a violent rage, and initiates what most certainly will end in sexual assault. It’s at this precise moment that Ellie enters and from quick back and forth we infer that she too was molested by Charlie. No sooner do we piece it together than Ellie blasts Charlie twice in the chest with a shotgun, leaving him dead. And so it begins…

The hallmark of the great morality exploitation film is that it titillates the viewer with precisely the vice it purports to condemn. At first I thought this was going to be one of those kinds of movies, but the ambiguous principles of each character left me wondering if anyone could be described as the morally righteous hero in this story. The way this film ends (and I’ll leave it for you to watch) only led me to further abandon all hope for humanity. However, when I wasn’t catching myself sinking into depression or contemplating the reason for my own existence, I actually found this film quite difficult to pause.

It’s also cool to keep an eye out for the connections between Bonnie’s Kids and Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. From a “Bonnie” whom we never see on screen, to Eddy and Digger (Alex Rocco, Timothy Brown) as the inspiration for Vincent and Jules, to the flirty banter and surreal showcase dance scene with Ellie and Larry (Steve Sandor) ala Mia and Vincent, it’s obvious that Tarantino was mining the gold nuggets embedded in this film. Even the shot composition at the diner scene with Eddy and Digger seems strangely familiar.

Check it out…enjoyable to say the least, but you might find yourself craving a shower by the end of it.  (DC)

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NW: Nate Wilson  DC: Devon Cahill  HR: Heath Row  MA: Matt Average