Category Archives: Video

Freak of the Week: Black Dynamite

Pastiche is what it is, and what it is has a tendency to overstay its welcome.  This trailer for Black Dynamite is a spot-on hoot, but we can’t help wondering if the joke wears thin after a few minutes.

Black Dynamite shows December 13 at the venerable New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles.

When They Were Young: Cannibal Girls

Twitch reports that a remastered Cannibal Girls will get the Blu-ray treatment.  Said film is an early exploitation effort by Ivan “director of great comedies/father of Jason” Reitman and features a young Eugene Levy.  No word yet if the disc will feature a bell to warn those of a prudish or squeamish nature when to look away.

Freak of the Week: Alice in Wonderland (1949)

This Saturday, Cinefamily in Los Angeles is showing a rarely screened version of Alice Wonderland featuring stop motion animation by Lou Bunin. It looks fun:

Why “rarely screened,” you ask?  Well, it’s a classic case of Disney co-opting a public domain story to the point that they think they own it.  Somehow Disney lawyers managed to bury this 1949 version in enough legal crap to suppress it and avoid competition with their own animated adaptation in production at the time.  Of course, this is not to say anything of how Lewis Carroll’s trippy tale had already been adapted five times prior.  See kids, Hollywood remakes are nothing new.  And neither is poor regulation of big business and disrespect of the public domain.

A Fear Too Beautiful To Resist!

by Tony Nigro

Nobuhiko Obayashi’s Hausu is my favorite cult film that I’ve never seen.  Recently, the indispensable Janus Films has been touring it theatrically and I’ve managed to miss every L.A. screening.  I can only hope the tour means a Criterion DVD or Blu-Ray release is imminent.  The newly subtitled trailer Janus posted today only reinforces that hope.

“HOUSE IS CALLING TO YOU COME BACK HOME AND MARRY ME.”  Enough said.  You had me at the disembodied fingers playing piano.

Be sure to also check out Midnight Eye’s recent feature on Obayashi, and one of his early, rather avant-garde short films.

Freak of the Week: Wapakman

by Tony Nigro

I’m going to be honest here.  I don’t care about boxing.  I do, however, care about aspiring politicians and superheroes because they are the people who make this world go ’round.  Manny Pacquiao happens to be both, with the latter aspiration on display in Wapakman.  So here’s to Pacquiao being the next Dwayne Johnson and learning from Schwarzenegger’s political missteps.  Maybe fighting a giant crab will even help his already stellar boxing career.

I’ll be honest about something else.  The bad aspect ratio of this trailer kills me like fake HD at a sports bar.  Someone please upload a corrected version, or offer me money to do it for you.

Cattle Call

by Lewis Manalo

This might be your kind of thing, but LEGS‘ short “I Wanna Be Your Dog” pretty succinctly illustrates why I stopped working as a talent agent’s assistant.

One wonders what Laura Mulvey would make of the masochistic exhibitionism that these actresses “portray”; however, if you’re familiar with Iggy Pop, the context of the film parallels his outrageous live perfomances, confirming the role of the cinema audience (and the viewer) as that of sadistic voyeur.

For my take on the mechanics of viewing (shameless plug!), see here.

Zombie 101 & Video Criticism

by Tony Nigro

A brilliantly realized zombie primer by Matt Zoller Seitz that astutely included George Romero’s The Crazies as a bridge to 28 Days Later and what he dubs “zombie-by-proxy” stories.

Along with Kevin Lee, Seitz is taking online film criticism in the right direction, using online video to elevate criticism above the print vs. blog roadblocks that have become all too commonplace.  (Another tremendous video entry by Seitz is the “Evolution of the Modern Blockbuster” series at The L Magazine.)

Here are some of my older (and less effective) entries on zombie film criticism: