'Streets of Vengeance' Blu-ray: Awesome Homage to Trashy Fare of USA Up All Night & Debbie Rochon Films
Olive Films aptly takes us to camp with the July 24, 2018 Blu-ray release of "Streets of Vengeance." Olive captures the tone of of "Vengeance" in describing it as "a throwback to the gritty action-thrillers of the '80s." The bonus fun comes via this Slasher//video joint being presented in the format of a fictional basic cable show that is just as cheesy and tawdry as the real "USA Up All Night" that gave trashy films new life on weekend nights from 1989 to 1998. One difference is that the graphic sexual and violent content remains intact this time.
A more modern modern reference is to the oft-hilarious and always perverse films of 21st-century scream queen Debbie Rochon.
The brilliance of "Vengeance" is that ipurposefully making a twisted bad film elevates otherwise pure trash into an awesome guilty pleasure. An example of this is the phrase "choke on your own cock" not just being an expression this time. The only surprise is that the central vigilantes do not have a targeted misogynist suck a bag of dicks.
The larger reference thus time is to the mother of all bad movie showcases "Mystery Science Theater 3000." The best brains behind that '90s basic cable series spare intentional garbage by limiting their selections to movies that the filmmakers believe to be good.
"Vengeance" opens with porn star Mila on the verge of hanging up her G string at the same time that the San Francisco slasher is killing women who use their sex appeal to pay the bills,
A retirement party (sans gold garter belt) for Mila ends badly when a cult member grabs her outside the venue and brings her to his lair. This male chauvinist pig makes the common mistake of film villains by telling Mila of the cult objective of ridding the world of women who tease and otherwise abuse men with their slutty behavior. Suffice to say two damaged individuals enter, one porn actress leaves.
Mila subsequently initially teams up with muscle, who essentially acts as the pimp of the all party-girl army that Mila assembles to take back the street corner. In true revenge-film style, this battle of hos v. bros amps up in a manner that puts Mila on the radar of the cult leader, who is connected with a man for whom the battle is particularly personal.
This leads to the inevitable battle royale that leads to the inevitable mano-a-womano showdown between the cult leader and Mila. Suffice it to say this time, Mila shows that her stiletto-heel boots are made for more than walking.
Olive further enhances the "Vengeance" experience with a feature-length making-of film and a bushel of other Blu-ray extras. These include cast interviews, a blooper reel, a music video, and several trailers.
'Stay Hungry' Blu-ray: TFB Jeff Bridges & Body Builder Schwarzenegger Unlikely Friendship in '70s Era Gym
The Olive Films October 31, 2017 Blu-ray release of the 1976 dramedy "Stay Hungry" by Bob Rafelson of the counter-culture classics "Five Easy Pieces" and "Head" hits the trifecta of being a perfect example of the urban gritty comedies of the era, bringing this Golden Globe winning acting debut of Arnold Schwarzenegger back to life, and showing that some things never change in reel or real life. Having numerous future well-known members of the B List in supporting roles is a terrific bonus.
Jeff Bridges stars as 20-something trust fund baby Craig Blake, who experiences a severe existentialist crisis in the wake of the sudden death of his parents. He is fairly literally rattling around alone in the family mansion on the "hill" outside Birmingham, Alabama.
The effort of Blake to define himself and to meet the directive of his uncle that he perform a useful function in life prompts working for unscrupulous Birmingham real-estate developer Jabo (Joe Spinell of the "Godfather" trilogy). The assignment that Blake has no choice regarding accepting is to be a strawman in a transaction in which he buys a run-down gym and then sells it to the company of Jabo to facilitate a construction project.
Blake subsequently integrates himself in the life of the gym to the extent of befriending very odd aspiring Mr. Universe Joe Spano (Schwarzenegger) and pursuing a romance with gym receptionist/former Spano squeeze Mary Tate Farnsworth (Sally Field). These relations with working-class folks get Blake thinking about his own lifestyle and prompt second thoughts about facilitating the scheme to oust his new friends from their home away from home.
The adventures of Blake include getting in a bar fight and escorting Farnsworth to a country club event where a club friend (Ed Begley, Jr.) pursues her.
This mixing of classes in a manner that centers around blue blood dating blue collar is not the only similarity with the better-known (and more comedic) 1981 Dudley Moore/Liza Minnelli film "Arthur." Character actor Scatman Crothers plays long-time family servant William who reaches his considerable limits when Blake essentially makes Farnsworth the lady of the manor. Watching William literally take what he considers his due is hilarious.
Rafelson does a terrific job building up to the madcap climax; quirky middle-aged gym owner Thor gets very excited when Jabo brings him "masseuses" as an incentive to sell the gym, Farnsworth finds herself in related peril, and Blake becomes under attack as well. This leads to a hilarious version of the running of the bulls with just as much beefcake.
As mentioned above, the timeless themes of Wall Street driving out Main Street for fun and profits and the challenges related to the mixing of the classes make films such as "Hungry" timeless. The visual images are a little dated, but the messages remain just as powerful 40 years later.
Unreal TV 2.0 evolves from http://classictvdvdreviews.blogspot.com/ (which still is up.) Both sites are labors of love dedicated to preserving the golden and silver ages of television and film and celebrating new content that values art over commerce. The same principle applies regarding boutique hotels.