Moviedrome Mondays: The Warriors (1979) and La Haine (1995) (Mark Cousins intro)

This week’s Moviedrome Monday entry is a double bill consisting of two crime films set either after hours or within a 24-hour period.

The Warriors (1979)

I have posted a youtube video link below to Moviedrome presenter Mark Cousins introduction to action director Walter Hill’s 1979 cult classic The Warriors. Readers can also read Cousins intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was August 3, 1997 (read here). Not much to add here except that I totally agree with everything Cousins says about this gem. If any of you readers are interested, here is a list of my favorite Walter Hill films (read here).

Here is a youtube video link to Mark Cousins Moviedrome intro to The Warriors

Here is a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer

La Haine (1995)

I have posted a youtube video link below to Moviedrome presenter Mark Cousins introduction to French director Mathieu Kassovitz 1995 crime drama La Haine. Readers can also read Cousins intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was August 3, 1997 (read here). Though Cousins may be a slightly (and I put emphasis on that word) bigger fan of this film than myself, I must say nonetheless that La Haine is a truly very good film that is just a tiny hair short of greatness.

Here is a youtube video link to Mark Cousins Moviedrome intro to La Haine

Here is a youtube video link to a 2020 re-issue UK trailer (I could not find the film’s original theatrical trailer)

Moviedrome Mondays: The Girl Can’t Help It (1956) and Take Care of Your Scarf, Tatiana (1994) (Mark Cousins intro)

This week’s Moviedrome Monday entry is a double-bill consisting of two comedies.

The Girl Can’t Help It (1956)

I have posted a youtube video link below to Moviedrome presenter Mark Cousins introduction to cult cartoonist-turned-director Frank Tashlin’s 1956 satirical rock-and-roll musical The Girl Can’t Help It. Readers can also read Cousins intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was July 27, 1997 (read here). Whereas Cousins appreciates the film with reservations, I absolutely love The Girl Can’t Help It. Given his earlier background as an animation director on various 1930โ€™s and 40โ€™s Looney Tunes shorts at Warner Bros., it is unsurprising that The Girl Can”t Help It plays like a cartoon itself, albeit one presented in CinemaScope. The garish colors (provided by DeLuxe) emphasizes the filmโ€™s cartoonish (among many examples, think Tex Avery’s Red Hot Riding Hood) style of humor (vulgar or otherwise). In fact, the names of Tom Ewell and Jayne Mansfield’s respective characters are Tom Miller and Jerri Jordan (a la Tom and Jerry). Despite all of the numerous jokes here revolving around her body, it is Jayne Mansfield’s Jerri Jordan, who comes off (hilariously and ironically enough) as the lone rational character of the film. This is best summed up in her desire for a normal life – I just want to be a wife. Have kids. But everyone figures me for a sexpot! No one thinks I’m equipped for motherhood! Last, but not least, it features cameos from some of rock music’s biggest names of the day – Little Richard, Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent are just three of many. Read more about the film’s influence on rock music here. If any of you readers are interested, here is a list of my favorite Frank Tashlin films (read here).

Here is a youtube video link to Mark Cousins Moviedrome intro to The Girl Can’t Help It

Here is a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer

Here is a youtube video link to cult director John Waters appreciation of the film

Also, here is a youtube video link to late director/producer Dan Ireland’s Trailers from Hell commentary for it

Also, here is a youtube video link to one of the film’s funniest visual comedic gags

Take Care of Your Scarf, Tatiana (1994)

Since I could not find a youtube video link to Moviedrome presenter Mark Cousins introduction to legendary Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki’s 1994 film Take Care of Your Scarf, Tatiana, readers will have to rely on Cousins intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was July 28, 1997 (read here). Since I have not seen the film, I can’t really comment here, though it does look fascinating.

Since I could not find a youtube video link to a trailer, one will have to do a search on the aforementioned site for various clips from it.

Moviedrome Mondays: Dazed and Confused (1993) and The Sexual Life of the Belgians (1994) (Mark Cousins intro)

This week’s Moviedrome Monday blog entry is a double bill consisting of two coming-of-age films set during two different decades.

