Patrick – Ozploitation week

This week I am covering genre films from down under. Patrick is currently available on instant Netflix.

Patrick

WATCH: Patrick (1978) – Rated PG

“After murdering his mother and her lover during a bathtub tryst, young Patrick (Robert Thompson) lies comatose in a small, private hospital, where the only motion he can muster is involuntary spitting. When a young nurse, recently separated from her husband, begins working at the hospital, she senses that Patrick is trying to communicate with her psychically. Soon after, the men (and women) in her life mysteriously begin to die.”

I’ve got a weird feeling” – “Indigestion?”  – Yep. You betcha  – after watching this film.

While I enjoyed this film, it is very slow-moving (what did you expect when the title character is comatose?). This was made in the late 70s when everyone was rushing psychic phenomena movies to print in the wake of Carrie’s success. Because this trend was new at the time, they take a lot of time slowly building up Patrick’s ability. I do recommend this film if you have patience as it is an interesting story but Carrie, The Fury, and The Medusa Touch are better movies on the same subject.

This is a bizarre PG film.  While enough was apparently cut for a PG rating, this film still contains brief nudity including male full frontal, sexual activity, profanity, attempted spousal rape, a handjob, and mentions of necrophilia, enemas, and nymphomania.

The original film was 140 minutes but was trimmed to 112 minutes for U.S. release. While the movie feels like it runs too long at 112 minutes, it also leaves a lot out so the editing is somewhat poor. One character’s fate is shown after the fact, another’s fate is never determined, and there are a few other inconsistencies. The director has stated that the extra footage is unfortunately lost.

It was mentioned in Not Quite Hollywood that Quentin Tarantino patterned some of the Bride’s scenes in Kill Bill after this movie and it is pretty obvious that this is true. Strangely this Australian film spawned an Italian sequel, Patrick vive ancora (1980 – Patrick is Still Alive) that was simply a reimagining of the original with none of the cast or crew.

People watch: Director Richard Franklin later directed the much better Road Games and then directed a number of Hollywood movies. He later directed genre pictures such as Psycho 2, F/X 2, and Link but never had a real breakout hit. His last film was Visitors (2003) and he passed away in 2007. Not Quite Hollywood is dedicated to him.

Not Quite Hollywood – Ozploitation week

This week is dedicated to our filmmakers down under. Not Quite Hollywood – a documentary about Ozploitation is currently available on instant Netflix.

Not Quite Hollywood

WATCH: Not Quite Hollywood (2008) – Rated R for for graphic nudity, sexuality, violence and gore, some language and drug use

“Explore the unofficial history of Australian cult film with this provocative documentary on the “Ozploitation” flicks of the 1970s and ’80s. Filmmaker Mark Hartley explores the violence, sex and nudity rampant during this period of lax restrictions. Jam-packed with film clips, poster art and international advertisements, the film also features anecdotes from numerous celebrities about this dynamic period in Australian cinema.”

Watching this film is actually what inspired me to do Ozploitation week. This is a very fun, fast-paced chronicling of Australian genre films. There are a ton of movie clips and plenty of interviews with the applicable stars, directors and film critics as well as special guest Quentin Tarantino. There is also a lot of nudity, sex, violence, and language as befits an examination of exploitation films. By a lot of nudity I mean a LOT of nudity. I lost track of the number of nude women 10 minutes into the film and quite a lot of the nudity is full frontal, both male and female.

The first portion of the documentary is called “Ockers, Knockers, Pubes & Tubes” and covers the gross out and sex comedies. These sprang up as the censorship rules were lifted when Australia’s R-rating was established. Under the R-rating, no one from 2-18 was to be admitted. For those interested, this is where the majority of the nudity is presented.

“Comatose Killers and Outback Chillers” covers the quickly burgeoning horror genre. Horror typically costs very little to make and generally ranges from profitable to extremely profitable. It is why so many independent directors start in this genre. They even mention later in Not Quite Hollywood “…but splatter is cheap”. The new Australian R rating allowed for some over-the-top horror movies, many of which are featured here.

The third part, “High Octane Disasters and Kung Fu Masters”, covers a variety of action genres from kung fu to the post-apocalyptic.  There is a mini-focus on stuntman extraordinaire Grant Page. During the 70s there weren’t many (any?) safety restrictions on what you could do on a stunt. Some of the stunts in this third part are absolutely amazing – back before special effects took over. There are numerous car and motorcycle crashes as well as many scenes of people really being set on fire.

They also cover Australia’s biggest crossover hit, Mad Max in this section. Besides putting Mel Gibson on the map, Mad Max was the first (only?) of the Ozploitation movies to cross over to mainstream cinema. They don’t mention the sequels which is just as well as they definitely aren’t as edgy as the original.

Overall the documentary has an excellent fast-paced flow and a good balance between interviews and clips. I highly recommend it for genre fans. I especially liked how they played even more interviews as they rolled the credits. The only drawback was that there was a little too much of uber-fanboy Quentin Tarantino

Netflix has enough of these Ozploitation films available for instant play that I’ve devoted this whole week to them (although I’ll try to spare my wife from having to watch them).

People watch: While the whole film is nothing but people watching look for scream queen Jaime Lee Curtis in a brief interview and a scene from Road Games and a very young Nicole Kidman (not interviewed) in BMX Bandits.

Youtube

Since this is Thanksgiving week and I’m not feeling well, I thought I’d take the week off from reviewing instant Netflix movies and cover some somewhat related topics instead.

YoutubeYoutube

The Hunt for Gollum

We have a saying around the house – “Youtube is the devil and the devil is bad.” Youtube can kill an otherwise productive day in just a few clicks (start with the Bruce Lee Ping Pong video). You’ll slowly sink from sight, never to be heard from again. Of course everyone on the internet is familiar with Youtube.

What you may not know is that recently Youtube has been branching out into full length films. Go to Youtube movies for a current listing of FREE movies. Unfortunately these movies do have commercials in a fashion similar to Hulu. They have a bunch of obscure movies – many of them public domain. Currently they have Clint Eastwood’s The Man with No Name trilogy (A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly) headlining but only for a few more days.

If you are a Lord of the Rings junkie, there is a very good independent fan-made movie, The Hunt for Gollum available for viewing. It clocks in at 39 minutes but is lovingly done in the style of Peter Jackson.It does not star the original cast but they have tried to match the look and feel of the trilogy.

There is also an abundance of trailers for new movies as well as an odd collection of shows. Youtube is also working to bring 1080p to the site as it’s clear that high definition is the next big thing. They seem to be only dabbling in movies at the moment but they still have some exclusive titles and are worth the occasional look.

Streaming Soon

Since this is Thanksgiving week and I’m not feeling well, I thought I’d take the week off from reviewing instant Netflix movies and cover some somewhat related topics instead.

Streaming Soon

There are many ways to get more bang for your buck on Netflix (as if Netflix wasn’t already an incredible bargain). The wonderful site Streaming Soon does something that Netflix itself doesn’t do. It provides a listing of all the movies that are coming soon to Netflix instant streaming. This allows you to prioritize your queue so you don’t use up your precious DVD rentals on something that is going to be available soon for free.

They also have a listing of movies that are soon to expire on instant streaming. This feature allows you to prioritize your viewing so you don’t miss something that you want to watch for free.

Streaming Soon does rely on readers to post when they see a movie listed as coming soon on streaming. Help them out when you see something in your queue get that wonderful note next to it.

ThanksKilling

Well sadly there only seems to be one Thanksgiving movie available on Netflix instant view.

Thankskilling

AVOID: Thankskilling (2009) – NR – This movie has not been rated because the makers could not afford to have it rated.

“I’m going to drink your blood like cranberry sauce”

“While on their way home for Thanksgiving break, five college kids run afoul of a homicidal turkey that wants them dead. As the cursed bird hunts them down one by one, the survivors scramble to find a way to defeat the possessed creature. Will the bloodthirsty turkey make this their last Thanksgiving feast ever? Writer-director Jordan Downey’s holiday-themed horror spoof features an appearance by adult-film star Wanda Lust.”

O.M.G. – We tried watching this film earlier and got maybe two minutes in before turning it off. That would be the length of the scene, set in 1621, where the older topless Pilgrim (Wanda Lust, star of such classic cinema masterpieces as MILF Shakes and MILF Does a Brotha Good!) is killed by the hand puppet Turkey. The Turkey then turns to the camera and says, “Nice tits, B*tch” – seriously I am not making this up. That was as far as we got on the first attempt.

