Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Bucket List (2007)

Director: Rob Reiner

Writer: Justin Zackham

Composer: Marc Shaiman

Starring: Jack Nicholson, Morgan Freeman, Sean Hayes, Beverly Todd, Rob Morrow, Alfonso Freeman, Rowena King

More info: IMDb

Tagline: When he closed his eyes, his heart was opened

Plot: Two terminally ill men escape from a cancer ward and head off on a road trip with a wish list of to-dos before they die.

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again?  Maybe.

What a great story with equally great performances from Nicholson and Freeman, especially Nicholson.  You'll laugh and you'll cry...and you'll laugh again.  The skydiving scene still has me in hysterics.  If you haven't seen it yet, I won't tell you how much time you spend in the hospital before the adventure begins. Once they're out, it's a wild, fun and sweet ride.  Another thing I dug about this is that it didn't always go in directions you're accustomed to seeing in the typical Hollywood movie.  The ending didn't go down the way I was thinking, either, and I'm glad.  This is the last starring role for Nicholson unless he comes back from retirement, and it's a great one to go out on.  He's such a wonderful presence.  Great direction from Reiner, too.  It's been a very long time since I saw one of his pictures.  I should remedy that.  The Warner Bros. DVD has a nice anamorphic widescreen print but is sadly lacking in extras.  All you get (besides the DVD-ROM stuff which I never check out) is a 4 minute piece with Zackham on writing the screenplay and a music video from John Mayer.  Yeah, that's it. 

Slave Girls from Beyond Infinity (1987)

Director: Ken Dixon

Writers: Richard Conell, Ken Dixon

Composer: Carl Dante

Starring: Elizabeth

More info: IMDb

Tagline:  Big Movie. Big Production. Big Girls.

Plot: Lovely and resourceful Daria and Tisa escape a space gulag only to crash land on a nearby world where a guy in tight pants named Zed is playing The Most Dangerous Game. Zed turns the girls and another guest loose in his jungle preserve to serve as the prey in a mad hunt. Armed only with knives and their wits, the girls must battle their way across the jungle to a hidden arms cache before Zed catches and kills them.

My rating:  5.5/10

Will I watch it again? No.

You know what's fun?  Giving dialogue loaded with technical jargon to attractive women for whom the acting bug hit them a few minutes ago and hasn't had time to take hold and spread.  I tell you what, from the first few seconds from the start I was really impressed by the music and I was thinking that it could be James Horner but more likely Basil Poledouris.  Nope, it's Carl Dante, a name I'm not familiar with but I'll be checking out more of his work.  Good score for this one and it's better than the picture probably deserves.  The acting is on the weaker side but the filmmakers clearly knew what they were going for and it works.  This is yet another re-telling of THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME () but the setting is on another planet that looks just like ours.  Convenient, right?  Where could they have found such a planet?  Fortunately we've got these two gals to keep us company...

There's even a nice nod to the original film...

You can tell everyone was having fun with this and that goes a long way in the audience enjoying it, too.  The sets are pretty good (considering the film's low budget) and the effects are a lot better than you'd expect.  The acting and cheesy dialogue are the weakest parts but, again, that might be part of the fun.  Besides, they had the sense not to pad this out to make it feature length.  It's only 74 minutes long and 3.5 minutes of it is end credits.  You've got 70 minutes, right?  Fans of B-movies will dig it.  The Cult Video DVD really only has trailers for extras.  There are 7 and they're all fullscreen.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Some Came Running (1958)

Director: Vincente Minnelli

Writers: James Jones, John Patrick, Arthur Sheekman

Composer: Elmer Bernstein

Starring: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Shirley MacLaine, Martha Hyer, Arthur Kennedy, Nancy Gates, Leora Dana, Betty Lou Keim, Lary Gates, Steve Peck, Conie Gilchrist, Ned Wever, Carmen Phillips, Marion Ross, William Schallert

More info: IMDb

Tagline: From the bold, new novel by the author of "From Here To Eternity"

Plot: Dave Hirsch, a writer and army veteran, returns to 1948 Parkman, Indiana, his hometown. His prosperous brother introduces him to Gwen French, a local teacher. But the more flamboyant Ginny has followed him to Parkton, where he also meets gambler Bama Dillert. Dave must come to terms with his roots and with his future.

My rating:  7/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

Here's an early film for a few of the Rat Pack (MacLaine was an honorary member).  Sinatra is doing his usual 'weight of the world on his shoulders' self, Martin is his usual 'happy go lucky' self and MacLaine is her usual spirited, fun self.  And there's no a thing wrong with any of them.  They're great. The story has some of that potboiler drama stuff but the actors help move it along.  Elmer Bernstein's great jazzy score is another big piece of the equation except for the lush theme that's all but a copy of one of the themes Gustav Holst wrote for his Planets suite.  The character I didn't care for (and she's supposed to be that way) is Gwen (Hyer), the former and again love interest of Dave (Sinatra).  If she'd just get that stick out of her ass and talk to Dave...ugh.  I guess there wouldn't be much of a movie.  The ending is kind of a downer but I'm glad it went there instead of a sappy happy one.  Still, it's fun hanging out with Sinatra, Martin, MacLaine and Phillips and their gamblin' and drinkin' exploits.  Man, what it must've been like hangin' out with those cats back then.  Geez. 

Monday, December 28, 2015

Somewhere in the Night (1946)

Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Writers: Howard Dimsdale, Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Lee Strasberg, Marvin Borowsky, W. Somerset Maugham

Composer: David Buttolph

Starring: John Hodiak, Nancy Guild, Lloyd Nolan, Richard Conte, Josephine Hutchinson, Fritz Kortner, Margo Woode, Sheldon Leonard, Lou Nova, Whit Bissell, Jeff Corey, Harry Morgan

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Meet That Guild Gal...She gives as Good as She Gets!