Dazed and Confused (1993)

I have posted a youtube video link below to Moviedrome presenter Mark Cousins introduction to director/writer Richard Linklater’s 1993 cult comedy Dazed and Confused. Readers can also read Cousins intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was July 20, 1997 (read here). Though Linklater has surpassed himself many times since, I do still love Dazed and Confused and it’s status (implied or otherwise) as one of the many greatest teen movies of all-time is still richly deserved. If any of you readers are interested, here is a list of my favorite Richard Linklater films (read here).

Here is a youtube video link to Mark Cousins Moviedrome intro to Dazed and Confused

Here is another youtube video link to Mark Cousins Moviedrome intro to Dazed and Confused

Here is a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer

The Sexual Life of the Belgians (1994)

I have posted a youtube video link below to Moviedrome presenter Mark Cousins introduction to noted Belgian anarchist Jan Bucquoy’s 1994 film The Sexual Life of the Belgians. Readers can also read Cousins intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was July 20, 1997 (read here). Sad to say, I never seen this film, but it does look interesting based on Cousins assessment of the film.

Here is a youtube video link to Mark Cousins Moviedrome intro to The Sexual Life of the Belgians

I could not find a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer though

Moviedrome Mondays: Blue Collar (1978) and American Gigolo (1980) (Mark Cousins intro)

This week’s Moviedrome Monday entry is a double-bill consisting of two films directed and written by Paul Schrader.

Blue Collar (1978)

Since I could not find a youtube video link of Moviedrome presenter Mark Cousins introduction to Paul Schrader’s 1978 directorial debut Blue Collar (he also co-wrote it with his brother Leonard), readers will have to rely on his intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was July 13, 1997 (read here). Since I can’t comment on his most recent film The Card Counter (have not seen it yet), I will say that after 2017’s First Reformed (for me his masterpiece), Blue Collar ranks as my second favorite film by Schrader as a director.

Here is a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer

American Gigolo (1980)

I have posted a youtube video link below to Moviedrome presenter Mark Cousins introduction to Schrader’s 1980 neo-noir sexual drama American Gigolo. Readers can also read Cousins intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was July 14, 1997 (read here). I am sorry, but I have to totally disagree with Cousins on this one. For myself, American Gigolo is a film that alternated between bad and mediocre. Visually, it perfectly captures the excess that defined the 1980’s on a whole – courtesy of it’s art deco and John Bailey’s cinematography. Giorgio Moroder’s music score – (including his involvement with Blondie’s Debbie Harry on the hit song Call Me) serves as a fitting contribution. Last, but not least, we get outstanding performances from it’s two leads, which in this case would be Richard Gere and Lauren Hutton. So now you might be wondering what my problem with American Gigolo is? Schrader’s reported intention of playing American Gigolo as a Bressonian character study feels out of place here for what becomes a routine commercial mystery. Given that the film’s visual style was influenced by Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Conformist (a reported favorite of Schrader’s), maybe it would have been more fitting for the previously mentioned director/writer to play it as a Bertoluccian one – regardless of whether it’s more commercial aspects benefit or hinder it (the latter in this case), but that is just me. Equally problematic (as others have noted – here is Moviedromer’s thoughts below Cousins intro transcript) is the homophobia and sexism on display here – whenever these sentiments are not expressed by Gere’s lead character, they take the form of Schrader’s depiction of some of the characters as played by Bill Duke, Tom Stewart and (combing the former with the latter) Nina van Pallandt. My qualms here lie less with those aforementioned accusations against it and more with how those criticisms end up considerably damaging the result – once one combines the first half’s (supposed) Bressonian elements with the debatably more conventional ones of the second, American Gigolo canโ€™t help but come off as sophomoric for a drama and uncharacteristic for a commercial film of this type.