Lacking any other Thanksgiving related film to review, I’m doing my civic duty and watching the rest of this so you don’t have to. Note to a friend – when I say AVOID and put it in bold and then color it red that means for your sanity DO NOT WATCH THIS FILM, it is not a secret enticement to watch it.

If you think scatology is the height of humor then this film is for you. The Turkey is revived in modern times by a dog urinating on a grave and then on the Turkey itself as it rises up. The Turkey defecates on someone’s chest. A woman brews her husband’s coffee with feces. It is hard to think someone thought these ideas up and committed them to paper much less celluloid.

If that isn’t your cup of joe, how about a tagline of “Gobble Gobble Motherf***er?” How about a film that starts in 1621, moves forward 505 years and ends in present day (I’ll wait while you do the math)? How about not one, not two, but three Jon-Benet Ramsey jokes? Oh wait I absolutely must mention the ‘hilarious’ Turkey rape sequence. Afterwards the Turkey tells his victim, “You just got stuffed!”

Now 45 minutes into this travesty my wife has fled screaming from the room. This leaves 21 more minutes of sheer terror to face alone. 57 minutes in and my wife has literally fled the building. I would remember this for future use but it is definitely not worth the price of watching this turkey again. I’m sorry I tried to resist that joke but I have so little willpower on Thanksgiving.

The best thing I can say about ThanksKilling (besides that it is now over) is that it is only an hour and six minutes long. Instead of watching ThanksKilling, watch the fake horror movie trailers from Grindhouse here. The 3rd trailer is “Thanksgiving” by Eli Roth. The others are “Werewolf Women of the SS” by Rob Zombie, “Don’t” by Edgar Wright, and “Machete” by Robert Rodriguez. All of them are hilarious.


Roku Part Two

Since this is Thanksgiving week and I’m not feeling well, I thought I’d take the week off from reviewing instant Netflix movies and cover some somewhat related topics instead.

Roku Player

Yesterday I covered the Roku player for Netflix. I mentioned that the one thing it really needed was access to Hulu or Youtube. Well, lo and behold, I received an email from Roku this morning that they are updating their channel choices. They are not including Hulu or Youtube but in the next few weeks, Roku owners will be able to stream the following channels to their TVs in addition to Netflix and Amazon.

MotionBox

MotionBox: “Watch your personal videos instantly on your TV with Motionbox.”

Mediafly

Mediafly: “Your source for daily video podcasts from news sources like CNN and NBC.”

BlipTV

BlipTV: “blip.tv hosts and distributes the best original Web shows.”

TwitTV

TwitTV: “Netcasts on the latest tech trends from people you trust.”

Facebook Photos

Facebook Photos: “View your Facebook photo albums, as well as friends’ photos.” – This carries the implication that full Facebook viewing is not available but check out Mobile Tribe below for that.

Revision 3

Revision 3: “Home of Diggnation, Tekzilla and tons more original shows for the Internet generation.” – I have only used this site to watch HD Nation on occasion but will likely use it more once it is integrated into the Roku player.

Frame Channel

Frame Channel: “FrameChannel is a free service that allows you to gather and display your photos on your connected device. Use FrameChannel to view your photos and select from 1000+ channels of custom content like news, traffic, weather, sports, financial data and much more! FrameChannel brings your connected device to life!”

Flickr

Flickr: “Browse your own photos and public photos on Flickr.” You can use Flickr to create prints, posters, calendars and the most marvelous photo books or just browse your uploaded photo collection.

Pandora

Pandora: Free service that plays music personalized for you. It uses the music genome project to help pick music specifically for you. I’m not much of a music person but my wife and her friends use this service.

MLB

MLB.com: “Watch all out-of-market baseball games live and on demand.” This is currently available on Roku in beta form. This does require a MLB subscription and starts in April 2010.

Mobile Tribe

Mobile Tribe: “Now you can enjoy online social networking from your TV! MobileTribe helps you stay in sync with your online communities with a single, low cost application. Easily access your existing accounts on Facebook, Myspace, Orkut, Yahoo!, Flickr, Picasa and Google, without getting off the couch.

What better way to share your photo albums with friends and family, no more crowding around a laptop. MobileTribe makes it easy and fun to check out your friends and their friends’ latest picture albums and status on a big screen!”

This service also supports over 500 phones for those of you who can’t bear to be away from The Book of Faces.