Plot: George Taylor returns from WWII with amnesia. Back home in Los Angeles, while trying to track down his old identity, he stumbles onto a 3-year old murder case and a hunt for a missing $2 million.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

Ever heard of actor John Hodiak?  Me neither.  It looks like he was doing a lot of B pictures until his death in '55 at age 41.  Judging from this film he probably wasn't likely to work in A films.  His acting is pretty stiff.  All I have to go off of is this picture.  He's not horrible or really all THAT bad but he's somewhat monotone.  That could partly due to the role.  His co-star and love interest, Nancy Guild, is even worse.  She's the Lauren Bacall the studio could get.  Fortunately the cast is helped by the addition of Richard Conte and a few familiar faces like Sheldon Leonard, Whit Bissell, Jeff Corey and Harry Morgan.  The story isn't too shabby except that it's way too long at almost two hours.  It feels even longer with the two stilted leads.  The film did a pretty good job at keeping my interest enough to want to know who George Taylor (Hodiak) was and what the hell was going on.  It's not rocket science wrapped in mystery but then it is better than your average 40s crime thriller. The 20th Century Fox DVD has some extras in the way of the theatrical trailer, a commentary track with film noir historian Eddie Muller and trailers for THE STREET WITH NO NAME, WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS and NO WAY OUT.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Smile (1975)

Director: Michael Ritchie

Writer: Jerry Belson

Composer: ???

Starring: Bruce Dern, Barbara Feldon, Michael Kidd, Geoffrey Lewis, Eric Shea, Nichalas Pryor, Titos Vandis, Paul Benedict, Wiliam Traylor, Dennis Dugan, George Wyner, Joan Prather, Denise Nickerson, Melanie Griffith, Annette O'Toole, Maria O'Brian, Colleen Camp, Caroline Williams, Kate Sarchet

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Raised on hamburgers and soda pop, She's got a winning smile that's hard to top. A credit to her family, the ideal teen, She's America's daughter, she's a beauty queen.

Plot:  It's time again for California's "Young American Miss" beauty pageant, the biggest event of the year for Big Bob Freelander and Brenda DiCarlo, who give their all to put on a successful pageant. But Brenda is having marital difficulties and Bob's son is up to some mischief. Could this year's pageant be in jeopardy?

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

This flick has a lot of fun with beauty pageants at the expense of not just those performing in them but those who work behind the scenes.  The cast is great and they're a lot of fun.  One of the funniest bits was one of the girls singing Delta Dawn.  She's so so bad and it's uproariously funny.  You'd think that the story would stay focused on the goings on of the pageant but it takes a strange turn away from all of that and deals with a strange club Big Bob (Dern) belongs to where members, upon turning 35, have to kiss a dead chicken stuffed with whipped cream.  And the members are dressed in white sheets looking like the KKK.  One of their members works for Big Bob and is married to Brenda (Feldon) who is managing the pageant.  They have some domestic trouble that culminates with a gunshot.  It's at this point that we've been far removed from the pageant for quite a while.  Once we're back to the show it feels like the film is on track again.  It's a strange departure that doesn't work, making the picture feel disjointed.  Fortunately we get some laughs (but not with the diversion) and some nudity courtesy of Camp and Griffith (among others).  Yay!  Overall it's a generally fun film despite the diversion.  A second viewing might make that one section better to understand but I doubt I'll ever see it again.  The MGM DVD delivers a nice but non-anamorphic print and the sole extra is the trailer, also non-anamorphic.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

It's a Disaster (2012)

Director: Todd Berger

Writer: Todd Berger

Starring: David Cross, Julia Stiles, Rachel Boston, Kevin M. Brennan, America Ferrera, Jeff Grace, Erinn Hayes, Blaise Miller, Jesse Draper, Laura Adkin, Rob McGillvray, Todd Berger, Will Coleman, Helena Wei, Jared Sosa

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Are you prepared?

Plot: Four couples meet for Sunday brunch only to discover they are stuck in a house together as the world may be about to end.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again?  Nah.

This is an odd but likable little picture.  It's completely confined to the inside of one house and a lot of use is made of it, especially considering the USA is being attacked.  It's amusing but there are some good laughs thrown into the mix.  I liked the characters, the performances are good and I really liked Julia Stiles (I think for the first time...I thought she was wooden in DEXTER).  One thing that worked for my money was how their problems were much greater than the unknown of what's going on in the world outside. The ending is hysterical.  I say give this one a look.  The Oscilloscope DVD has a few extras like a commentary track with the writer/director Berger, Cross, Brennan and Grace, a behind the scenes featurette (10 minutes), a 2012 Comic-Con panel (23 minutes - it's for other stuff but they talk about this picture), 3 short films by the same crew (as The Vacationers - the films are GOOGLE MAPS, JULIA STILES STYLES and EXCUSE ME (all 2-3 minutes each), the theatrical trailer and trailers for 4 other Oscilloscope releases.

Friday, December 25, 2015

The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard (2009)

Director: Neal Brennan

Writers: Andy Stock, Rick Stempson

Composer: Lyle Workman

Starring: Jeremy Piven, Ving Rhames, James Brolin, David Koechner, Kathryn Hahn, Ed Helms, Jordana Spiro, Tony Hale, Ken Jeong, Rob Riggle, Alan Thicke, Charles Napier, Jonathan Sadowski, Noureen DeWulf, Wendie Malick, Craig Robinson, Will Ferrell, Gina Gerson

More info: IMDb

Plot: Used-car liquidator Don Ready is hired by a flailing auto dealership to turn their Fourth of July sale into a majorly profitable event.

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

Talk about a surprise.  This is funny as shit.  I'd heard only bad-to-mediocre things about this picture but the cast alone wasn't going to keep me from watching it.  I laughed my ass off.  I thought for sure after the first few minutes they couldn't keep the gags coming so fast and funny but they sustained that drive for at least a solid half hour.  It was relentlessly fun.  Then the slower middle section hits but there are still lots of funny stuff going on.  Everyone on Don's (Piven) team is hilarious, especially Babs (Hahn).  She needs to have my babies.  Fuck that woman is funny...and hot!  Charles Napier (in his last feature film role) was a fucking riot as the WWII vet/car salesman and Will Ferrell's extended cameo had me in stitches when he comments on the falling dildos.  I'm pretty picky when it comes to comedies so when it came out, it was getting some really bad press.  IMDb has a user rating of 5.8/10 and the Rotten Tomatoes  score is at 27%...not good.  I loved it and it tickled me to pieces.  I'm buyin' what they're sellin'. Sadly, the Paramount DVD I've got has only an anamorphic widescreen print of the film with the only extras being 3 non-anamorphic trailers for other films.  That's it.  I'd love a commentary track by the cast and crew. 

