Tuesday, August 31, 2010

DVD Evaders: The Unholy Rollers (1972)

The Roger Corman produced THE UNHOLY ROLLERS skated unto the scene on November 10th, 1972. Produced on the cheap to rival Warner Brothers' own roller derby movie, The Raquel Welch starring KANSAS CITY BOMBER, Unholy ended up becoming more of a success... and ultimately a much more satisfying experience. Unholy's star, the devastatingly beautiful Claudia Jennings, turns in a dynamic and gritty portrayal of a woman trying to gain some respect in a sport which most dismiss or simply look at as a reason for eye candy. Claudia's trials and tribulations as Karen Walker are the central focus of the movie, and she really comes into her own with the role. She gets to kick a lot of ass, and even challenge our idea as an audience of what an attractive leading lady can be on the screen. She's not just a babe, she's a force to be reckoned with. Sadly this Corman production (side note: This was Martin Scorsese's first feature film editing job) from American International Pictures hasn't seen the light of day on DVD. But there's hope it will. Roller Derby is still very much alive, and with recent films like Drew Barrymore's Whip It getting heavy rotation on Cable, hopefully someone will get their act together to make it happen. It's so worth the ride.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Meep Pic Of The Week: Waking The Dead (2000)

Waking The Dead
A Gramercy Pictures Film
Original Theatrical Release Date: March 24, 2000
DVD Release: Yes

No, I'm not trying to sell you on some Zombie picture. Keith Gordon's Waking The Dead is an intense drama about love and loss from the novel by Scott Spencer (Endless Love)

What separates WAKING from the other dramas on the subject is Mr. Gordon's incisive directing and the great performances and chemistry of it's two leads (not to mention an excellent supporting cast) Billy Crudup and Jennifer Connelly are paired well together, even if their characters are meant to be complete opposites who find themselves attracted to one another.

Keith Gordon, once a fine young actor himself (Christine, Dressed To Kill, Back To School) knows how to get real honesty from his scenes between the actors, even in a movie that has it's leading character being haunted by the ghosts of his past. This is the kind of film you have to let yourself sink into, rather than just glossing over. For those up for the challenge, I think the payoff is well worth it.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Cinema Du Meep Recommends...

Here's a link to my good friend Myles blog, You Know, For Kids It's a perceptive and entertaining look into all things for kids... While keeping us adults happy, too. Recently he and his family went to the Drive-In, their maiden adventure recorded here... I'm glad they had a good time. The Drive-in's may have been something of this country's past, but thankfully there are those who are keeping it very much alive. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Expendables (2010) And my favorite Action Films Of The Last 10 Years

The Expendables exploded onto the screen and for it's entire running time it makes absolutely no apologies. This is action movie Shangri-La and Sylvester Stallone, 35 years after Rocky, can still kick your ass.

This time, Stallone pairs with a bunch of action heroes past and present to save a South American country from a maniacal dictator and something far more evil... Eric Roberts. The plot is virtually inconsequential because let's be real, aren't we here for elaborate fights, explosions and macho mayhem? The Expendables delivers all of that and more. In between the copious amounts of action there is actual characterization and laughs.

Although Stallone has retrofitted his picture to fit into a more modern, over-the-top style, he never forgets what makes a movie work. This movie has multiple bodies of baddies being torn into two, but it also has some heart. Mickey Rourke gives a surprisingly eloquent and moving speech and Jason Statham a bad, but funny bout of poetry. Stallone's own personal hero, Edgar Allan Poe, isn't turning over in his grave... He's waiting to high-five these dudes in heaven.

The Expendables would fit nicely high up on my list of Action films of the last 10 years. Here are my other favorites:

Also of note:

Redbelt (2008)
Taken (2009)
Live Free Or Die Hard (2007)
Crank (2006)
Undisputed (2002)
Collateral (2004)
The Proposition (2005)
Casino Royale (2006)
Rocky Balboa (2006)
The Hunted (2003)
Exit Wounds (2001)
Battle Royale (2000)
Plus... The Fast & The Furious series (2001-2009)
...except for John Singleton's 2 Fast 2 Furious. That one was terrible.

A special nod to the sci-fi's & genre mash-ups:
Doomsday / Star Trek / GrindHouse / Pitch Black / Hollow Man / Minority Report

Fun Action Comedy send-ups:
Cop Out / Tropic Thunder / Hot Fuzz

Crackerjack action by way of horror movie:
George A. Romero's Land Of The Dead

And I'm looking forward to 2010's:
Machete / Red

Monday, August 16, 2010

Meep Pic Of The Week: Certain Fury (1985)

Certain Fury  
A New World Pictures Film  
Original Theatrical Release Date: March 1st, 1985
DVD Release: No :(

An Updating of The Defiant Ones, starring Fame's Irene Cara and Paper Moon's Tatum O'neal. Make no mistake about it, New World Picture's CERTAIN FURY is more of an exploitation picture than a sincere mismatched buddies on the run picture.

The movie's tagline "Two Academy Award Winning Stars... In the one motion picture that hurtles them from innocence - to fear - to rage!" Should tell you all you need to know. It's a lot of wacky fun. That's if your idea of fun is shoot outs with cops and in courthouses, crazy run-ins with deadly pimps and of course, heroin dens. This movie has it all... And a pretty good score, too.

Directed by the man who brought you Jake & Maggie... Stephen Gyllenhaal (He also wrote 1985's other exploitation goodie THE NEW KIDS)


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Women In Prison Pictures Of The 1980's

This post is dedicated to my grandmother. She was many things to me, but she was also an avid fan of exploitation cinema and the now labeled Women In Prison sub-genre.

  1980: 1981: 1982: 1983: 1984: 1985: 1986: 1987: 1988: 1989:
If you've gotten this far you've survived! Lord knows how I did after being subjected to way too many of these. However, Chained Heat, Vendetta, Reform School Girls and Purgatory are pretty choice.

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