Roku Player

Since this is Thanksgiving week and I’m not feeling well, I thought I’d take the week off from reviewing instant Netflix movies and cover some somewhat related topics instead.

Roku Player

While the last two days I’ve covered FREE, today’s topic is the Roku player which is most definitely not free. All 3 varieties of Roku player are available from Amazon and they range from $80-$130.

We have the $100 version (Roku HD) and it is one of the best gadgets I have ever bought. Jen and I often spend our evenings computing while watching an instant Netflix film on the TV between us – all thanks to this marvelous device. It’s basic value to us is that it frees up my computer. I can type up a review while watching the film as our TV is next to my monitor.

The Roku SD is  $80 and features:

* Start watching movies on your TV in seconds using your high-speed Internet connection

* Instantly plays the entire Netflix Instant Watch library with your Netflix membership – no additional subscription cost required, and viewing is unlimited

* Plays DVD-quality video on any TV

* Built-in wireless (Wi-Fi) as well as wired internet connectivity

* Sets up in 5 minutes

The Roku HD is $100 and features:

* Start watching movies on your TV in seconds using your high-speed Internet connection

* Instantly plays the entire Netflix Instant Watch library with your Netflix membership – no additional subscription required, viewing is unlimited

* Instantly plays over 45,000 movies and shows from Amazon Video On Demand

* Built-in wireless (Wi-Fi) and wired internet connectivity

* Plays High Definition as well as DVD-quality video; works with any TV

The Roku HD-XR is $130 and features:

*Start watching movies on your TV in seconds using your high-speed Internet connection

* Instantly plays the entire Netflix Instant Watch library with your Netflix membership – no additional subscription cost required

* Instantly plays over 45,000 movies and shows from Amazon Video On Demand

* Extended range wireless (Wi-Fi N dual-band) built-in the latest standard

* Plays High Definition as well as DVD-quality video; works with any TV

Our unit was very easy to set up and of course you get the best picture quality if you use HDMI cables. You can pick up HDMI cables for under a $1 on Amazon or you can spend $30-$80 at Best Buy or Target. Buying cables at a store is a complete ripoff. Amazon offers a bundle with cables but it is cheaper to buy them separately.

While it is nice that the latest version (Roku HD-XR) uses Wireless N technology, you will not get any of the N speed boost unless all of your devices on the network run at that speed. If one of your devices runs at G speed (computer, game console, etc.) then all devices on that network will run at that lower speed.

Another tip is that if you play one of the many HD titles from instant Netflix, I have found that it is best to start it and then pause for a bit while the buffer builds up. You may not need to if you have a faster connection or if you have less of a drain on your network. We have 4 people all using the internet pretty consistently so this tip is pretty much a necessity for us.

Personally while I love this little device, if your TV is close to your network connection then you can purchase a Blu-Ray player that has a wired connection and plays Netflix for about the same amount of money. Many of the Samsung and LG models have Netflix capability.

Because of the relatively high price of the Roku player and the rapidly dropping price of Blu-ray players, this is a very niche product but we’ve gotten a lot of use out of ours. The Amazon connection is nice but I seldom use it as Amazon’s Video on Demand is rather exorbitantly priced. Roku really needs to come up with a way for this device to stream Youtube or better still Hulu to stay viable against the cheap Blu-Ray players. I should also note that this is a tiny tiny box and fits anywhere.

Fear Net

Since this is Thanksgiving week and I’m not feeling well, I thought I’d take the week off from reviewing instant Netflix movies and cover some somewhat related topics instead.

FearNet

As mentioned yesterday I love FREE. I also love horror – it is my favorite genre. Fear Net is a wonderful site devoted to horror movies. They have a relatively small selection of FREE horror movies but they are rotated out pretty regularly and are shown uncut and without commercial interruption. The drawbacks are the aforementioned small selection and that the resolution is terrible when blown up.

Currently they have 26 movies for FREE viewing including:

DEAD ALIVE: This is an early zombie comedy from Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson. Juvenile, uneven and most definitely over-the-top, it is quite fun.

CUTTING CLASS: This is one of Brad Pitt’s earliest roles. The film itself is pretty bad but it’s always interesting to see where actors get their start.

THE TOXIC AVENGER 1-4: The first four movies of Troma’s flagship series  are available uncut.

THE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN: This is the Director’s Cut of this Clive Barker adaptation – quite a lot of gruesome CGI blood.