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

Director: J.J. Abrams

Writers: Lawrence Kasden, J.J. Abrams, Michael Arndt

Composer: John Williams

Starring: Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong'o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Max von Sydow, Peter Mayhew, Gwendoline Christie, Simon Pegg, Warwick Davis, Tim Rose, Mike Quinn, Michael Giacchino, Daniel Craig

More info: IMDb

Tagline:  Every generation has a story.

Plot: Three decades after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, a new threat arises. The First Order attempts to rule the galaxy and only a rag-tag group of heroes can stop them, along with the help of the Resistance.

My rating: 7.5/10  UPDATE: 12/29/15 - 8/10

Will I watch it again?  Yes.


I liked it.  I didn't love it but I liked it.  It's a lot of fun but I have a lot of issues with it.  Some of the things I didn't like were the countless references to the '77 film.  The biggest problems being the huge similarities in the story...a droid carrying valuable information, a new Death Star (of sorts) which is bigger and more dangerous, a desert planet, a snow planet and so on.  The more I thought about those glaring issues the more the film felt less original.  It's almost a soft re-boot.  While I don't like having my hand held when telling me a story, I also don't think that you should have to think too much to connect the dots for a Star Wars picture.  I assume we'll find out in the next film (or two) Rey's lineage and more of Ren's background but this film had the vibe that someone dropped the needle in the middle of a song without any context.  How much of a coincidence was it that Han was right where his ship was outside of the planet?  That's a minor issue but there's a lot of that kind of little shit that adds up. Hell, what the fuck's up with Captain Phasma being such a tool and doing next to nothing?  I've listened to the CD soundtrack twice and I'm shocked at Williams' lack of good, new themes.  It's his weakest score for the franchise...and I LOVE Williams to pieces.

I'm done bitching.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Harrison Ford in this.  He's having more fun than I've seen him in decades.  If there's an MVP for this film, he's it.  Hell, the characters are one of the best things about this picture.  I really liked Rey, Finn, Poe and so on.  I liked Ren, too, but his character needed more fleshing out.  Han's death left a bad taste in my mouth and not for why you'd think.  The film hadn't earned it yet.  It should've been pushed to the next film.  It's easy for me to say that but I don't know what they've got in store for the next one.  His death was another instance where more time should've been spent in dealing with Ren's relationship with Han and Leia.  I know why he did it (it's not that hard to figure out) but it also requires more, "...well he probably killed him because of blankety blank".  That happens a lot in this film.  Shit, I said I was done bitching.

The humor worked for me every time.  I laughed my ass off.  Color my ass shocked at that.  The pacing was lickety-split fast, too.  Once Han Solo shows up the picture just flies like mad to the end.  I really had a good time with this despite my complaints.  Yeah, I wanted more than what this delivered but it's a damn sight better than the prequels, it looks and feels like it belongs to the original trilogy and it's a lot of fun.  I'm definitely going to see it again soon, hoping it'll be better the second time.  The first time was IMAX 3D which was great.  The next one will be lowly 2D.   I'm really going to miss Han.  Stupid writers.

UPDATE 12/29/15:  The second viewing proved even better.  Most of the issues I had with Rey, even Finn and Han were cleared up.  Han dying still feels too soon but it's easier to take the second time around.  I still don't like that there's another Death Star which makes it 3 similar devices in 4 movies (films 4-7) but it was easier to take this time. 

UPDATE 1/12/16:  I just saw it for the third and last time in the theater.  This time I watched it in D-Box (motion seats and my first D-Box experience) and it was fun.  The Death Star thing bugs me less and less now and I'm now enjoying the film more which is a good thing.  Is Poe gay?  I hope so.  It doesn't make any difference but I started to get that vibe this time.  It'd be cool to have a gay character in Star Wars besides C-3PO.  I didn't laugh at all of the jokes this time but some of them are still just as funny as the first time.  "Oh, really, you're cold?"  Hilarious. 

Boot Hill (1969)

Original title: La Collina Degli Stivali

Director: Giuseppe Colizzi

Writer: Giuseppe Colizzi

Composer: Carlo Rustichelli

Starring: Terence Hill, Woody Strode, Bud Spencer, Lionel Stander, Eduardo Ciannelli, George Eastman, Glauco Onorato, Alberto Dell'Acqua, Nazzareno Zamperla

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Where Nobody Died of Natural Causes

Plot: Honey Fisher has become a powerful man in this small Western town that has grown up around gold-prospecting fields. Fisher and his gang have managed, through swindling, murder, and terror, to gain leases on the important gold-yielding land in the area. A state commissioner comes to town to review the leases, which are crucial to Fisher's power. Cat Stevens and Hutch Bessy join forces with circus performers and townsfolk led by Stevens' friend Finch to fight against Fisher and his henchmen.

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again? Maybe, but only if I get a better print.

If you come into this expecting a Terence Hill/Bud Spencer Trinity film (as I did many years ago) you will be sadly disappointed.  Those two hilarious pictures wouldn't come around for a few more years.  But if you come into it as just another Spaghetti Western then you might dig it.  I don't know what the obsession was with some filmmakers in the 60s and putting circus performers in their Spags but you can add this one to the list.  At least this film has the traveling circus an integral part in the story, and a good one at that.  Most of Hill's films (from the early 70s and on) were lighthearted family films so it's really strange seeing him in such a serious role and dubbed by someone else with a deeper voice.  Spencer, I think, is dubbed by the same guy who did all of his English dubs in the 70s and 80s.  Woody Strode is a badass and he brings some kickass weight to the picture.  All of these guys were great but Eduardo Ciannelli easily towers above them in acting skills as Judge Boon.  He's amazing to watch.  I'd like to see his scenes in Italian (with his voice).  Even dubbed you can tell this guy was an excellent actor.  He died the year this film was released but not without leaving behind a tremendous body of work.  The story is decent but there are some strange moments that don't sit well.  The biggest is near the end when a certain someone is shot and killed by Fisher (Buono) and Cat Stevens (Hill) immediately and emotionless tells him that now he can be convicted of murder.  He doesn't seem to care one bit that his good friend was just murdered.  Overall the film isn't as polished as it should've been but Colizzi put together a very watchable film.  The Wild East DVD satisfied me a decade ago when I bought it but not any longer.  The non-anamorphic widescreen print is on the dark side and dirty.  It's watchable but I've since discovered (AFTER I just watched the damn thing) a pristine anamorphic widescreen print.  Ugh.  I guess I'll watch it in another ten years.  The only extra is the non-anamorphic widescreen trailer. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Defector (1966)

