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Ma (Blu-ray)
Oh, um, excuse me, ma'am. Uh, would you mind buying some booze for me and my friends? We've got money and everything.

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Psssht. Ma (Octavia Spencer) won't just hook you high schoolers up with all the Fireball you can guzzle. I mean, she was young once, and she gets it: there's not a whole hell of a lot more to do in this one-Starbucks-town than get plastered. Still, if you're going to suck down liquor by the gallon and puff-puff-pass, Sue Ann's at least going to do what she can to make sure you get home safe. Sue Ann – you can call her "Ma" – offers up her basement for parties, far from the watchful eyes of overprotective parents. She just has a couple of rules. Someone's gotta stay sober to do the whole Designated Dave thing. And do what you gotta do in the basement, but upstairs is her domain, so...yeah, off limits. But it's cool. All these kids are happy to abide by the Two Commandments. Sue Ann definitely doesn't have some kind of demented ulterior motive. Everyone's safe and snug and...[read the entire Blu-ray review of Ma]


Alice, Sweet Alice (Blu-ray)
Ugh, Karen (Brooke Shields). She got the good looks in the family. Everyone dotes on her seemingly without end. Hell, Karen's even about to receive First Communion – veil, gloves, dress, and all. It's an experience her older sister Alice (Paula Sheppard) was deprived of, thanks to the headaches of their Catholic parents' tumultuous divorce a few years back. On what's supposed to be among the most memorable days in her sister's life, Alice wastes no time seizing the spotlight for herself in front of the entire church, tongue out and waiting for that Eucharist. And Karen...?

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Karen never receives Communion.

The young girl is strangled just out of view of untold hundreds. Mass is interrupted as her lifeless body is lit ablaze. And it doesn't go unnoticed that Alice all of a sudden is wearing her sister's veil. Others who cross Alice are soon attacked as well, but this twelve year old insists that she's not to blame – it's Karen.

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Like The Exorcist and Don't Look Now before it, Catholic rites and imagery are inextricable elements of the film. The debt owed to what is arguably Nicolas Roeg's most enduring film goes further still: a daughter lost at far too young an age, a parent howling with grief, a recurring colorful slicker, the shocking reveal of a withered face (though utilized here to very different effect, and while everyone's still very much alive), and even aspects of the final and most gruesome murder. And this isn't merely a filmmaker latching onto perceived cinematic trends; producer/director/co-writer Alfred Sole was himself Catholic, and the film he intended to be titled Communion was produced shortly after he was reportedly excommunicated from the Church.

Though Halloween wouldn't define the template for the slasher...[read the entire Blu-ray review of Alice, Sweet Alice]


Day of the Outlaw (Blu-ray)

"My tongue's salt dry for whiskey. We took that Army pay wagon. We fought hard...shot our way out. For what? To sit around on our butts like this was Sunday school?"
"Captain, you ain't lettin' nature take its course. Men don't act like you make us act here. We've got this town under our thumb, but we ain't gettin' no pleasure out of it."
"Two more days like this is going to seem like two more years. Maybe not even you can keep us in line, Bruhn."
"I gave my word to the people of this town."
"Why? To make you look big and us little?"
"Maybe you better answer, Bruhn."
"You'll drink, fool around, then kill each other over these women. I'm a-ridin' out of here at daybreak with six men."

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To whatever extent this stark, punishingly cold stretch of land in Wyoming has been tamed, it's owed in large part to the sweat and suffering of cattleman Blaise Starrett (Robert Ryan). And where has it gotten him? Farmers – soft men, in his estimation – like Hal Crane (Alan Marshal) have seized it all from him. They've claimed Bitters for themselves...all of a day or two away from enveloping it in barb wire. More painful still, Crane has taken the woman he loved (Tina Louise). There will be a reckoning, and no doubt remains which of the two men will walk away victorious and which will have his blood spilling out onto the frozen earth below. Helen even offers herself to Blaise, trading her dignity if only he'll spare her husband's life.

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A picture of what follows is, perhaps, forming in the minds of those who haven't yet experienced Andre De Toth's Day of the Outlaw. And indeed, the foundation for a compelling Western has been established: cattleman versus farmer, a love triangle from which Helen cannot extricate herself, and an effectively...[read the entire Blu-ray review of Day of the Outlaw]


More reviews...

Stuff I've Watched Recently

  • 9/21: The VelociPastor (Hdtv)
  • 9/20: Hook (Uhd)
  • 9/17: Tall Girl (Hdtv)
  • 9/15: John Wick 3: Parabellum (Uhd)
  • 9/15: Overlord (Uhd)
  • 9/12: John Wick: Chapter 2 - 4K Ultra HD (Uhd)
  • 9/12: John Wick (Uhd)
  • 9/9: Django the Bastard (Blu-ray)
  • 9/8: Star Trek Beyond (Uhd)
  • 9/7: Star Trek Into Darkness (Uhd)
  • 9/6: Star Trek (Uhd)
  • 9/5: Night on Earth (Blu-ray)
  • 9/3: Annihilation (Uhd)
  • 9/2: Booksmart (Hdtv)
  • 9/2: Elevator to the Gallows (The Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray)
More of my boring video log...
 
Movies I've Acquired Recently

  • 9/20: Pan (Uhd)
  • 9/20: Hook (Uhd)
  • 9/12: John Wick 3: Parabellum (Uhd)
  • 9/12: Overlord (Uhd)
  • 9/9: John Wick (Uhd)
  • 9/1: Star Trek Trilogy: The Kelvin Timeline (Uhd)
  • 8/24: Ma (Blu-ray)
  • 8/21: Apocalypse Now Final Cut (Uhd)
  • 8/11: The Other Side of Midnight (Blu-ray)
  • 8/11: Hold Back the Dawn (Blu-ray)
  • 8/11: The Buster Keaton Collection: Volume 2 (Blu-ray)
  • 8/11: Blind Date (Blu-ray)
  • 8/11: Broken Flowers (Blu-ray)
  • 8/11: The Green Inferno (Scream Factory) (Blu-ray)
  • 8/11: Black Moon Rising (Blu-ray)
More stuff I've bought or been sent to review...


 
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