HARD CANDY: I cannot recommend this film highly enough. To say much more than Fearnet’s description would spoil this wonderful if discomforting movie. “A 14-year-old girl meets a new friend on the Internet. He’s a 32-year-old photographer who’s really anxious to meet her.” Ellen Page plays the 14-year-old two years before her role in Juno and is absolutely mesmerizing.

Fear Net has horror movie news, previews and other general horror information. They also have several series available for viewing in addition to the movies – including their own Fear Clinic. Again if you watch one movie on FearNet, please watch Hard Candy – one of the best suspense films of the past few years and one that will make you squirm in your seat.


Hulu

Since this is Thanksgiving week and I’m not feeling well, I thought I’d take the week off from reviewing instant Netflix movies and cover some somewhat related topics instead.

HuluAnyone who knows me knows I love FREE. FREE is everyone’s favorite price point. Instant Netflix is free with almost all Netflix subscriptions and is normally the focus of my blog. Hulu on the other hand is free to all with a decent internet connection. You do have to put up with commercial interruptions but there are less of those than there are on commercial TV and you can start and stop at your convenience.

Hulu’s selection of movies is very limited but what they do have is FREE. They also occasionally get some real gems. Right now they have The Raven and Comedy of Terrors. Both are horror comedies with Vincent Price, Peter Lorre and Boris Karloff and, more importantly, both are out of print and not available on Netflix at all.

Hulu’s TV show selection on the other hand is amazing. They have almost complete lineups from many but not all of the major networks. The real drawback is that they only carry 6 episodes of a given series at a time. I do usually use that to watch them in marathon format. I let them build up and then watch 4 or 5 episodes at once. This is very helpful for interconnected storyline shows like 24.

There are two shows that we’ve watched on Netflix and Hulu. You can watch all previous seasons of The Office and 30 Rock on Netflix (where they are commercial-free) and then catch up on the current season on Hulu. The current season of Heroes is available on both so we watch it on Netflix where it is both commercial-free and in high definition.

Christmas week – A Christmas Story

Up until 1983, my favorite Christmas movie was Frank Capra’s classic It’s a Wonderful Life (sadly not available on instant play). In 1983, A Christmas Story replaced it as my favorite Christmas movie. A Christmas Story is currently available on Netflix instant play.

A Christmas Story

WATCH: A Christmas Story (1983) – Rated PG

“Humorist Jean Shepard’s nostalgic view of Christmastime in Indiana during the 1940s is a holiday classic. Nine-year-old Ralphie desperately wants a Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas and wages an all-out campaign to convince his reluctant parents (Darren McGavin and Melinda Dillon) that the toy is safe. Meanwhile, as Ralphie prepares for the big day, his brother has a strange relationship with food, and his dad fights the never-ending furnace battle.”

This film is an absolutely incredible celebration of nostalgia and family. One doesn’t have to have grown up in the 40s to appreciate the detail that went into this film (although there are a few anachronisms such as a battery-powered clock and a colored bowling ball), just a sense of whimsy. Unabashedly schmaltzy, A Christmas Story is also genuinely heartwarming.

There are many wonderful family details that reflect most people’s family experiences with just the details changed. It’s obvious that both Mom and Dad dearly love their children and each other even as they struggle over the ‘major award’. Ralphie and Randy love each other even if Randy is annoying (as younger siblings often are) and Ralphie as the older brother is a bit of a bully. Who didn’t have a relative who sent wildly inappropriate gifts?

Melinda Dillon and Darren McGavin are perfectly cast as the loving parents. Peter Billingsley steals the show as Ralphie and Jean Shepherd’s narration is amazing.

It seems a bit contradictory to applaud both yesterday’s anti-consumerism documentary, What Would Jesus Buy? and A Christmas Story whose central plot point is a celebration of consumerism (as well as the side story of the decoder ring – a lesson in disillusionment). On the other hand director Bob Clark made both A Christmas Story and its near opposite, Black Christmas. Black Christmas is as mean-spirited as A Christmas Story is warm-hearted.

The characters in this story are also featured in Ollie Hopnoodle’s Haven of Bliss (1988) and It Runs in the Family (1994). Sadly neither of these are available on Netflix in any form.

People Watch: Author Jean Shepherd is the angry man waiting in line for Santa Claus as well as the narrator.