Original title: L'espion

Director: Raoul Levy

Writers: Robert Guenette, Raoul Levy, Paul Thomas, Montgomery Clift, Peter Francke

Composer: Serge Gainsbourg

Starring: Montgomery Clift, Hardy Kruger, Roddy McDowall, Macha Meril, David Opatoshu, Christine Delaroche, Hannes Messemer, Karl Lieffen, Uta Levka

More info: IMDb

Tagline:  Slowly, fantastic shapes begin to appear on walls.  Then strange sounds - water dripping - muffled sobs and then a beautiful woman moves towards Bower's bed.  And then a voice..."kill Bower!"

Plot: American scientist James Bower (Clift) is approached by CIA agent Adam (McDowall) who wants him to perform an official mission while visiting East Germany. A Russian scientist who has defected to Germany has brought with him a cache of top-secret material on microfilm, and Adam wants James to retrieve it from one Dr. Saltzer (Messemer). However, James's secret plan is discovered by Peter Heinzman (Kruger), a Russian intelligence agent determined to keep the microfilm out of American hands and turn James against his American comrades.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

There was a point halfway or so in where I was ready for this to end but I always stick it out and I'm glad I did.  The final act beginning with Bower's (Clift) escape is fantastic.  The dialogue is considerably less than the rest of the film and it's exciting and suspenseful.  Then there's the turn of events for Heinzmann (Kruger).  This French/West German spy flick has a lot more going for it than against it.  The performances are very good and whenever Roddy McDowall is on screen he's a breath of fresh air.  His voice brings warmth to a cold story.  No exaggeration.  Montgomery was looking pretty rough for a man of 45 but he had a reason.  He was sick and would be dead three months after shooting the picture.  The director would follow a few months later but by his own hand.  As I mentioned the acting is very good.  For as much as I like the fantastical Bond picture, I really enjoy the more realistic side of spying like the excellent THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD (1965).  East Germany during this period feels like it was a very bleak place and THE DEFECTOR plays on that.  The locations used are very grey and similar giving it a cold look and feel.  When you add that kind of environment to a slow-paced film it's a good recipe for boredom and that happens a bit here but it sure picks up with that last twenty minutes.  Oh, boy!  The Warner Bros. Archive Collection DVD has a great looking anamorphic widescreen print with no extras. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Slasher (2004)

Director: John Landis

Starring: Michael Bennett, Christin Ackerman, Emily Banks

More info: IMDb

Plot: A documentary on a stereotypically shady used car salesman, one who convinces customers to buy vehicles that others have deemed unfit for sale.

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again?  Nope.

In the past year I've seen a few movies (comedies) about the car industry and I've been diggin' 'em.  If you need a reason to do your homework before buying anything that's going to cost you a substantial amount of dough, watch this first.  There wasn't anything in it that surprised me tactic-wise but it's a fun look at a shitty-ass industry (from a customer POV).  The Slasher, (Bennett), seems like a nice guy but he's always on in the film, talking a million miles an hour. I realize they squeezed a week's worth of shooting material into about an hour an a half but after a while his energy started to drain me.  It doesn't help that the sales weekend didn't meet anyone's expectations.  The best parts were seeing the excitement of the customers who got their cars for $88 (a promotion the dealership was running) and nudity.  That's right, titties!  Bennett goes to a titty bar and all the girls on on display.  I sure as fuck didn't expect that in a documentary on used car salesmen.  Oh, a young girl's parents who ended up winning a car for $88 took it home to her and the girl was far from amused.  She looked like she'd just been kicked out of college and her life was over.  It's a practically free car that runs and there are fucking cameras in your face...fake it.  The pacing is pretty brisk with frequent departures from the big sales event.  The biggest surprise is that this was directed by John Landis.  I wonder if the DVD has any extras.  I just love listening to that man talk.  He's got a lot of energy, too, but he's almost always excited and passionate about what he's there for.  

Monday, December 21, 2015

Slaughterhouse-Five (1972)

Director: George Roy Hill

Writers: Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Stephen Geller

Composer: Glenn Gould

Starring:  Michael Sacks, Ron Leibman, Eugene Roche, Sharon gans, Valerie Perrine, Holly Near, Perry King, Kevin Conway, Friedrich von Ledebur, Ekkehardt Belle, Sorrell Booke, Roberts Blossom, John Dehner, Gary Waynesmith, Richard Schaal, Gilmer McCormick, Stan Gottlieb, Karl-Otto Alberty, Henry Bumstead, Lucille Benson, John Wood

More info: IMDb

Tagline: He survived the deadliest day on Earth! To enjoy the sexiest night in outer space!

Plot:  "Listen: Billie Pilgrim has come unstuck in time." The opening words of the famous novel are the quickest summary of this haunting, funny film. Director Hill faithfully renders for the screen Vonnegut's obsessive story of Pilgrim, who survives the 1945 firebombing of Dresden, then lives simultaneously in his past as a young American POW, in the future as a well-cared-for resident of a zoo on the planet Tralfamadore, and in the present as a middle-aged optometrist in Ilium, N.Y.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

It's been probably 30 years since I last saw this and I remembered very little.  I've read a couple of Vonnegut's novels and I really enjoyed his unusual style.  S5 wasn't one of them but after seeing this again I'd kind of like to but I'm not exactly going to get in line to do it.   It's an odd film that takes Billy (Sacks) all over the place in time but within a (mostly) 30 year Billy bounces back and forth to a small pod (living quarters the size of a small living room) where he's being held by aliens (heard but unseen) but they give him the company of Montana (the scrummy Valerie Perrine).  From what I've read the novel is written as such that it leaves a lot of room for interpretation where whatever you think the reason might be for this 'unstuck in time' business is as good an explanation as any.  To me it feels like Billy surviving the Dresden bombing in WWII was so traumatic that it affected his psyche for the rest of his life and the planet zoo of Tralfamadore is a mental escape which makes more sense when the Hollywood starlet gets involved.  But then I'm not thinking about it too deeply.  That's just my surface opinion.  There is some humor and it's dark but there are a couple of laugh out loud moments.  What did I remember from seeing it 30 years ago that has become unstuck in time for me?

