8 items from 2011
Graphic murders meet 70s Italian chic, in a film that exemplifies the Giallo horror genre that become so popular under the helm of director Dario Argento, amongst others. The Cat O’Nine Tails is released on Monday for the first time on Blu-ray, read on for our review…
The Cat ‘O Nine Tails, Dario Argento’s second feature as director, stars James Franciscus (Beneath the Planet of the Apes; The Valley of Gwangi), Karl Malden (On the Waterfront; A Streetcar Named Desire) and French actress and singer Catherine Spaak (Hotel, La Ronde) in a classic Giallo tale that begins when a break in at a genetics lab leads to a spiralling vortex of bloody murder. Strange circumstances surrounding the crime pique the interest of a journalist (Franciscus) and a blind crossword compiler (Malden) whose sharp ears have overheard talks of blackmail. However, all those assisting the would-be investigators in their »
- Stuart Cummins
In all the advertising for Jon Favreau's blockbuster Cowboys & Aliens, the latter element of the provocative title is presented in larger type, thus suggesting the current ascendancy of one genre over the other. Among the dozen or so listed producers are a pair of directors – Steven Spielberg, who has been behind a string of sci-fi movies, and Ron Howard, who has made two ambitious westerns, one rather good, the other a distinct failure.
Based (not surprisingly) on a graphic novel, the picture stars Daniel Craig, a stranger both to the west and to sci-fi, and Harrison Ford, who made his name in the Star Wars movies but came a cropper with his only big-screen western. They play a couple of gun-toting hardmen in post-civil war New Mexico territory, the stamping ground of »
- Philip French
Director Jon Favreau would like Cowboys and Aliens to be the chocolate and peanut butter of Summer movie blockbusters, but let’s be real here -- it’s just peanut butter. And not even the good kind, but the lumpy, salty “100% all-natural” kind that your grandparents buy in plastic tubs. For those still hungering for a satisfying Cowboys and Fill-In-The-Blank mash-up, I have the remedy. Consider The Valley of Gwangi the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups of films in which cowboys interact with things that cowboys don’t usually interact with (see also: Cowboys and Robots in Westworld, Cowboys and Fred Ward the Time Traveling Biker in Timerider). The Valley of Gwangi stars James Franciscus as Tuck, a rogue in a traveling Wild West...
From the titular Mighty Joe Young to Medusa and the Kraken from Clash of the Titans, YouTube user Mat Bergman has put together a four and a half minute compilation of every Ray Harryhausen animated creature in feature films, presented in chronological order. I have included the list of films taken from Harryhausen.com and placed them below the video, but you can visit that link if you would also like the names of each creature.
The films included are: Mighty Joe Young (1949), The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953), It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955), The Animal World (1956), Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956), The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958), The 3 Worlds of Gulliver (1960), Mysterious Island (1961), Jason and the Argonauts (1963), First Men in the Moon (1964), One Million Years B.C. (1966), The Valley of Gwangi (1969), The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1974), Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977) and Clash of the Titans (1981).
Thanks to Roger Ebert for the heads up. »
- Brad Brevet
Ray Harryhausen is 91 years old today.
Last summer, I went to an exhibit displaying some of the collected works of Ray Harryhausen, an honest-to-goodness cinematic legend. On tables and in display cases and on the walls were the actual, tactile artifacts from a career creating and animating iconic creatures, monsters, and various other flights of fantasy. There’s a creative buzz that lives in these things, something that’s wholly absent from so many of today’s digital creations. I suspect this comes from the meticulous care, energy and effort put into their creation by their master, Ray Harryhausen. To this day, that liveliness pops off of them – honest; you can kinda feel it when you’re in their presence — and it still and will forever show on screen.
Today, Ray Harryhausen, the inspiration for an entire generation of filmmakers (including most, if not all, of our gurus), turns another year older. »
Assuming you have a humongous front door or outstanding insurance, Thursdays in June will be good night to pull your car into the living room, park it in front of your flatscreen, turn the channel to TCM, and try to relive the golden age of drive-in monster movies as TCM is loading its schedule this month with nothing but classic old school monster movies.
As if Turner Classic Movies wasn't already a fantastic channel as is (they're airing the 1977 Jaws with claws cult classic Grizzly this Friday at 2:00 Am Et), every Thursday in June they'll be running all-night Atomic Age monster movie marathons. From Godzilla to Harryhausen, from classics like The Thing from Another World to not-so-classics like Creature from the Haunted Sea to bad movie greatness like The Giant Claw... Here's TCM's own press release:
It came from the drive-in! The al fresco movie theater, a rage of the 1950s and '60s, »
The resuscitation of the classic western genre seems to occur whenever it's fused with another genre, producing dissonant hybrids, intriguing for their anachronistic elements. These hybrids seem to negate the threat mumbled through clenched teeth that, "There's just not room enough for both of us in this here town." Whereas with Cowboys & Aliens Jon Favreau has pursued the "science fiction western"--following on the outlaw trail of such steampunk narratives as Wild Wild West (1999), Back to the Future III (1990) and the ridiculous but oddly entertaining The Valley of Gwangi (1969)--the category of the "weird west" is even richer in representation, ranging from Billy the Kid vs. Dracula and Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter (both released in 1966), through Ravenous (1999), The Burrowers »
Italian shock-meister Dario Argento’s (Deep Red) 1971 chiller The Cat O’Nine Tails has been available on a handful of DVD and VHS labels over the years, but Blue Underground is the outfit that’s finally releasing it on Blu-ray on May 31.
When a simple robbery at a research institute leads to a series of brutal murder, a blind puzzle maker (Karl Malden, The Cincinnati Kid) and a tenacious reporter (James Franciscus, The Valley of Gwangi) begin their own investigation of the crimes. With nine different clues to follow, they uncover a shocking web of twisted genetics and dark sexual secrets that set them up as targets of for killer and ultimately Presented uncut and uncensored in a new high-definition transfer, Cat O’Nine Tails, Argento’s second feature film, is the movie that secured his international reputation as “The Italian Hitchcock.”
The Blu-ray carries a list price of $29.98; it »
8 items from 2011
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