Lisa’s Editorial Corner: Thank You


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Hi, everyone!  It’s Thanksgiving!  Well, actually, it’s the final hours of Thanksgiving.  In fact, it’s 10:03 as I start this and it’s totally possible that I won’t be ready to post it until midnight so, by the time you read this, Thanksgiving will probably be over and you’ll be in a Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/None of the Above type of mood.  Well, no matter…

So, every year, I make out a list of what I’m thankful for and I post it on this site.  Today, as I relaxed at my uncle’s house and I listened to all my cousins talking about football, I realized that I wasn’t really quite sure what I was specifically going to mention.

Don’t get me wrong.  There’s a lot that I am thankful for.  I’m thankful to be alive.  I’m thankful that I have people in my life who love me and I’m thankful that there are people who I love.  I’m thankful that my sprained foot is much, much better.  I’m thankful that it rained today so I would have an excuse not to lay out in the sun and pretend like I’m actually capable of getting a tan.  Seriously, I’m a redhead.  We don’t tan, we just burn.

And, because this is an entertainment-related site, this would be a good time to mention that I’m thankful that 2015 has been a pretty good year for film.  Mad Max, Ex Machina, Sicario, 88, Inside Out…I’m not even beginning to scratch the surface of how many good films have been released this year.  As for the bad films — well, The Fantastic Four, Ted 2, and Vacation were all terrible but you know what?  None of them did a bit of good at the box office so at least the movie going public is not adding insult to injury.

It’s been a good year and, as a lover of the Oscars, I’m especially excited by the fact that there is no clear front runner.  Oscar season is going to be exciting!  Sure, it would appear that The Martian and Spotlight appear to be early favorites but neither has dominated.  Seriously, this is going to be fun.

So, there’s a lot that I am thankful for but you know what I’m really thankful for?  I’m thankful that I have thoughts to share and I am even more thankful that are people out there who are actually interested in learning them.  There is nothing more wonderful than the freedom to say whatever the Hell you want.  That, along with so many other things, is what I’m thankful for in 2015.

So, instead of coming up with a big list and trying to show off how witty I am, I’m just going to use this holiday to say “Thank you.”  Thank you to all of the writers and reviewers at the Shattered Lens.  Thank you to Arleigh Sandoc for asking me, 5 years ago, if I would be interested in contributing to an entertainment blog that he had just started.  Thank you to all of the writers who were here before me and thank you to everyone who joined after me.  Thank you for keeping this site alive.  Thank you for keeping this site interesting.  Thank you for keeping things lively.  Thank you to all of you.  Thank you for everything.

Even more importantly, thank you to all of our readers.  They you to everyone who subscribes to this site.  Thank you to everyone who has ever left a comment.  Thank you to everyone who has ever clicked the like button.  Whether you’re a regular reader or if you just found us through a google search, thank you!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Whether today was Thanksgiving or just another Thursday, I hope it was a wonderful one for you!

All my love — Lisa.

P.S. Wow, it’s 10:26 and I’m already ready to post.  Happy Thanksgiving!

P.P.S. By the way, since it’s Thanksgiving, here’s the NSFW trailer for Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving.  Hurry up and get this movie done, Eli!

P.P.P.S. Finally, since it is Thanksgiving, why not read my review of the classic killer turkey film, Blood Freak?

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Film Review: Creed (2015, directed by Ryan Coogler)


CreedOn Wednesday, I saw the movie Creed and what can I say?  Creed is exactly the film that we were hoping it would be.  Not only does it continue the story of Rocky Balboa but it proves that Ryan Coogler is a major directing talent and that Michael B. Jordan is a film star in the making.  Ever since Creed was first screened for critics, we’ve been hearing that “Creed is the best Rocky since the first one.”  I would go even further to say that Creed is one of the best boxing films to be released since the first Rocky.  Though the story may be formulaic, Creed is a film that will take you by surprise.  No one — not even the biggest Rocky fans — was expecting it to be this good.

When the movie opens, Adonis Johnson, the illegitimate son of the legendary boxer Apollo Creed, is just another kid in foster care.  His mother has recently died and Apollo was killed in the ring before Adonis was even born.  Adonis is adopted by Apollo’s widow, Mary Anne (Phylicia Rashad).  Fifteen years later, Adonis is working in an office and has just gotten a big promotion but he spends his weekends boxing in cheap venues in Mexico.  Eventually, over Mary Anne’s objections, Adonis quits his job and moves to Philadelphia.  Adonis wants to box professionally and he wants his father’s greatest opponent and best friend, Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), to train him.

But Rocky is no longer the man he used to be.  He stills owns his restaurant and he still goes out to the cemetery to visit the grave of his wife, Adrian.  Since the end of Rocky Balboa, Rocky’s best friend, Paulie, has died and his son has moved to Canada.  (Paulie still gets an affectionate shout out when Adonis comes across his old porn stash at Rocky’s house.)  Rocky is older, sadder, wiser, and more alone than he has ever been.  He is also still haunted by Apollo’s death in the ring.  At first, Rocky does not want to train Adonis but eventually, the younger man wins him over.  Under Rocky’s tutelage, Adonis wins his first professional fight.  When the news gets out that Adonis is Apollo’s son, he is given a chance to fight the reigning world champion, Ricky Conlan (Tony Bellew).

Creed 2Watching Creed, it is obvious that Ryan Coogler knows his Rocky films.  Creed features call backs to every entry in the series, even the ones that have not received the positive reviews of the first Rocky and Creed.   Of course, the entire film is haunted by Apollo’s death at the hands of Ivan Drago in Rocky IV.  The restaurant and Rocky’s visits to Adrian’s grave were first introduced in Rocky Balboa.  When Rocky shows Adonis a picture of him and his son, it is a still photo of Sylvester and Sage Stallone in Rocky V.  When Adonis first meets Rocky, he asks him who won the fight that ended Rocky III.   Adonis’s fight against Conlan is a call back to Rocky’s fights against Apollo in the first two Rocky films.  When Adonis thinks about his father, a clip of Carl Weathers flashes across the screen.  Finally, just as Rocky fell in love with Adrian, Adonis falls for a singer named Bianca (Tessa Thompson).

Even though Creed is steeped in the history of Rocky, it still manages to establish its own identity.  Creed is not just a film about boxing.  It is also about a son’s effort to escape the shadow of his famous father and establish his own identity.  Michael B. Jordan gives a performance that feels so real and so honest that it constantly takes us by surprise.

StalloneSpeaking of surprising performances, Sylvester Stallone has never been better.  This is not only his best performance in the role of Rocky Balboa but the best performance of his underrated career.  It is a performance that is totally devoid of ego and Stallone has never been this vulnerable on screen.  If Stallone is not, at the very least, nominated for an Oscar for his performance here, it will be an injustice.

Coogler does a good job of capturing the mean streets of Philadelphia and watching Adonis’s training montage is an inspiring experience.  (It would not be a Rocky film without an inspiring training montage.)  Coogler also does a good job filming the action inside the ring.  The second fight, which is shown in almost one entirely unbroken take, is especially exciting.

Creed is a stunningly effective film.  When I saw it, the audience broke out in applause at the film’s final shot.  Rocky Balboa’s story may be close to finished but Adonis Creed’s has just begun.  I can not wait to see where it goes.

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Thank You, Mr. Peckinpah: Ride the High Country (1962, directed by Sam Peckinpah)


rideIt’s the turn of the 20th century and the Old West is fading into legend.  When they were younger, Steve Judd (Joel McCrea) and Gil Westrum (Randolph Scott) were tough and respect lawmen but now, time has passed them by.  Judd now provides security for shady mining companies while Gil performs at county fairs under the name The Oregon Kid.  When Judd is hired to guard a shipment of gold, he enlists his former partner, Gil, to help.  Gil brings along his current protegé, Heck Longtree (Ron Starr).

On their way to the mining camp, they spend the night at the farm of Joshua Knudsen (R.G. Armstrong) and his daughter, Elsa (Mariette Hartley).  Elsa is eager to escape her domineering father and flirts with Heck.  When they leave the next morning, Elsa accompanies them, planning on meeting her fiancée, Billy Hammond (James Drury), at the mining camp.

When they reach the camp, they meet Bill and his four brothers (John Anderson, L.Q. Jones, John Davis Chandler, and the great Warren Oates).  Billy is a drunk who is planning on “sharing” Elsa with his brothers.  Gil, Judd, and Heck rescue Elsa and prepare for a final confrontation with the Hammond Brothers.  At the same time, Gil and Heck are planning on stealing the gold, with or without Judd’s help.