Hey, I was a teenager then.  Not much has changed for me I suppose.  The Image DVD has a nice and grainy anamorphic widescreen print and the only extra is the fullscreen trailer.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Ski Troop Attack (1960)

Director: Roger Corman

Writer: Charles B. Griffith

Composer: Fred Katz

Starring: Michael Forest, Frank Wolf, Wally Campo, Richard Sinatra, James Hoffman, Chan Biggs, Tom Staley, David Mackie, Skeeter Bayer, Wayne Lasher, Sheila Noonan, Roger Corman, Paul Rapp

More info: IDMb

Tagline: They Turned a White Hell Red with Enemy Blood!

Plot: An American patrol has to cross behind enemy lines by skis in order to blow up an important railroad bridge. The task is made harder by conflicts between the platoon's veteran sergeant and its inexperienced lieutenant and by constant attacks by pursuing German troops.

My rating: 4/10

Will I watch it again?  Nope.

On one hand I admire Corman for doing a lot with such a small budget.  This one must've been super cheap.  There's a surprising bit of action for a picture with such a small cast.  The snowy mountains makes the B&W photography even more black and white.  Corman makes use of stock WWII footage which is more than obvious from the quality of film stock.  Part of the problem is the limited amount of plot and action the characters are stuck with.  I normally dig Fred Katz's jazzy scores but here there's too much music (I'm sure he just wrote some cues and let Corman go to town) and it often doesn't fit the scenes.  Being only 62 minutes long is a blessing and a curse.  It's still too long.  A half hour in I was bored and I couldn't help but think how awesome it would be if our boys took out the Jerrys and a Yeti showed up to fuck their shit up.  THAT would be neat. It's odd seeing Frank Wolff look complete different as he did a few years later in THE GREAT SILENCE (1968).   If you're familiar with Corman's hit and miss record then you know how dull they can be when they miss. Add this one to the list.  The Alpha DVD has the film in fullscreen with zero extras as per usual with this budget label.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Carny (1980)

Director: Robert Kaylor

Writers: Phoebe Kaylor, Robert Kaylor, Robbie Robertson, Thomas Baum

Composer: Alex North

Starring: Gary Busey, Jodie Foster, Robbie Robertson, Meg Foster, Kenneth McMillan, Elisha Cook Jr., Tim Thomerson, Teddy Wilson, John Lehne, Bill McKinney, Bert Remsen, Woodrow Parfrey, Alan Braunstein, Tina Andrews, Craig Wasson, Fred Ward

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Where love is just another sucker's game.

Plot: Frankie (Busey) and Patch (Robertson) are best pals working in a traveling carnival. Everything's going just fine until Donna shows up.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again? Nah.

I've known about this for more than 30 years.  Being a big fan of Alex North's music I've always been intrigued at his hiring to score the film.  It's an odd pairing but a lot of the score here works pretty well at times.  The cast does a great job and the atmosphere is thick with the carnival life which I really dig.  It's a good movie and I really dig the love triangle resolution as it doesn't go like a lot of movies would've done.  The real star of the picture is Busey.  He's fantastic.  Really.  There isn't much to really say more than this.  It's a good flick with a lot of good things going for it.  The Warner Bros. Archive Collection DVD has a nice anamorphic widescreen print and the only extra is the fullscreen trailer seen above.  It'd be great to get Busey, Robertson and Foster in a room for a commentary track.  

Friday, December 18, 2015

Lost in La Mancha (2002)

Directors: Keith Fulton, Louis Pepe

Writers: Keith Fulton, Louis Pepe

Composer: Miriam Cutler

Staring: Jeff Bridges, Terry Gilliam, Tony Grisoni, Philip A. Patterson, Rene Cleitman, Nicola Pecorini, Jose Luis Escolar, Jean Rochefort, Miranda Richardson, Christopher Eccleston, Johnny Depp

More info: IMDb

Tagline: They've got a story...but have lost the plot.

Plot: Terry Gilliam's doomed attempt to get his film, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, off the ground.

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again?  Probably not.  Twice was fine.

I REALLY dig Gilliam and his work.  I want him to succeed at everything and to get what he needs to keep making wonderfully creative pictures.  This documentary does its best at simply being there when everything that can go wrong does go wrong with Gilliam at the center like a circus ring master trying to keep the show going during a hurricane.  It's hard not to feel for the guy when massive setbacks happen that are completely out of his control.  It's one thing if someone fucks up or is the root of the problems but this film was plagued with one disaster after another.  They were just days into shooting the movie (not the documentary) when the plug was pulled on the project altogether.  Sadly it's Gilliam who is the only one who has seen the finished film (countless times but only in his mind).  It's another potential Gilliam masterpiece left unsung.  How many movies have to die before someone stands up and does something about it?  Fuck climate change.  Give this man anything he wants.  Just don't sacrifice allotting money to the space program to do it.  It would be great to see what Gilliam could do with everything at his disposal, money be damned. 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

6,000 Enemies (1939)

Director: George B. Seitz

Writers: Bertram Millhauser, Wilmon Menard, Leo L. Stanley

Composer: Edward Ward

Starring: Walter Pidgeon, Rita Johnson, Paul Kelly, Nat Pendleton, Harold Huber, Grant Mitchell, John Arledge, J.M. Kerrigan, Adrian Morris, Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams, Arthur Aylesworth, Raymond Hatton, Lionel Royce, Tom Neal, Willie Fung, Helena Philips Evans, Esther Dale

More info: IMDb

Plot: A tough prosecutor who has sent dozens of criminals to prison finds himself framed on a bribery charge and winds up in prison himself.

