Marneen and I took in a Saturday afternoon screening of CAPTAIN MARVEL. Overall I'd probably rank it amongst the lower rung of the Marvel movies, Goose the kitty was one of the genuine highlights and I thought he had more personality than the film's star, Brie Larson, who is OK in the role but rather bland and certainly not as fun or charming as the likes of Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman) or Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow). The film does have some nice moments, including Samuel L. Jackson as a much younger Nick Fury (de-aged via CGI) and its 1995 setting gives it the opportunity to not only utilize a soundtrack featuring tracks by Hole, Garbage and No Doubt (as well as Heart and Lita Ford) but reference the likes of Blockbuster Video and slow-speed dial-up. It was also nice to see the late Stan Lee get one of his better and more amusing cameos (I figured this would likely be his last appearance in the Marvel movies but apparently he filmed several cameos prior to his passing that are still yet to be utilized).
Friday, March 15, 2019
Very excited to announce that fellow Melbourne-based film historian Lee Gambin and myself will be providing the audio commentary for the upcoming Blu-ray release of this infamous 1966 horror western hybrid from the notorious William "One-Shot" Beaudine, one of the most prolific, interesting and misunderstood directors in Hollywood history. Arriving in June from the fine folks at Kino Lorber Studio Classics!
Friday, March 1, 2019
Now posted over at Diabolique, my look at Ian Cooper's excellent new book, a study of films and television shows directly about, as well as those clearly inspired or influenced by, the infamous Manson Family cult crimes of August 1969.
One of the first things I noticed while re-watching NIGHTWING (1979) this afternoon is just how wonderful the film's score by Henry Mancini is - moody, dreamy, melodic and dramatic with haunting wind instruments to make it reflective of the movie's Native American heart.
Like John Frankenheimer's PROPHECY from the same year, NIGHTWING was a late entry in the 70s "eco-horror" craze that used the issue of Native American land rights as the topical backbone on which to grow their genre ingredients. Interesting to note the different angles they take: in PROPHECY the horror is borne from technology and "progress" (chemicals leaking into the river from a nearby paper mill), while in NIGHTWING it's the more "traditional" curse placed by the aging "Medicine Man" figure, who was usually represented cinematically as possessing some form of supernatural mystique.
I wish some of the vampire bat sequences were better, many of the effects look pretty rushed, though the climactic image of the burning bats was effectively surreal and beautifully composed. A nice couple of lead performances from Nick Mancuso and Kathryn Harrold and solid support from David Warner (essentially playing a similar character to his one on THE OMEN three years earlier, though swapping his camera for vampire bat detection equipment and suffering not so gruesome a fate). The film also makes good use of the stunning New Mexico desert locations. Watching movies like TARANTULA (1955) and GARGOYLES (1972) on late-night TV when I was a kid definitely helped me develop an appreciation for genre films set in the American desert.
A sneak peek at my article on Jim Jones-inspired cinema, one of two pieces I wrote for the latest issue of THE SLEAZY READER, a special true crime edition (my other article is on vintage Manson-related tabloids and magazines). THE SLEAZY READER #8 is now out and available from Amazon.
Very happy and excited to see that my recent article on BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES (1970), which appeared in issue #11 of WENG'S CHOP, has been nominated for a 2019 Rondo Award in the Best Article category! Thanks to Tony Strauss, Brian Harris, Tim Paxton and all the others involved in WENG'S CHOP for accepting the article for publication.
In addition, SIN STREET SLEAZE has once again been nominated for a Rondo in the Best Website/Blog category, as has the first volume of the Cinemaniacs Journal, IF ONLY I HAD A BRAIN, for which I contributed chapters on the Batman villain The Scarecrow, as depicted in the 1960s/70s animated cartoons and in BATMAN BEGINS (2005) and its two sequels.
Check out the Rondo Awards website at the link below for a full list of nominees and voting instructions!