Here is a youtube video link to Mark Cousins Moviedrome intro to American Gigolo

Here is a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer

Moviedrome Mondays: Exotica (1994) (Mark Cousins Intro)

I have posted a youtube video link below to Moviedrome presenter Mark Cousins introduction to Toronto New Wave veteran director Atom Egotan’s 1994 thought-provoking drama Exotica. Readers can also read Cousins intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was June 29, 1997 (read here). Cousins admits to not liking this film, so on that, I disagree with him completely. Not unlike Calendar and The Sweet Hereafter (Egoyan’s two other great films), Exotica (as others have implied) takes it’s frequent backdrop (a strip club in this case) and uses it to explore it’s themes (central among them here are lust and grief) in a way that is both emotional and intellectual. If any of you readers are interested, here is a list of my favorite Atom Egoyan films (read here).

Here is a youtube video link to Mark Cousins Moviedrome intro to Exotica

Here is a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer

John Charet’s Take On: Almost Human (1974)

Please note that the following may contain some spoilers so If you have not seen the film, I recommend not to continue reading from here.

Although some have implied that Almost Human ranks as the number one best poliziotteschi film ever, I am not too sure. Nevertheless, I do agree that it ranks as one of the many greatest ones. Almost Human (like many poliziotteschi entries made before and after it) may have been shot on a shoestring, but what it lacked in it’s budget, more than compensated with their truly gritty flavor.

In Milan, homicidal small-time thief Giulio Sacchi (Tomas Milian) aspires to get rich, so he hatches up a plan to kidnap the daughter (Laura Belli) of a wealthy businessman (Giudo Alberti). Using his girlfriend’s (Anita Strindberg) car as transportation, Sacchi then buys a bunch of guns from an old acquaintance (Pippa Starnazza). Simultaneously, Sacchi hires some hoods to execute the kidnapping. At first, Sacchi’s plan looks like a success, but as Inspector Walter Grandi (Henry Silva) and his team of cops begin to slowly put the pieces together, Sacchi loses his sanity and in the process, jeopardizes the lives of everyone around him.

I will not go any further with the plot from here, just watch for yourselves. As for Tomas Milian himself, he was robbed of an Oscar nomination for his electrifying performance here as the psychotic Giulio Sacchi. One minute he is quick-witted and then the next, suddenly incompetent. Speaking of the latter, check out the scenes featuring his mob boss Ugo Maione (Luciano Catenacci) beating the crap out of Sacchi for screwing up – can you really blame him? Perverted? Aside from the kidnapped girl, Sacchi rapes two women during that notorious home invasion sequence. Sadistic? Once again, read that last sentence. Murderous? He does not seem to mind killing his girlfriend, an old colleague or his own goons. Along with Malcolm McDowell’s Alex DeLarge in A Clockwork Orange, Milian’s Giulio Sacchi is truly bad to the bone. While not the scene-stealer that Milian is, veteran tough-guy actor Henry Silva offers excellent support as detective Walter Grandi, who credibly dishes out Dirty Harry Callahan-like justice.

* * * * (Out of * * * *) stars

Here is a youtube video link to what may be the film’s American trailer (released under the title The Death Dealer)

P.S. I also want to give a huge shout out to Steve (a fellow reader of this blog) for introducing me to this excellent film ๐Ÿ™‚ If any of you readers are interested in watching his videos (and I am one of them), click here to view his youtube channel – great stuff indeed ๐Ÿ™‚

Horror Films That I Love to Watch Each Year in October

First off, Happy Halloween to my dear readers and second, I would love to share with you all a list of horror films that I love to watch during the month of October. Now these are not the only horror films that I love, these are just the ones I love to watch during the aforementioned month. Anyway, enjoy the list below ๐Ÿ™‚

Horror Films that I love to watch during the month of October (in chronological order)