My rating:  6/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

Talk about ridiculous.  I can't imagine much of anything in this picture happening in the real world especially when it comes to prison.  A D.A. gets framed and sent to a prison where there are thousands of men he prosecuted over the years.  Yeah, right.  While there he gets to go to the neighboring women's prison to fix the plumbing.  Uh-huh.  He fights in a formal boxing match with a prisoner tasked by the mob boss to kill him.  He loses the fight but he goes the distance, taking beating after beating, earning the respect of the thousands of men who want to kill him.  Yup.  I should give it a 5 but it was entertaining and it didn't fall into boredom once.  The big prison riot at the end is expertly edited and harsh.  The ending is super abrupt and happy but there are some nice moments in this quickie.  It's only 62 minutes long which helps.  It's not all that bad but I can't imagine anyone voluntarily watching this more than once.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Sins of Rome (1953)

Original title: Spartaco

Director: Riccardo Freda

Writers: Maria Bory, Jean Ferry, Gino Visentini

Composer: Renzo Rossellini

Starring: Massimo Girotti, Ludmilla Tcherina, Yves Vincent, Gianna Maria Canale, Carlo Ninchi, Vittorio Sanipoli, Carlo Giustini, Umberto Silvestri, Teresa Franchini, Renato Baldini, Nerio Bernardi, Cesare Bettarini, Darix Togni

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Mighty Spectacle Drama!

Plot: 74 B.C. Spartacus, a young officer in the Roman Empire, is condemned to be a slave. Brought back to Roma in a gladiators' school, he escapes and stirs up all the slaves in a revolt against the Roman Empire.

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

It's not a bad picture about Spartacus' slave revolt but it sure feels awfully light and condensed.  The version I saw was a poor VHS quality print with an English dub that runs a mere 75 minutes.  Obviously you need more time to tell a story of this magnitude.  We only spend a few minutes with Spartacus in gladiator school and then it's off to free some slaves where the second half of the picture spends its time.  The acting is stagy and majestic; over the top by today's standards but par for the course back then and it being a Sword and Sandal (peplum) picture, it's completely justified.   I don't really hold that against it.  There are all kinds of things that could've made this better like seeing a longer cut, in the original Italian AND seeing a much cleaner, brighter print.  My rating is purely for what I saw.  Having seen SPARTACUS (1960) many times (and in super 70 in a theater - WOW!), it's really hard not to conjure up images of that film while watching any and every telling of the story that came before or after.  That film is magnificent and I doubt there will be a picture that will best it.  I'm getting off the path.  It was neat seeing a tale of Spartacus I'd never seen and one that pre-dates the 1960 one and made by Italians where they would soon rule the world a few years later regarding Sword and Sandal movies.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

12 O'Clock Boys (2013)

Director: Lofty Nathan

Writer: Lofty Nathan

Composer: Joe Williams

Starring: Coco, Pug, Steven

More info: IMDb

Plot: Pug, a young boy growing up on a combative West Baltimore block, finds solace in a group of illegal dirt bike riders known as The 12 O'Clock Boys.

My rating: 5/10

Will I watch it again? No.

It's hard to invest in someone (a character or, in this case, a real person in the way of the kid, Pug) when they're not likable.  I realize he's just a kid but he's one of those smart alec punk ass fucktards that thinks he's the baddest fart on the planet and he's not afraid to tell everyone.  You just want to smack him upside the head, repeatedly.  There's some bad parenting going on, too.  Not surprising, he kicks his dog in one scene.  His goal in life is to join this dirt bike gang called the 12 O'Clock boys.  All they do is ride around Baltimore in large numbers, endangering themselves and others while they speed around, performing stunts and tearing up the place.  Oh, I'm sure it's funner 'n' hell doing it but it's destructive and it wrongfully puts people in danger.  If this sounds like your bag, you're going to love this kid and everyone in it.  Me?  I'm done.  The Oscilloscope DVD comes with a video commentary which is essentially 4 selected scenes from the film with audio commentary from the director (21 minutes) which is weird why they called it a video commentary.  you also get some GoPro footage of the gang (3 minutes),  the trailer (anamorphic widescreen) and trailers for 4 other Oscilloscope films.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Out of Print (2014)

Director: Julia Marchese

Composer:Peter Marchese

Starring: Kevin Smith, Seth Green, Patton Oswalt, Edgar Wright, Rian Johnson, John Landis, Richard Kelly, Joe Dante, Clu Gulager, Joe Carnahan, Fred Dekker, Noah Segan, Lloyd Kaufman, Mark Romanek, Tom Holland, Stuart Gordon

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Directors. Dorks. Deviants. This ain't no Multiplex.

Plot: A documentary exploring the importance of revival cinema and 35mm exhibition - seen through the lens of the patrons of the New Beverly Cinema - a unique and independent revival cinema in Los Angeles.

My rating: 7.5/10

Will I watch it again? Maybe.

A couple of years ago I spent a few weeks in Los Angeles and I made The New Beverly Theater my second home.  I went every chance I had and saw quite a few classic movies there.  Tarantino owns it (who is surprisingly absent here, although he's mentioned) and he showed up for a surprise Q&A one night I was there.  Very.  Cool.  There were several filmmakers that would speak before or after a screening and it made TNB that much more special.  Entering the theater was like stepping back in time and I LOVED every moment I spent there.  This film covers the history of the theater but it goes beyond that and gets into the debate of digital versus film.  All I know is I would like to see more theaters like TNB out there, preserving the appeal of classic films but showing them in the way the filmmakers intended.  I've seen films on an 85" TV but nothing compares to seeing that same movie bigger than life in a theater but without the assholes you get going to the cineplex that really sour your desire to even go to the theater.  If you dig filmmakers talking about movies and shit like this then this is right up your alley.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Movie Movie (1978)

Director: Stanley Donen

Writers: Larry Gelbart, Sheldon Keller

Composer: Ralph Burns

Starring: George C. Scott, Trish Van Devere, Red Buttons, Eli Wallach, Harry Hamlin, Ann Reinking, Jocelyn Brando, Michael Kidd, Kathleen Beller, Barry Bostwick, Art Carney, Chalres Lane, George Burns

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Starring George C. Scott...TWICE!

