Time for another round up of bitchin’ movies that I recommend you pick up. Let’s do this!!
The Rambler (Anchor Bay Films)-Holy hell, what a movie!! I’d been loosely following the progression of this film up through its run on the festival circuit. None of what I’d seen could have prepared me for the weirdness that rudely sexed my eyeballs. The Rambler stars veteran actor Dermot Mulroney as a newly-released con who’s on his way across the country in search of new employment on his brother’s pony ranch and a fresh start, following being kicked out of his trailer by his dysfunctional girlfriend (played by the painfully underrated and under-cast Natasha Lyonne!). This sets him onto the road far less traveled. The Rambler encounters beautiful women (in the form of True Blood’s Lindsey Pulsipher), seedy mad scientists who can record dreams through a crudely built machine, abrupt violence, dying towns, weird creatures and the underside of humanity.
If you’re looking for a truly fucked up movie-going experience, you needn’t look any further than The Rambler. It’s difficult to explain this movie to someone in the same way that Eraserhead is. It’s nothing you can properly describe in order to help someone visualize what’s happening. Instead, you’re best suited saying “Just watch it…you’ll see what I mean”. There are strange monsters, even stranger people and great gore effects that seem to take you even further outside of the surreal universe this movie creates. Mulroney delivers a stellar performance that will endear him to cult film fans for years to come. The Rambler feels like Homer’s Odyssey filtered through Lynch and Jodorowsky “WTF?!” stylings. The Sundance hype was justified on this one. Consider this highly recommended. (The Rambler is available now on Blu-Ray and DVD)
American Mary (XLRator Media) -It almost seems silly to explain to you that this one gets a Blood Sprayer seal of approval, whatever the hell that’s worth. Jen & Sylvia Soska are old buddies of the site and it’s with great honor that I tell you something you probably already know: This movie is fucking great. It’s something I had quite a bit of concern over. Not that I doubted their ability to churn out a killer movie, but with all the buzz surrounding this movie, and with how much I loved Dead Hooker In A Trunk, it worried me that American Mary wouldn’t live up to the standards the Soska’s set for themselves. Of course, that was a dumb fear to have. Storywise, AM approached the bulk of its story from a much different place than I’d anticipated it to. There’s definitely an air of body horror ala’ Cronenberg, but the Soska Sisters are plugged into modern social media in a way that allows them to be better informed on the backstreets of subculture. This lent itself to the turn American Mary takes in its second act. The narrative is fluid and moves at a perfect pace. If you’re worried about them losing their nasty edge, don’t be. The gross shit is here. It’s underground surgery, for pete’s sake! Things WILL get disgusting and when all hell breaks lose, not only does the story get dark but the characters do as well.
Katharine Isabelle had already cemented herself as a tried & true horror favorite via her turn in the Ginger Snaps films. She came into this with home court advantage. Naturally, the odds were stacked in her favor, but as we all know with great power comes great responsibility. Apparently, Isabelle is completely unfazed by that notion. Mary is the role she was born to play. She fit into its skin flawlessly. Prior to this, I enjoyed her work but never fell in love with it. Ginger Snaps is a great example. She’s great in those movies, but gets outshined by her costar Emily Perkins. As I look back on it now, it feels like a lead up to her transforming into Mary. It’s a performance that defines an actor, and in my opinion American Mary defines how great Katharine Isabelle is. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention the performance Tristan Risk turns out as Beatrice. It’s absolutely stunning.
American Mary is further prove that the Soska Sisters aren’t some parlor trick (as I’ve seen some folks writing about them). These sisters have an intuition that makes them great at making horror films. Period. The story is solid, the movie looks great, all the performances are spot-on. American Mary is everything the internet wanted it to be and more. Well done, Jen & Sylvia! (American Mary is available now on Blu-Ray and DVD)
The Manson Family (Severin Films)-Before you complain about me trumpeting VanBebber again, hold on: This anniversary release of The Manson Family comes with something very, very special. On this 10 anniversary blu release of his sleaze magnum opus, not only do you get more than what was included on the previous DVD release from Dark Sky Films (such as the completely uncensored Making Of documentary and an interview with VanBebber superfan Phil Anselmo), you also get his much talked about short film Gator Green!!! If you’re a horror/exploitation fan, then The Manson Family is in need of no introduction. The film looks excellent on blu. Not to mention, these added extras are worth the price alone!
I’ve been purchasing the film in various formats over the years, but this current release is taking the cake. If you’ve never purchased the film before, this would be the cut to get. Severin Films has never let me down. They keep that streak alive with The Manson Family. Witness the death of the hippie movement through the eyes of a “certifiable nutjob”, the uncompromising Jim VanBebber. (The Manson Family is available now through Severin Films)
Portlandia Season 3 (IFC/Broadway Video)- What do Patton Oswalt, Jeff Goldblum, J Mascis, Jack White, and Kyle MacLachlan have in common? They’re all a part of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s hilarious world known as Portlandia. The Emmy nominated series has been going 3 seasons strong and with this third season, they continue to find a way to to bring the laughs to the city of weird. In addition to some of the usual suspects I’ve grown to love on the show (Peter & Nance!), they continue to find new ways to spoof on hipster culture while paying homage to the earnestness of Portland. Example? How about a Vegan restaurant equipped with a fart patio? Or perhaps a Battle Of The Quietest Bands is your thing? Either way, the show remains impeccably written and executed. Not to mention, the guest stars show up in droves on season 3. If you haven’t seen it, I don’t wanna give away too much, but I’ll let you in on one of my favorite sketches from this season. It involves former MTV VJ’s and a rebellion against the shittiness of their former employer. It made me laugh my ass off. If you were around for the heyday of MTV, you will too.
Portlandia is a favorite in our household, from my wife and I right down to our son, Cash. It pokes fun at many subcultures we’re familiar with in the internet age while still showcasing the classic comedy chops of Armisen and Brownstein. It’s hard to not fall in love with Portlandia…so, why resist the urge?? (Portlandia Season 3 will be available on Blu-Ray and DVD July 9th through IFC)
There ya’ have it, gang!! Another batch of great releases I’m glad to add to my collection. Check em’ out!
Tags: American Mary, Blood Sprayer, dark sky films, Dead Hooker In A Trunk, dermot mulroney, Emily Perkins, Eraserhead, exploitation, Gator Green, Ginger Snaps, Horror, j mascis, Jim VanBebber, jodorowsky, katharine isabelle, kyle maclachlan, patton oswalt, phil anselmo, portlandia, Sleaze, Soska Sisters, The Manson Family, The Rambler, tristan risk, True Blood