  1. Cat People (1942) (Dir: Jacques Tourneur)
  2. The Ghost Ship (1943) (Dir: Mark Robson)
  3. I Walked with a Zombie (1943) (Dir: Jacques Tourneur)
  4. The Leopard Man (1943) (Dir: Jacques Tourneur)
  5. The Seventh Victim (1943) (Dir: Mark Robson)
  6. The Curse of the Cat People (1944) (Dir: Robert Wise)
  7. The Body Snatcher (1945) (Dir: Robert Wise)
  8. Dead of Night (1945) (Dir: Alberto Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton, Basil Dearden and Robert Hamer)
    (Anthology)
  9. Isle of the Dead (1945) (Dir: Mark Robson)
  10. Bedlam (1946) (Dir: Mark Robson)
  11. The Birds (1963) (Dir: Alfred Hitchcock)
  12. Night of the Living Dead (1968) (Dir: George A. Romero)
  13. Shivers (1975) (Dir: David Cronenberg)
    (a.k.a. They Came from Within)
  14. Eraserhead (1977) (Dir: David Lynch)
  15. Rabid (1977) (Dir: David Cronenberg)
  16. Dawn of the Dead (1978) (Dir: George A. Romero)
  17. Halloween (1978) (Dir: John Carpenter)
  18. The Brood (1979) (Dir: David Cronenberg)
  19. An American Werewolf in London (1981) (Dir: John Landis)
  20. The Evil Dead (1981) (Dir: Sam Raimi)
  21. The Thing (1982) (Dir: John Carpenter)
  22. Re-Animator (1985) (Dir: Stuart Gordon)
  23. The Fly (1986) (Dir: David Cronenberg)
  24. From Beyond (1986) (Dir: Stuart Gordon)
  25. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986) (Dir: John McNaughton)
    (Not released theatrically until 1990)
  26. Evil Dead II (1987) (Dir: Sam Raimi)
  27. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992) (Dir: David Lynch)
  28. Cronos (1993) (Dir: Guillermo del Toro)
  29. The Devil’s Backbone (2001) (Dir: Guillermo del Toro)
  30. Shaun of the Dead (2004) (Dir: Edgar Wright)
  31. Let the Right One In (2008) (Dir: Tomas Alfredson)
  32. The Babadook (2014) (Dir: Jennifer Kent)
  33. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014) (Dir: Ana Lily Amirpour)
  34. Raw (2016) (Dir: Julia Ducournau)
  35. Midsommar (2019) (Dir: Ari Aster)

Moviedrome Mondays: The Fly (1986) and Society (1989)

This week’s Moviedrome Monday entry is a double-bill consisting of two films within the body horror subgenre.

The Fly (1986)

I have posted a youtube video link below to Moviedrome presenter Mark Cousins introduction to controversial Canadian master filmmaker David Cronenberg’s 1986 genuine sci-fi/horror classic The Fly. Readers can also read Cousins intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was June 22, 1997 (read here). I agree with everything that Cousins has stated about this one. Along with 1982’s The Thing, director David Cronenberg’s 1986 version of The Fly ranks as one of the greatest cinematic remakes of the 1980’s. Whereas Kurt Neumann’s 1958 original was entertaining, Cronenberg’s version easily surpasses the earlier film in every single area. As usual, Cronenberg takes the script (which he co-wrote with Charles Edward Pogue) and uses it to typically explore all sorts of metaphors that connects with him on a personal level – whether it be within or out of the body horror genre. Last, but not least, we get a magnificent performance from Jeff Goldblum and Chris Walas jaw-dropping Oscar-winning make-up effects. If any of you readers are interested, here is a link to my favorite David Cronenberg films (read here).

Here is a youtube video link to Mark Cousins Moviedrome intro to The Fly

Here is another youtube video link to Mark Cousins Moviedrome intro to The Fly

Here is a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer

Society (1989)

I have posted a youtube video link below to Moviedrome presenter Mark Cousins introduction to director Brian Yuzna’s 1989 cult body-horror satire Society. Readers can also read Cousins intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was June 22, 1997 (read here). Once again, I am in complete agreement with Cousins on this one. On the surface and at it’s center, Society is a delightfully gory treat doubling as a biting social commentary on the upper class.

Here is a youtube video link to Moviedrome presenter Mark Cousins intro to Society

Here is another youtube video link to Moviedrome presenter Mark Cousins intro to Society

Here is a youtube video link to British film critic Mark Kermode’s commentary on Society as his BFI Player choice of the week

Here is a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer

Moviedrome Mondays: Westworld (1973) and Demon Seed (1977) (Mark Cousins Intro)

This week’s Moviedrome Monday entry is a double bill consisting of two science-fiction films that center on machines either turning against humans (the first feature) or becoming obsessed with them (the second feature).