Plot: Three movie genres of the 1930s are satirized in this spoof of the traditional double feature. In "Dynamite Hands" a delivery boy turns prizefighter in order to raise enough money for his kid sister's eye operation. Later, however, he turns his back on his father-figure manager and librarian girlfriend when he is distracted by a flashy gangster and sexy night club diva. Intermission has a coming-attractions trailer for "Zero Hour," a World War I aviation drama. In the second feature, "Baxter's Beauties of 1933" a Broadway impresario hears he has only a month to live and is determined to mount one more hit on the boards. When his drunken diva of a star cannot go on opening night, he finds that the ingénue he chooses to replace her is his long-estranged daughter, whom he has not seen since she was a girl. All three stories feature the same cast in repertoire.

My rating: 5.5/10

Will I watch it again? No.

The film opens with George Burns telling us he's not in the picture.  Classic.  EVERY movie should open with Burns.  The whole idea behind this picture is great and I'm for it 100% but the execution is all wrong.  It's rarely funny and it means to be hilarious.  The writing and some of the other aspects are spot on for emulating movies from the 30s.  Perhaps it would've worked better in black and white.  The performances are earnest but because nearly every joke falls flat it's hard to like it.   Both films (running at about 45 minutes each) succeed and fail in the same way and each feels like they're a full 90 minutes.  The biggest plus for the whole thing is not just seeing so many great actors fans of the era will recognize but the fake trailer in between the pictures is friggin' hilarious.  Scott is hamming it up (on purpose) and it's delightful.  There are some great laughs (albeit very few) in the dialogue but they're so few and far between that it was a chore to get through it which is a damn shame because I'm just the kind of cat this picture was written for.  I wanted to laugh my ass off but, instead, my ass was bored despite the talent that obviously worked very hard to make this picture.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Spy Who Loved Flowers (1966)

Original title: Le Spie Amano i Fiori

Director: Umberto Lenzi

Writer: Umberto Lenzi

Composers: Angelo Francesco Lavagnino, Armando Trovajoli

Starring: Roger Browne, Emma Danieli, Daniele Vargas, Marino Mase, Salvatore Borghese, Fernando Cebrian, Pilar Clemens, Tulio Altamura, Giovanna Lenzi, Yoko Tani

More info: IMDb

Plot: After retrieving an electronic device that can shut off the power of entire cities, a secret agent is assigned to eliminate the only 3 remaining persons who have knowledge of the device. His first two missions (in Paris and Geneva) are accomplished easily enough, but the third (in Athens, where the rest of the film is set) turns out to be more complicated. His target seems to be aware of his every move, and it is likely that there is a traitor within the agency.

My rating: 5.5/10

Will I watch it again? No.

 Lenzi's films are generally watchable and there are some really good ones in his catalog.  This one's mediocre and it's an average EuroSpy flick at the height of the James Bond craze but it's got its moments.  Granted, some of them are rather silly (intentional) like a quick swivel to machine gun a guy that comes out of nowhere.  The print I watched was a good but sometimes dirty (the way I like it) widescreen print.  That really helps sell the location shooting in Paris and largely Athens (nice!).  There are a lot of spies in this picture and there's a quick quip that gets tossed out near the end when things are looking bad when one of them says about another, "He's no James Bond.".  The actors all do a decent job but there's nothing in this picture that comes close to matching any of the Bond pictures of the era.  The EON Bond films were pretty much the best out there in every aspect.  The jazzy score is serviceable but it pops in and out at odd times which feels like somebody not the composer was responsible.  The dialogue is sometimes silly (unintentional) but then this isn't art we're talking about.  Besides all of that, the pacing is rather slow and the lack of really good music to help zip the picture along is obvious. I dig this genre and I'll go to my grave attempting to see every 60s EuroSpy flick (and Spaghetti Western and Krimi, etc.) even though I'm sure most of them are poor time killers. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

The Making of '...And God Spoke' (1993)

Director: Arthur Borman

Writers: Arthur Borman, Mark Borman, Greg Malins, Michael Curtis

Composer: John Massari

Starring: Michael Riley, Stephen Rappaport, Soupy Sales, Lou Ferrigno, Eve Plumb, Tamara Mello, Ashlie Rhey, Monique Parent, Lisa Comshaw, Daniel Tisman, Andy Dick

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The World Was Created In Six Days. It Was Beautiful. But It Was Way Over Budget!

Plot: A documentary on the making of a big budget Bible picture. This is a spoof that shows the inside action on a film set where everything that could possibly go wrong goes wrong.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again? No.

Pre-dating Christopher Guest's directorial mockumentaries, this picture has a lot going for it.  It's definitely got the look and feel of a documentary made on a film that's in production.  They did an outstanding job on that which includes the editing.  The performances are very good as is the casting, writing and so on.  The ONE thing that disappointed me was the laughs.  It was the kind of picture that I knew early on was going to be hilarious only it wasn't.  I laughed a little but as a whole, it was more amusing satire than laugh out loud funny.  It's possible that the filmmakers held back on the performances a little or the editing and so on in order to keep it more realistic. I don't doubt that a lot of this picture is based on real people and experiences in the film industry.  There are stupid people in every walk of life and profession but Hollywood seems inundated with people who desperately think they're creative but aren't.  I recommend checking this out.  It's definitely worth a look despite its shortcomings of lacking the gut-busters but it is fun and amusing in its own way.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Last Nazis (2009)

Directors: Dov Freedman, Charlie Russell, James Cohen

Composer: Richard Mead

Starring: Efraim Zuroff, David Morrissey

More info: IMDb

Plot:  This 3-part series examines the hunt for Nazi war criminals still at large and the children of a Nazi master race program called Lebensborn.

My rating: 6/10 (overall for the series)

Will I watch it again?  No.

There are three episodes that cover unrelated stories except that they have ties to Nazis and I guess you could say that the Lebensborn/Children of the Master Race episode fits in because the subjects were created by the Nazi state but I call it a cheat because they are not Nazis but innocent victims of the movement.  That episode is well made, informative and emotional and easily deserves a 8/10.  The rest don't fare nearly as well.  I was rather put off by the Most Wanted episode.  The smugness of the narrator, not to mention the bully-ish nature of the film crew and impatience get in the way of a better told story.  I'm guessing it's the young age of the filmmakers (that we see at least).  It doesn't help their case when painting these very old subjects as heinous war criminals.  Should they be punished? Absolutely but the style of filmmaking here leaves much to be desired.  And the end is anti climactic.  Overall, it's disappointing.  In the Hunt for Dr. Death, it gets a little better but Zuroff overplays it for the camera.  There was too much of him where that time could have been spent on the hunt for Heim or even more of Heim's background.  LIke Most Wanted, the ending is anti climactic which is only partially the fault of those making it for reasons I won't spoil.  In the case of both of these episodes, there is an initial almost promise of something big in store but it's never delivered.  It's currently on Netflix streaming and you're only looking at three hours for all three but I really on recommend Children of the Master Race as it's the best made and most interesting of the lot by a considerable margin.  You can see that episode below.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Soldier Blue (1970)

Director: Ralph Nelson

Writers: Theodore V. Olsen, John Gay

Composer: Roy Budd

Starring: Candice Bergen, Peter Strauss, Donald Pleasence, John ANDerson, Jorge Rivero, Dana Elcar, Bob Carraway, Martin West, James Hampton, More Mills, Jorge Russek, Aurora Clavel, Ralph Nelson

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The most savage film in history!

Plot: After a cavalry group is massacred by the Cheyenne, only two survivors remain: Honus, a naive private devoted to his duty, and Cresta, a young woman who had lived with the Cheyenne two years and whose sympathies lie more with them than with the US government. Together, they must try to reach the cavalry's main base camp. As they travel onward, Honus is torn between his growing affection for Cresta, and his disgust for her anti-American beliefs. They reach the cavalry campsite on the eve of an attack on a Cheyenne village, where Honus will learn which side has really been telling him the truth.

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

With Sam Peckinpah's THE WILD BUNCH (1969), the Western and the modern American film had grown up.  You could now graphically back up your message with spectacular violence.  SOLDIER BLUE does that in the last few minutes.  Heads, legs, arms, breasts are cut off, children murdered, women raped and American soldiers became the savages.  It's horrific to watch and powerful after all these decades later.  The film opens with a small military encounter with Indians which leaves all but one of the about twenty soldiers dead.  This solidifies Soldier Blue's (Honus Gent played by Strauss) opinion of the Indians.  It takes Cresta (Bergen) to educate him over the course of the film.  He doesn't buy what she's sellin' but it's too late when he realizes she was right as the climactic battle begins.  For most of the picture it's just a weird, late-60s take on the Western genre with Bergen giving an odd performance that feels far from real.  She's often slightly over-the-top.  The movie gets more political shortly after Cumber (Pleasence whose presence is delightful) shows up but he's not along for the ride for more than a few minutes.  The film starts to get a little darker until suddenly the shit hits the fan.  That shit hitting the fan battle is based on a real event, the Sand Creek Massacre, that's even more horrific than what Nelson delivered on film (although he does a great job conveying it and stretching the limits of visual horror).  Nelson tried to kick up the violence up a notch over THE WILD BUNCH and Roy Budd's (his first feature film) score has some strong hints at Jerry Fielding's score from TWB as well.  I'm not sure what the filmmakers were going for in having such a light film for most of the time.  Maybe it was to keep the audience off guard to make the end battle more effective.  It could be, and this seems likely, that at the time this was made we were at the height of the Vietnam War and Americans were going about their 'business as usual' daily lives, enjoying themselves while half a world away others were dying, the filmmakers were using this film to show how we Americans can also do hideous and despicable things and that it's not a John Wayne world after all.  I would go higher on my score if the first 80% of the film were taken more seriously.  It's just odd the way Bergen plays Cresta.  I watched the Kinowelt/Studio Canal version which leaves the battle violence uncut.  It's got a nice anamorphic widescreen print and the only extra is an anamorphic widescreen trailer.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

El Cid (1961)

Director: Anthony Mann

Writers: Fredric M. Frank, Philip Yordan, Ben Barzman

Composer: Miklos Rozsa

Starring: Charlton Heston, Sophia Loren, Raf Vallone, Genevieve Page, John Fraser, Gary Raymond, Hurd Hatfield, Massimo Serato, Frank Thring, Michael Hordern, Andrew Cruickshank, Douglas Wilmer, Herbert Lom

More info: IMDb


Plot: The fabled Spanish hero Rodrigo Diaz (a.k.a. El Cid) overcomes a family vendetta and court intrigue to defend Christian Spain against the Moors.

My rating: 8.5/10

Will I watch it again?  Yes.

I probably haven't seen this in over twenty years and that's a damn shame.  It's one of the better epic adventure films that came out of the 50s and 60s.  The scenery is beautiful, it's well cast and acted, the costumes are amazing and look like they've been well-worn, the story goes to places you might not usually think and this picture moves very nicely for going on for just over three hours.  I'd love to see this in a theater someday.  Wow.  EL CID also features one of the greatest film scores of all time.  Rozsa's themes and orchestration beautifully capture not only the mood but it fits the epic setting while retaining every bit of intimacy the characters earn.  It's absolutely splendid.  I need to dig up my soundtrack CD and put that sumbitch on my iPod.  Words can't do it justice.  It needs to be heard.  I'm sure there are plenty of tracks available on YouTube to listen to for hours.  One thing I really like is the direction the film takes.  El Cid (Heston) takes the honorable path and he makes it his own.  His choices are not the choices a lot of us would make but they are true to his character despite what pain they may inflict.  He's also a fearless badass and he's got Sophia Loren to come home to...when he comes home, that is.  Not a bad deal.  I'm sure the film plays pretty loosely with the facts but if you leave the film knowing that El Cid was a heroic warrior in Spain then that's what matters I suppose.  Check out the story of what happened after his death on the Wiki page.  Neat-O.  There is NO Blu-ray for this.  What's up with the fucking Weinstein boys that they can't be bothered with that?  I've got the 2-disc deluxe edition DVD which is great (and it's LOADED with extras...thank you) but it's about time this great film gets the high def treatment it deserves.