Ride the High Country was actually Sam Peckinpah’s second film but it’s the first of his films to truly feel like a Sam Peckinpah film.  (For his first film, The Deadly Companions, Peckinpah was largely a director-for-hire and had no say over the script or the final edit.)  Peckinpah rewrote N.B. Stone’s original script and reportedly based the noble Steve Judd on his own father.  All of Peckinpah’s usual themes are present in Ride the High Country, with Judd and, eventually, Gil representing the dying nobility of the old west and the Hammond brothers and the greedy mining companies representing the coming of the “modern” age.  Ride The High Country‘s final shoot-out and bittersweet ending even serve as a template for Peckinpah’s later work in The Wild Bunch.

Much like the characters they were playing, Randolph Scott and Joel McCrea were two aging veterans on the verge of retirement.  For these two aging stars, who had starred in countless westerns before this one, Ride The High Country would provide both fitting farewell and moving tribute.  This would be the last chance that either of them would have to appear in a great movie and both of them obviously relish the opportunity.  The best moments in the film are the ones where Judd and Gil just talk with the majestic mountains of California in the background.

Among the supporting cast, Ron Starr and Mariette Hartley are well-cast as the young lovers but are never as compelling as Gil or Judd.  Future Peckinpah regulars R.G. Armstrong, L.Q. Jones, and Warren Oates all make early appearances.  Seven years after playing brothers in Ride the High Country, L.Q. Jones and Warren Oates would both appear in Peckinpah’s most celebrated film, The Wild Bunch.

The elegiac and beautifully-shot Ride The High Country was Sam Peckinpah’s first great film and it might be his best.

Randolph Scott and Joel McCrea in Ride The High Country

Randolph Scott and Joel McCrea in Ride The High Country

“As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly”: Thanksgiving Memories From WKRP in Cincinatti


“As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.”

With those words, the Turkeys Away episode of WKRP in Cincinnati takes it place as a holiday classic.  In this episode, Arthur Carlson — the station manager of the perpetually low-rated and eponymous radio station — attempts to pull off the greatest Thanksgiving promotion of all time.  However, after Mr. Carlson incorrectly assumes that turkeys can fly, things go terribly wrong.

Believe it or not, this episode is based on a true story.  A radio station in Atlanta tried a similar promotion, the main difference being that the station manager tossed the turkeys out of the back of a moving truck.

While enjoying the holiday, take a moment to remember this classic TV moment.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Turkish Film Fest: Turkish Rambo/Rampage/Korkusuz (1986, dir. Çetin Inanç)


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Right up front I have to say that this is a big step down from Turkish First Blood. Yes, the actor who plays Rambo resembles the character more than Cüneyt Arkin did. However, what made Arkin so good was his delivery, not his muscles or a more genuinely wounded soldier look. He was intimidating and he made the action exciting. He filled his role with an enthusiasm that isn’t matched even remotely by this Rambo. Oh, and the print I watched had good subtitles, but it looked more radioactive then the set of The Conquerer (1956). Let’s talk about the movie.

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Just like the first two Kilink movies, this one opens with the equivalent of a trailer of the movie you are about to watch that seems to seamlessly blend into the beginning of the movie. As such, we are immediately shown this movies Rambo named Serdar (Serdar Kebapçilar). As you can see, he’s got the muscles, and he’s got the I can and will kill you if needed, but I’m permanently wounded inside look about him. We’ll skip the rest of the trailer, cause that’s the rest of the movie. A rest of the movie that is kind of confusing. There is a lot of who is actually working for who stuff going on here. I will try to navigate it, but it’s really just something you wade through to reach the action sequences.

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This guy has been given a blank check to just do whatever he needs to in order to stop these bandits/terrorists in the mountains. He arranges a hit on a car so that some of the bandits will get captured. It’s a little unclear to me how this worked since it appears some people died, but regardless, they now have some of them in prison where they are conveniently placed in the neighboring cell to Serdar. They send Serdar and the bandits away to be delivered to the appropriate authorities when Serdar arranges a breakout.

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The men he helped escape agree to take him to their leader. Serdar gives them that choice, or death. At this point, I think we are cutting between the military guys and Serdar helping the other guys, but I think the military guys are shooting at them too. Doesn’t matter because we get another scene like in Turkish First Blood where the girl is having trouble getting up the slightest of inclines.

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This, the one in Turkish First Blood, and Black Widow’s capture in Avengers: Age Of Ultron (2015) are the least inconvenient character inconveniences I’ve seen since that guy named Julius tried to fight Jason on the rooftop in Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989).

Now Serdar is taken to a home. I’m not to sure about what goes on here, but Serdar kills some people and his love interest comes out of it.

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It’s interesting that director Çetin Inanç returned from Turkish First Blood to make the sequel. He’s not the only one who returned.

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Super over the top bad guy returns as well. Now the movie really is just a long string of torture scenes before Serdar goes all Rambo on them. In other words, highlights!

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It appears that the big bad guy decides to send Serdar out on a mission for him, but that doesn’t really work out. This is when the action largely takes over the rest of the film. Unfortunately, this is like the last 20 minutes or so of the movie. There are a few dialogue exchanges between Serdar and the girl. More highlights!

The flying knife thing makes a return in Turkish Rambo.

The flying knife thing makes a return in Turkish Rambo.

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With big bad guy dead after excessive use of a rocket launcher, Serdar is congratulated and let go to return to his unit. End of story!

Watch Turkish First Blood first, then go ahead and take a look at Turkish Rambo. It’s nowhere near as good, but it has it’s moments.

Turkish Film Fest: Turkish First Blood/Vahsi Kan (1983, dir. Çetin Inanç)


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This is one of the most awesome things I have sat through in my entire life. It’s mindless entertainment with frantic editing and cinematography that helps to keep an intense pace. Cüneyt Arkin kicks massive amounts of ass and I don’t care how old he is, he should be in the next Expendables movie. The soundtrack is so epic that you could play it over Moses parting the Red Sea in The Ten Commandments or one of those battles made up of a cast of thousands. I even landed a version that clearly had machine translated subtitles which means I sort of get what was going on, but they say it in the most hilarious way possible. The only issue to say up front is that if you get motion sickness easily, then maybe this isn’t for you because the camera points upward and spins. Not too often, but combined with everything else, it might get you. Otherwise, stop reading now and just go watch it. Turn off your brain and just enjoy.

For those of you who actually want to read about this film first, here we go!

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The movie opens up on a house party which is soon invaded by a gang that I will probably see again when I watch Turkish Mad Max. They are looking for somebody and they aren’t going to leave even when one of the people tells them to “get out you fuckers!!!” There’s a fair amount violence here before it cuts to a pair of panties on a woman. She just turns and leaves the room where a guy comes in, wakes a guy up, and kicks him to death.

Now comes one of the oddest scenes in the movie. A lady who is in several of these Turkish movies is driving a car with a child and an old man. They come across what appear to be dead bodies. But then they get up and come towards the car after them. And by come after them, I mean they totally act like zombies.

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The only reason I know they weren’t actually zombies is because the leader of that gang finally calls them off of her. It’s the weirdest thing in this movie. You keep wondering are they trying to rape her or literally take a bite out of her. It’s not clear what was going on in this scene even after you find out they’re not zombies.

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After the camera gets knocked on it’s side…

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and she introduces this guy’s chest to a branch…

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we cut to Cüneyt Arkin playing this movie’s Rambo named Riza. He is being walked in handcuffs by two soldiers. They try to help out. It leaves her free to show up later in the film, and Riza to do the leave town scene from First Blood. But first, we are introduced to the main villain of the movie.

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Best I can figure is that he comes from Riza’s military past, is a bit of a gangster, and has a personal grudge with Riza. I think Riza was involved with the death or maiming of his son or someone he cared for, which is why he was being taken to court. It’s also why his gang seemed to be trying to eliminate any witnesses that could derail the upcoming court case for him.

Now Riza is walking down the road and passes the gang. They tell him to leave and he doesn’t. In fact he walks behind them as they drive away and seems to be able to walk as fast as they can drive. They turn around, but the way it’s done it does make it look like he magically transported in front of them. Now they take him to some ruins. This is when we get some of those glorious subtitles.

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Then they beat him. This is the equivalent to the scene in First Blood where they pull the razor out to shave him and Rambo flips out. This scene is actually done quite well as it cuts from Riza tied up and cut in flashback to them beating him in the present, while a shot of his unflinching face is zoomed in on.

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Arkin is pretty intimating and you know these guys are in trouble. Then this happens.

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He breaks free and apparently there is a heavily forested area nearby. They follow him into the forest and we do the whole jumping off the cliff thing. It cuts him up, but he’s fine. He’s Cüneyt Arkin. The man punches rocks.

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See! He’s fine. He just got hit by some ketchup on the way down. Now we meet this movie’s Colonel Trautman.

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He is trying to deal with the villain of the movie who isn’t listening. The guy tries to tell him he has hundred of witnesses, but Trautman says witnesses are for sale. It doesn’t matter what he says because this guy says “Riza was convicted and he is outlaw now.”

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After emerging from leaves and rolling from one part of the forest into another, he kills and eats a crab that is stock footage one minute, then actually there.

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Next we meet this guy who isn’t happy with Riza as you can see. I’m not sure if he is supposed to be the son of the bad guy who he said was dead or is just somebody else who is angry with Riza. Regardless,

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To which the guy responds “I have to see his carcass clad. I’m a dead, everybody will die!”

Now Riza finds himself in a cave that I’m pretty sure is Superman’s lair from The Return Of Superman. The director of that film was even involved in the production of this movie. Guy still has an unfortunate first name. Especially when this film is introduced in the opening credits as a Kunt Film.

Anyways, after angry no arms and legs guy kills a guy with a bomb and Riza cuts something off his skin with a knife, the film really starts to get manic with it’s editing. Riza is digging in, Trautman is beginning his search for Riza, and the gang head into the forest some more to get themselves killed. I know The Cinema Snob review of this already mentioned it, but seriously, sometimes it does look like Cüneyt Arkin is posing for the epic soundtrack.

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Meanwhile, more bad subtitles.

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Now that Riza has a walkie talkie, they start to try and reach out to him, but he basically ignores them. He hears someone and throws the knife and pins the girl from the beginning of the movie against a tree. After unpinning her we get a scene that rivals Black Widow being captured for what felt like three minutes in Avengers: Age Of Ultron (2015).

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Riza just walks up that tiny little incline, but she seems to be having all the trouble in the world. You’d think she has something wrong with her leg or something that could explain this, but I didn’t catch anything. She was standing before, and stands up the second he gives her his hand. I get why we see her bathe in a river though. She’s beautiful and she could use a little wash after the attack at the beginning of the film. Then she gets out of the water and walks over to Riza and the epic music kicks in. It’s hilarious. Think he’s going to do anything about it. Nope. It just cuts to her dressed and they eat. There’s a lot of sudden cuts in this movie.

Time to go back to the bad guy who does a great job playing a really deliriously angry man who wants Riza dead. That, and more hilarious subtitled lines.

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To borrow from The New York Dolls song Stranded In The Jungle: Meanwhile, back in the jungle. Riza is wearing a bush, then we cut to the girl in the caves. It’s supposed to be rain on the outside of the caves, but it sounds more like some monster is scratching at the walls to come and get her. That, or rocks falling from the sky. But then Riza shows up and suddenly those effects go away. Now they try some more to get in touch with Riza on the radio. Then he and the girl have a brief exchange in which we find out some more about Riza.

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It’s all clear to me now. Actually he does go on to say “a war between good and bad but who is the good?”

At this point, it’s basically non-stop action. So let’s just do some highlights.

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Now the bad guys have Riza and the girl corned in a cave. They bring in a bulldozer, a giant hammer, and explosives to try and kill him. It does kill her, but Cüneyt Arkin of course emerges from the rubble.

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He now does this mad run where he slits the throats of each person he meets basically without stopping.

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They try to drive away, but you can’t escape Cüneyt Arkin. He’ll just grab onto the car, which he does. Then he has a final battle with the gang leader.

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Now Riza just has the big bad guy to deal with and the maimed guy. Riza just shoots the bad guy in the head after giving him some parting words. Then we finally learn what this armless and legless guy’s problem is with Riza.

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Riza and this guy were fighting in a desert with the camera on it’s side. The guy got ahold of some water, drank it, then ran into a minefield. The guy tries to blow him up, but Riza figures it out and it’s the guy who blows up instead. With everyone dead, Riza is apparently a free man now, and he walks away from the townsfolk and Trautman.

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He truly became “honoured wild blood.”

Nothing I can say about this can do it justice. I’ve seen The Cinema Snob review numerous times and even it doesn’t do it justice using actual clips from it. You’ve got to see it to believe it. It’s so much 80s action fun. Also, it’s honestly pretty well put together. It does a great job of keeping the crazy pace and that soundtrack will periodically kick in to give you dose of adrenaline. Whether you find it with subtitles or not, just see it.