A while back, the Criterion Collection had a sale and I bought a couple DVDs that I'd had my eye on. I've already reviewed a few of the movies I picked up, namely The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp and Beau Travail. But I'd been sitting on the rest for a while now, and it's been a growing annoyance in the back of my skull. So I'm finishing up this week with a light theme! I'm going to be talking about 2 movies I picked up from the Criterion Collection that are surreal experiences from first-time directors released in 1977, starting with Mr. David Lynch's Eraserhead. Yup, that very specific description applies to more than one cult classic.
Okay, it was kinda good.
I want to start by saying that I enjoyed Eternals. I went in with some fairly low expectations after all the mixed reviews, but I thought it was better than expected. It was fun--and not in a "so dumb it wraps back around to enjoyable" way--and despite the long run time, I never really felt it drag. But there be spoilers ahead, so keep reading at your own discretion. Like the header said, I won't spoil the big moments, but still.
Lord of Illusions (1995)
On the surface, Lord of Illusions has very little to do with the Hellraiser franchise. One is about a shrewd detective in way over his head among supernatural nonsense, while the other is all about Hell. But what if I were to tell you that they take place in the same universe? Because that's absolutely the case, straight from Mr. Clive Barker himself. So this film actually does fit into this year's October themed event, The Hellbound Halloween! But I'm getting ahead of myself.
Willy’s Wonderland (2021)
I want you all to know that I tried. Around the middle of September (after watching Malignant) I took a break from horror movies. The plan was to go without until October, when I'm going to start the same thing I did last year where it's nothing but horror movies every weekday, with a franchise running throughout the month (last year was October of the Corn). But I'm a horror junkie, man! It's my favorite genre! So I'm starting the spooky spirit early with Willy's Wonderland, a horror comedy starring Mr. Nic Cage. It's dumb!
Sukiyaki Western Django (2007)
I honestly didn't plan on this being a mini-event week. I started with 1966's Django, then found out about 2017's biography Django about musician Django Reinhardt, who the western gunslinger is named after. Then I went down a rabbit hole of all the unofficial sequels that had "Django" in the title and noticed Sukiyaki Western Django, an English language Japanese western by... Mr. Takashi Miike? The same Mr. Takashi Miike responsible for Ichi the Killer, Audition, Visitor Q, and The Happiness of the Katakuris? Well shit, I guess I have to watch it! And so here we are. No more "Django" movies next week, I promise.
Beethoven’s 2nd (1993)
I'm back with more Beethoven movies! Yes, the franchise with fewer films than Air Bud and Air Buddies (14) continues on with its first sequel. I imagine this was made because the first Beethoven made back 8 times its budget, and money talks. As we get further into the franchise I'm going to start assuming that "a desire for money" is the main motivator behind ideas like "Beethoven, but The Prince and the Pauper" or "Beethoven, but with Christmas magic." But those are future reviews; today we're going to talk about the one with an attempted sexual assault and a sexual abuser!
Alligator Alley (2013)
We've reached the end of Shark Week (or at least the version I planned back before they changed the date to July). But wait, you might say, I saw the title of today's movie, and that doesn't appear to involve sharks. And you're right! Alligator Alley--sometimes known as the infinitely better name Ragin' Cajun Redneck Gators--has absolutely no sharks in it. However, in the "Shark Bait: 6 Killer Shark Films" DVD collection, this is covered under "Plus a BONUS 7th BITE to sink your teeth into." Yup, this DVD 6 pack actually had 7 movies. What a twist!
Fear Street: 1994 (2021)
One thing this blog lacks (as of writing) is an "About the Author" page. I've thought about it multiple times and even have a draft saved, but so far nothing has felt quite right. Early on I even considered doing a series of posts where I explain my history with the horror genre: from AOL public domain stories posted around Halloween by some guy named "Lovecraft" to The Fear Street Saga, three books that told the history of the cursed town Shadyside. I even still have those books! Well, imagine my surprise when they announced a trilogy of Fear Street movies inspired by the book series of the same name. Hell, they even got Mrs. Leigh Janiak--the director of Honeymoon, one of my favorite movies--to direct all three! These movies were specifically made for me, which is a bit sad cause the first one was... it was fine. It's fine. It was fine.
Free Fall (2013)
Who has two thumbs and survived the worst heatwave to hit the Pacific Northwest in recorded history? This guy! Anyway, Pride Month is almost over and there was one last thing I wanted to do in honor of it: watch Freier Fall, AKA Free Fall. It's a German film from 2013 about two men who fall in love, but society is against them. Sound familiar and a little... overplayed? Sure does to me!
The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
I honestly considered not reviewing The Matrix sequels during Pride Month. The original film is now widely accepted as a trans allegory--no doubt helped by the creators, Lana and Lilly Wachowski, coming out as trans women in the years since. But my goal was to at least try to watch them with a queer eye, so Pride Month is as good a time as any. Did I find overt queerness in The Matrix Reloaded? Well... not really. Drat.