Westworld (1973)

Since I could not find a youtube video link of Moviedrome presenter Mark Cousins introduction to director/novelist Michael Crichton’s 1973 sci-fi thriller hit Westworld, readers will have to rely on Cousins intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was June 15, 1997 (read here). I wholeheartedly agree with Cousins praise for this film. Certain big fans of Jurassic Park (whether it be the film, book or both) will imply that this serves as it’s dress rehearsal, but I would personally rank Westworld higher than filmmaker Steven Spielberg’s 1993 adaptation of the former, despite the fact that both of them are every bit equal in quality.

Here is a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer

Also, here is a youtube video link to screenwriter Ed Neumeier’s Trailers from Hell commentary for it

Also, here is a youtube video link to British film critic Mark Kermode talking about Jurassic Park and Westworld

Demon Seed (1977)

I have posted a youtube video link below to Moviedrome presenter Mark Cousins introduction to late Scottish cult filmmaker Donald Cammell’s 1977 science-fiction-horror gem Demon Seed. Readers can also read Cousins intro here. The episode’s original airdate was June 15, 1997 (read here). Not much to add except that I once again, totally agree with Cousins take on this film. On the surface, Demon Seed looks like little more than a studio assignment for the unconventional Cammell, but in the center, it looks like anything but. Not unlike the rest of his work (as unfortunately small as it is), Cammell’s trademark themes and visual style is what shapes the whole of Demon Seed. If any of you readers are interested, here is a link to my favorite Donald Cammell films (read here).

Here is a youtube video link to Mark Cousins Moviedrome intro to Demon Seed

Here is another youtube video link to Mark Cousins Moviedrome intro to Demon Seed

Here is a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer

Moviedrome Mondays: Scarface (1983) (Mark Cousins intro)

When Moviedrome began it’s eighth season during the summer of 1997, Edinburgh-based Irish film writer-turned-later documentarian on the subject Mark Cousins became the new presenter. For my UK readers, he is perhaps best known for his celebrated 2011 documentary The Story of Film: An Odyssey. Sure, Cousins may not measure up to Cox, but then again, who can? Nevertheless, I personally feel that he is just as interesting in his own way. As with Cox, I agree with Cousins as much as I disagree with him.

I have posted a youtube video link below to Moviedrome presenter Mark Cousins intro to director Brian De Palma’s 1983 celebrated cult gangster epic Scarface. Readers can also read Cousins intro here. The episode’s original airdate was June 8, 1997 (read here). If anything else, De Palma’s 1983 update of Howard Hawks 1932 classic is one that I admire more than I adore. Make no mistake, De Palma’s version is a very good film, but I would not call it quintessential De Palma (i.e. Dressed to Kill and Blow Out serve as just two of many perfect examples). I do agree with all of the high points that Cousins places on the film of course. In form and content, it is flawless (especially Al Pacino’s iconic Tony Montana), but in the end, it feels more like a studio assignment for De Palma than anything else, despite directing the hell out of it. Personally, I think Michael Cimino would have been a more worthy candidate for this job regarding the film’s central theme of excess and given his reputation at the time – his labor of love Heaven’s Gate (a misunderstood masterpiece) reportedly bought him comparisons to Austrian-American filmmaker Erich von Stroheim. In other words, both men were cinematic masters of excess. Unlike von Stroheim and Cimino, De Palma does not really strike me as that – yes, his filmmaking style is operatic, but in the end, you could never label him as a true man of excess. Anyway, as a remake, De Palma’s Scarface is close to greatness, but no cigar. If any of you readers are interested, here is a link to my favorite Brian De Palma films (read here).

P.S. though Cousins correctly labels John A. Alonzo as the cinematographer for this film, Chinatown and Internal Affairs, he incorrectly credits him for Close Encounters of the Third Kind, which was photographed by the late great Vilmos Zsigmond.

Here is a youtube video link to Mark Cousins Moviedrome intro to Scarface

Here is a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer