There’s a lot of good stuff amongst the last 10 movies I’ve watched but I’m going to take a moment to stump for the byNWR site. So far, I’ve watched two of the three films included in the site’s first volume and they are weirdly fascinating in the trashiest of senses. Both films declare themselves by very odd ellipses. The Nest of the Cuckoo Birds commences with a barely depicted infiltration of bootlegging operation and then quickly sidesteps into dreamy psychodrama of Southern hospitality gone terribly wrong; while Hot Thrills and Warm Chills centres around an unseen heist but prefers sleazy sex scenes and topless belly dancers on the one hand and period Mardi Gras footage on the other. It could all seem rather icky except byNWR takes it very seriously, providing a bounty of other content that unpacks the secret histories of these rare films and explores their odd themes through complimentary works. byNWR is for Criterion admirers waiting for more John Waters, Arrow Video fans of Spider Baby and Pit Stop, and devotees of Something Weird Video. And did I mention that it’s all free?
- Michelle Wolf: Nice Lady (Neal Brennan, 2017)
- Hot Thrills and Warm Chills (Dale Berry, 1967)
- Demons (Lamberto Bava, 1985)
- LA 92 (T.J. Martin and Daniel Lindsay, 2017)
- Isle of Dogs (Wes Anderson, 2018)
- Doom Asylum (Richard Friedman, 1987)
- The Nest of the Cuckoo Birds (Bert Williams, 1965)
- White, White Storks (Ali Khamraev, 1966)
- Wanda (Barbara Loden, 1970)
- Beyond the Black Rainbow (Panos Cosmatos, 2010)
To be honest, I’m feeling pretty guilty about the lack of activity here at MMC! but things are swamped right now here (moving and merging homes takes a lot of effort!) and I am working on a series of posts that marks the return of imagined Eclipse sets to the blog – MME! baby! Look for those posts coming up in the next week or so (hopefully).
With a lot of discs in storage, we’re left watching things on demand or working through some TV series we’ve been neglecting. Shout out to Gravity Falls (Alex Hirsch, 2012-2016), which has proven to be just the smart, fun, quirky show we’ve needed right now. If you’re like us and you’ve missed this series but love Adventure Time, Rick and Morty, Steven Universe, Over the Garden Wall, and The Amazing World of Gumball, then Gravity Falls should be you’re next screening.
Sure, there have been a lot of announcements of late – Criterion, Arrow, Shout Factory, etc. – and they’re all great, but what I’m really excited about and what has revived “Trailer Tuesday” at MMC! is the launching yesterday of Nicolas Winding Refn’s free subscription website byNWR!
byNWR calls itself “an unadulterated cultural expressway of the arts” and describes its organization as follows:
Born from a passion for the rare, the forgotten and unknown, byNWR breathes new life into the culturally intriguing, influential and extreme.
Quarterly volumes of content divide into three monthly chapters, each featuring a fully-restored film. These cinematic revivals inspire a wealth of original content, drawn together by our special Guest Editors. As we evolve and expand, we will encourage exploration of a wide range of avenues by curators, writers and the engaged public, building a community of those who like to create, to watch, to read, look or listen. In a world of the instant, byNWR takes its time on a tangential line towards the undiscovered…where we share, enjoy, and look to the future–with hope, prosperity, and the idea that culture is for everyone.
Every now and then, things get a little bit hectic but MMC! isn’t falling apart.
The truth of the matter is that things are piling up a bit now. MMC! has been a little quieter of late and I expect that will continue as July closes with me attending a 4+ day film festival and much of August will see my attention focused with a family move. More important to MMC!, I’m also working on a larger than usual proposal that celebrates the return of the Criterion Collection’s Eclipse sets with … an imagined Eclipse set. While I won’t be totally absent over the next few weeks, MMC! will probably slow down but good things are on the horizon. Thanks for sticking around dear readers (both of you).
Forever might not start tonight, but it should start pick up in the near future.
Designed for the film lover in mind, SHOUT SELECT shines a light on films that deserve a spot on your shelf. From acknowledged classics to cult favorites to unheralded gems, SHOUT SELECT celebrates the best in filmmaking, giving these movies the love and attention they deserve.
YOU’RE LYLE FROM DALLAS, RIGHT?
Dead tired and flat broke after driving 1,200 miles, Michael Williams (Nicolas Cage) walks into a local tavern in the dusty town of Red Rock, Wyoming, and is immediately offered a job. There’s only one problem: the bar owner (J. T. Walsh) thinks Michael is a hitman and the “job” is murdering his wife (Lara Flynn Boyle). And just as Michael decides to take the money and skip town without killing anyone, the real hitman (Dennis Hopper) arrives ready to do the job right. Recalling Blood Simple and other classic thrillers of the ’80s and ’90s, Red Rock West is a stylish and cutthroat neonoir full of jealousy, murder, greed, and corruption and where your best friend is a loaded gun.
- NEW HD Film Transfer
- Audio Commentary With Director And Co-Writer John Dahl
- In Conversation: Nicolas Cage And John Dahl
- Lyle From Dallas: Remembering Dennis Hopper
- In Conversation: Dwight Yoakam On The Soundtrack
- Original Theatrical Trailer
- Image Gallery
These last ten films I’ve watched are a fun collection of titles. I actively avoid most of Wonder Boys‘ cast but still love that film. O Brother remains a perfect case of fans getting a film ahead the critics and takes on added resonance in the current political landscape. Watching Zach Galifianakis recite Burt Reynolds lines in The Campaign is stupendous, seeing Snoop Dogg cover one of my favourite hip hop tracks in Old School is magical, and every moment of Sam Rockwell in Gentlemen Broncos is proof of divine power at work in our daily lives.
- Wonder Boys (Curtis Hanson, 2000)
- Aventurera (Aberto Gout, 1950)
- The Campaign (Jay Roach, 2012)
- O Brother, Where Art Thou? (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2000)
- Old School (Todd Phillips, 2003)
- Red Rock West (John Dahl, 1993)
- Gentlemen Broncos (Jared Hess, 2009)
- Inflatable Sex Doll of the Wastelands (Atsushi Yamatoya, 1967)
- Mad Monster Party? (Jules Bass, 1967)
- A Fish Called Wanda (Charles Crichton, 1988)
Yet for as unusual a film as was Inflatable Sex Doll of the Wastelands (think a Suzuki-esque, free-jazz hitman film with problematic, Wakamatsu-like erotica), the real winner for cinematic wildness was Aventurera, a Mexican melodrama/film noir/musical/revenge film starring Cuban rumba queen Ninón Sevilla. Anyone looking for impossible musical numbers, chiaroscuro, mute henchmen, infidelity, fallen women, ping-pong, back-stabbing, and fruit-inspired stage costumes should run to see this and free me of my periodic use of italics for emphasis!
HORRIBLE MUTATION IN ONE EASY-TO-TAKE SUPPLEMENT!
In the Melbourne suburb of Homesville, the residents of the Pebbles Court cul-de-sac enjoy their middle-class comforts unaware that they participate in experimental testing of a “dietary supplement” called Vimuville. Suspicions are raised by a mysterious man who crashes his car into their small community but no one sees the unearthly tentacles that erupt from the man’s gaping neck wound and force their way down his throat. Soon after, the folks in Pebbles Court quickly find themselves deforming, mutating, and exploding in hilariously frightening ways that involve living mucous, rib removals, killer placentas, giant tongues, exploding erections, collapsing craniums, cannibalism, and BODY MELT!
Co-written and directed by Philip Brophy of the experimental rock group → ↑ → and featuring the gory special effects magic of Braindead‘s Bob McCarron, Body Melt is a splatstick classic in the spirit of early Peter Jackson, hailed by Quentin Tarantino as “the best movie of its kind since Re-Animator” and “the best Australian film of the ’90s.”
SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS:
- 2K Remastered High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
- DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- Audio commentary with writer-director Philip Brophy, writer-producer Rod Bishop, and producer Daniel Scharf
- Audio commentary with Brophy discussing his score for the film
- Making Bodies Melt, the making of Body Melt
- Salt, Saliva, Sperm and Sweat, Brophy’s 1988 experimental short film
- Behind-the-scenes featurette
- Complete storyboards
- Stills gallery
- Original trailer
- FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Australian film critic Adrian Martin and Philip Brophy’s 2004 article on the film’s making