Monday, November 12, 2012

They Died in September 2012, Part VI


 
Follow this link for They Died in September 2012, Part II
 
Follow this link for They Died in September 2012, Part IV
 
Follow this link for They Died in September 2012, Part V

One day you, too, are going to die... but the following people, both known and unknown, have beaten you to it. (Darn.) Will you leave half as much behind, or have you a wasted life?
In any event, the list is hardly 100% complete, but may they all rest in peace.
And in their honor, yet another version of a poem we learned as a child called Worms Crawl In (The Hearse Song) – we know not whose version this is.
Did you ever think when a hearse goes by,
That you may be the next to die?
They take you out to the family plot,
And there you wither, decay and rot.
They wrap you up in a bloody sheet,
And then they bury you six-feet deep.
And all goes well for a week or two,
And then things start to happen to you.
The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out,
The ants play pinochle on your snout!
One of the worms that's not so shy,
Crawls in one ear and out one eye.
They call their friends and their friends' friends too,
They'll make a horrid mess of you!
And then your blood turns yellow-green,
And oozes out like whipping cream.
[Spoken] Darn, me without a spoon!
Your eyes fall in, your teeth fall out,
Your liver turns to sauerkraut.
So never laugh when a hearse goes by,
For you may be the next to die.




Michael Rye
2 March 1918 – 21 September 2012
Born J. Riordan Billsbury in Chicago, Illinois, on March 2, 1918, Michael Rye was a voiceover actor who began his career during the Golden Years of Radio and went on to do tons of animated stuff of the kind we here at A Wasted Life don't watch. He died at the age of 94 in Los Angeles on Sept. 21 after a short illness. (Seeing that Variety says "Donations may be made to the American Cancer Society," it is safe to assume that his brief illness was cancer-related.) He is survived by his wife, Patricia Foster. Among all the stuff he did, there were two projects we found of interest.


Two Lost Worlds
(1951, dir. Norman Dawn)
Michael Rye (billed as Rye Billsbury) plays "Captain Hackett". Chris Gaskin from Derby, England, explains the plot at imdb: "After being attacked by pirates, the clipper ship The Queen settles in Queensland, Australia while its captain recovers from injuries received during the attack. He falls in love with one of the local girls there and pirates then raid the colony and they escape. After the ship is attacked again and set on fire, the few survivors end up on an uncharted island where they encounter dinosaurs and then a volcanic eruption and earthquake and are then rescued. The dinosaur footage in this movie is the fight from One Million BC (1940), as is the disaster footage, where we get to see more enlarged lizards from that movie too." As Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings asks, "Where the hell is the other lost world? The title promises two; the island with the slurpasaurs is one; where is the other? Is it Australia? Does Australia really qualify as a lost world?" Two Lost Worlds was the second to last film by Argentinean-born director Norman Dawn, whose best known film is probably his last, Wild Women aka Bowanga Bowanga (1951). 
Some scenes from Bowanga Bowanga, which Michael Rye did not participate in:
 


Hands of a Stranger 
(1962, dir. Newt Arnold)
Michael Rye plays "George Britton" in this low budget take on the basic plot device shared by The Hands of Orlac (1924 / full film), Mad Love (1935 / trailer), The Beast with Five Fingers (1946) and The Hands of Orlac (1960 / trailer). Director Newt Arnold went on to make two more non-masterpieces, the Jean-Claude Van Damme flick Bloodsport (1988 / trailer) and the public domain flick Blood Thirst (1971 / full film). Filmschatten, a great blog to find and watch interesting public domain films, explains the plot: "When a pianist's hands are destroyed he receives a double transplant from a murder victim. Much to the bewilderment of the pianist, these new hands decide to take control and gain vengeance for their past owner's death."
Full film:




19 April 1917 – 21 September 2012 
Born Børge Villy Redsted Pedersen on 19 April 1917, in Frederiksborg, Denmark, he later adopted his mother's maiden name Hassel. Although his biography is contested by some, little proof has surfaced to completely refute what Sven has told about his past. In 1937, in search of an income, the 20-year-old unemployed Hassel moved to Germany to join the army, becoming a German citizen to do so. Taken prisoner in Berlin by the Russians in 1945, he spent the following years in various POW camps, during which he began to write his first book, Legion of the Damned. Released in 1949, he met and married Dorthe Jensen, who encouraged his writing. He went on to write 14 novels. In 1964 he moved to Barcelona, Spain, where he died at the age of 95 on 21 September 2012.


The Misfit Brigade
(1987, dir. Gordon Hessler)
Based on Sven Hassel's novel Wheels of Terror, the film bombed when it came out – but then, maybe the world wasn't ready for a blackly comic war film in which the main characters are all Nazis talking with broad American accents. Oliver Reed got top billing – for a three-minute appearance made to pay off an outstanding bar bill. Over at imdb, Coventry ("from the Draconian Swamp of Unholy Souls") says: "[...] The Misfit Brigade definitely isn't pro-Nazi and actually quite blunt and uncompromising in the expression of its political opinions. The protagonists in this movie are anti everything and that's probably why this is such a good and plausible film. And by plausible I do not necessarily mean the depicted events in the film, but the characterizations of the rejected SS-soldiers and deserters. The plot introduces the questionable members of the 27th Panzer Regiment; a gathering of overly opinionated soldiers convicted in court martial and downright expandable criminals. They spent their days driving around in their tank, drinking heavily and playing vicious pranks on each other. Mostly active near the Northern front lines and Russians borders, the 27th Regiment unmercifully kills Russians but drive their tank over German soldiers just as easily. When the vicious Colonel Von Weisshägen (David Carradine of Dead & Breakfast [2004]) promises them amnesty in return the fulfilment of a special and dangerous assignment, the boys go far beyond Russian enemy lines in order to blow up a train chock-full of oil and military equipment. As much as it is a harsh and realistic war epic, The Misfit Brigade is also a subtle and blackly humorous parody about the people forced to fight for a cause that is not necessarily their own and, as you can guess, their number is far more plentiful than the heroic patriots. Some sequences are near-brilliant and overwhelming (like the tank fights, the screening of the discouraging propaganda film, and the encounter with the exhibitionist deserters), but other footage is dreadfully tedious and misplaced, like the scene in the brothel for example. [...]"
Trailer:




Grigory Frid
22 September 1915 – 22 September 2012 
Russian composer (artist and writer) Grigory Frid died on his 97th birthday in Moscow. Born in 1915 in Petrograd, Frid studied in the Moscow Conservatory prior to becoming a soldier to war during WWII. A prolific composer, his early compositions were of the "social realist" school of music, though his compositions became more "contemporary" in his later years. He is also known to have scored a few movies, some of which are presented below.


Dym v lesu
(1955, dirs. Yuri Chulyukin & Yevgeni Karelov)
Aka Дым в лесу and, supposedly, as Smoke in the Forest – though we personally find it hard to believe that a Russian kiddy film made at the height of the Red Scare ever got an English-language release. The plot, according to Veoh: "Based on the story by Arkadi Gaidar, this film centers around a wounded pilot of a Soviet military aircraft. Facing certain death, the pilot encounters a local student in the woods who comes to his aid."
Short scene:

 

Circus Festival 
(1958) 
A short documentary (60 minutes) about the circus and circus performers, including Russia's favorite clown, Oleg Popov, who was getting rather long in tooth when we caught him at the Russian Circus here in Berlin a year ago. Nice Polish poster, though.


Timur i yego komanda
(1976, dirs. Aleksandr Blank & Sergei Linkov)
Aka Тимур и его команда, Timur and His Command and Timur and His Team – though again, we find it hard to believe the film ever got an English-language release. Seems to be a kiddy film – and a remake. 
Original 1940 version in Russian: 


Lenin in Paris
(1981, dir. Sergei Yutkevich)
A Russian prestige production and the last film of the name Russian director Sergei Yutkevich (he even served as a judge at Cannes three times). Lenin in Paris even featured a Western name, Claude Jade, in an important part as Inessa Armand, who in real life was Lenin's regular fuck in Paris but in the film was the lover of someone else (great revolutionaries aren't interested in sex). Jade, whose best known film is probably Hitchcock's odd failure Topaz (1969 / trailer), died in France on 1 December 2006 of complications from eye cancer. The plot of Lenin in Paris: the film is about Lenin's time in Paris, 1910-11, and how it influenced his later political development.
9 minutes filmed off the tube:




Ira Miller 
14 October 1940 – 23 September 2012 
Ira Miller, a former member of The Second City (in the 60s) and occasional bit-part actor in comedies, died September 23, 2012, after a long battle with cancer. Born in 1940 and raised in Chicago, he eventually left the Windy City for Los Angeles. He is survived by his brother and sister-in-law, Ronald and Patricia Miller, as well as four nieces and a nephew. Miller also recorded songs under his alter-ego, Gefilte Joe. 
Gefilte Joe sings Take A Walk on the Kosher Side:
Below is a selection of his film projects, including his only directorial effort, Loose Shoes (1980).


Blazing Saddles
(1974, dir. Mel Brooks)
The first (and only) un-credited appearance in a Mel Brooks film, playing a baker. Miller would eventually appear in the background of seven films and one TV show for Brooks. Blazing Saddles is vintage Mel Brooks and always good for a laugh. Over at imdb, John Vogel, who calls the film "The Ultimate Western Spoof," gives the plot as follows: "A town where everyone seems to be named Johnson is in the way of the railroad. In order to grab their land, Hedley Lemar (Harvey Korman), a politically connected nasty person, sends in his henchmen to make the town unlivable. After the sheriff is killed, the town demands a new sheriff from the Governor (Brooks). Hedley convinces him to send the town the first Black sheriff in the west. Bart (Cleavon Little) is a sophisticated urbanite who will have some difficulty winning over the townspeople."
Trailer:


Tunnel Vision
(1976, dir. Neal Israel & Bradley R. Swirnoff)
The comedy skit anthology film, the most famous of which is probably Kentucky Fried Movie (1977 / trailer), was very popular in the late 70s and early 80s. Other popular but mostly forgotten examples include The Groove Tube (1974), The Boob Tube (1975 / scene) and this film here, Tunnel Vision. Miller appears in one skit as "Ramon".
Trailer:


Chesty Anderson U.S. Navy
(1976, dir. Ed Forsyth)
Miller appears briefly as a comedian in this mild exploitation film that has a bigger reputation than it probably should, as its only true quality of note is that it is the second and last film of the great Shari Eubank, who starred in this film and Russ Meyers's fab flick Supervixens (1975 / German trailer) and then left the industry to become a language arts teacher in Illinois. Still, the movie-literate Steven Puchalski of Shock Cinema seems to have sort of enjoyed it: "This pneumatic comedy from director Ed Forsyth is nearly as tame as his earlier drive-in hit, Superchick (1973 / trailer), and runs on the same half-baked charm. In addition, there's a terrifically odd cast, headed up by Shari Eubank in the aptly-named title role. [...] Chesty is just one of the latest crop of WAVES, who, after a hard day of maneuvers, likes to unbutton their blouses and lounge about their quarters in their undies. But when a crooked senator wants to retrieve an incriminating photo (he's in drag) from Chesty's Navy sis, Cynthia, she ends up tossed into a trash hopper and killed in a shredding machine. Of course, the Navy is no use whatsoever, since they think Cynthia is merely AWOL with some guy, so Chesty and her barracks pals have to bring the murderers to justice on their own. With a plot this dumb, it's no surprise that most of the fun comes from the supporting throwaways, including a midget named Stretch, who runs the local watering hole; Scatman Crothers as a pool hustler; and Ilsa's Dyanne Thorne as a nurse. [...] Despite bar-room brawls, a man-eating plant (huh?), and plenty of cleavage, this nonsense has all the depth of a Three's Company episode, with the artistic style to match. Hell, even the obligatory shower scenes are strictly PG. You have been warned."
Excerpt:


Jackson County Jail
(1976, dir. Michael Miller)
Miller appears as a drunk man in this Roger Corman produced exploiter. Oddly enough, director Michael Miller remade this flick – one of Tommy Lee Jones' first important screen appearances – only two years later as a TV movie entitled Outside Chance (see below), which also starred Yvette Mimieux. TV Guide says "Yvette Mimieux plays a career woman who heads off to New York on a lark. She starts a long drive across the country and picks up some hitch-hikers, who beat her up and steal her car. Thrown into a small-town jail on false charges, Mimieux is subjected to a series of humiliations that culminate in her rape by a psychotic sheriff (Severn Darden). Mimieux manages to kill her attacker and escapes from jail with another inmate (Tommy Lee Jones). A destructive car chase follows, during which Jones is killed in a wild (and unintentionally funny) shootout amidst a bicentennial parade. The direction is rapidly paced, bombarding the viewer with sudden and violent images, but the story is largely superficial and often implausible. Nevertheless, the film's insistence on the thoroughgoing corruption of established authority, as well as its unusual adoption of a woman's point of view, set it apart from most exploitation fare."
Trailer:


American Raspberry
(1977, dir. Bradley R. Swirnoff)
Aka Prime Time. Miller appears as a "Jewish Deviate" in this, Bradley R. Swirnoff's second and (as far as we can tell) to date only other directorial project, a comedy skit anthology film like Tunnel Vision, which he co-directed two years previously – and which featured a lot more "names" than this Cannon Films production.
Trailer:


Outside Chance
(1978, dir. Michael Miller)
As mentioned above, this is Michael Miller's 1978 remake for CBS television of his 1976 exploiter Jackson County Jail, this time without Tommy Lee Jones. But Ira Miller is there again, this time playing "Dale." All movie explains the diff of Outside Chance from the older, better film: "In the made for television film Outside Chance, the same sequence of events happens [as in JCJ], except that Dinah is tried and sentenced for the guard's murder with no extenuating circumstances (her story of a rape is not believed). Later, she escapes with the girlfriend of the man who stole her car in the first place."


Loose Shoes
(1980, dir. Ira Miller)
Miller's only known directorial effort is also a comedy skit anthology film; he appears in this film – aka Coming Attractions and Quackers – as the "Blind Stranger" and "Narrator". To simply swipe a bit of what we wrote at our Susan Tyrrell R.I.P. entry: "The title of his film here comes from a 1976 political 'scandal' that resulted in the resignation of US President Gerald Ford's Secretary of Agriculture Earl L. Butz for joking that 'the only thing the coloreds are looking for in life are tight pussy, loose shoes, and a warm place to shit.' (Loose Shoes was released long after the event had lost the public eye, in 1980, but at the time the film was made, in 1977, the reference was still relevant.) The phrase was integrated into the segment Dark Town after Dark. TV Guide is of the opinion that 'this hit-or-miss spoof of movie trailers [...] has enough originality to merit a look.' The Video Graveyard, on the other hand, says that of the anthology comedies of the time, Loose Shoes 'is the absolute worst of the bunch' while ceding that the film 'doesn't hit the "please gouge my eyes out" level of modern parodies like Epic Movie (2007 / trailer) and Meet the Spartans (2008 / trailer)'."
Dark Town after Dark:




Mulraj Rajda 
13 November, 1931 – 23 September 2012 
Indian writer, actor and director Mulraj Rajda died at the age of 80 in Mumbai, Maharashtra on Sunday, September 23, 2012. He is survived by his wife, the actress Indumati Rajda, whom he married on 2 March, 1956, and three children, including his actor son Sameer Rajda. A popular actor in Gujarati cinema, for the past decade he had concentrated on his family life instead of his career.


Ramayan
(1986-87, dir. Ramanand Sagar)
46 seconds of Mulraj Rajda in Ramayan (1987):
A TV series, actually, not a movie. Looks, uh, like a cultural experience. According to imdb, "[T]he series quickly went on to become the most popular series in Indian television history, reaching over 100 million viewers each week. Its popularity reached a point of what the Indian news magazine India Today called 'Ramayan fever', where religious services were rescheduled, buses, trains, and inter-city trucks were stopped, and shops would close every Sunday at 9:30 a.m. so that people would gather to watch the show. In villages, watching the show became a religious ritual unto itself. The show's popularity would remain the highest in history until a few years later, when Mahabharat (1988–1990), also based on an ancient Hindu epic, would exceed its popularity." Plot, also from imdb: "The Lord incarnated upon the earth nine times. The seventh was known as 'Ram Avatar.' [Director] Ramanand Sagar's Ramayan is the story of the incarnation. It covers the entire story in detail up to Ram's coronation." Mulraj Rajda plays "Janak."
A scene from Ramayan, set to Wall of Voodoo's cover version of Ring of Fire:




Thilakan
15 July 1935 – 24 September 2012
Surendranatha Thilakan, known simply as Thilakan, was born the second of six children in Kerala on July 15th, 1935. Considered in India as one of the nation's best stage and film actors, he has taken part in over 200 films by the time of his death of multiple organ failure on September 24th, 2012 at a private hospital in Thiruvananthapuram. Thilakan began his acting career in 1956 when he left college to go on stage; he entered the film industry in 1973 in the Malayalam movie Periyar. Thilakan is survived by his sons Shaji Thilakan, Shammi Thilakan, Shibu Thilakan, Shobi Thilakan and daughters Sonia Thilakan and Sophia Thilakan.


Adharvam
(1989, dir. Dennis Joseph)
Thilakan plays Mekkadan. At imdb, Adwaith Menon of India explains the movie: "One of the classics of the very vivid Malayalam movie industry is this movie which is a life portrait of a man, Anantha Padmanabhan' (Mammootty), born to an aristocratic Brahmin father and a Shudra mother, that quickly learns and masters all 3 Vedas and allied arts of it. But sadly he and family goes through a whole lot of trouble as the narrow-minded Brahmin community finds out that the man is in love with an aristocratic girl, which ends up in tragedy upon Anantha's family. To seek revenge for his mother's death, the man learns ancient mystic tantric rituals and the 4th Veda (generally related to sorcery and stuff). He puts a menace on the whole society using his powers that he gained over years and his dad's second son is send to save the society and the village from the clutches of this austere man inflicted with vengeance."
Song and dance from Adharvam:

  
Manichithrathazhu
(1993, dir. Fazil)
Thilakan appears as "Brahmadattan Nampoothirippadu" in this ghost story, aka The Ornate Lock. Cinema Chaat explains: "Nakulan (Suresh Gopi) and his wife Ganga (Shobana) move in to his ancestral home, Madampilli house to live for a few months while Nakulan works in the area. The house is reputedly haunted by the vengeful ghost of a Tamil dancer Nagavalli and that of her murderer, the rich nobleman Sankaran Thampi. Their spirits are said to be held in a room of the mansion and the door is locked shut with the 'ornate lock' of the title. Ganga and Nakulan both disbelieve totally in such fanciful ideas, but Ganga is fascinated by the story of the doomed dancer and with the help of Nakulan's cousin Alli (Rudra) she contrives to open the room..."
When your house is haunted, sing:


Vellinakshatram
(2004, dir. Vinayan)
Let's sing and dance and make funny faces:
Despite the poster and song and dance above, this is a Malayalam horror film, going by the plot description we found online somewhere and the scene embedded below. Plot: "Vinod (Pritviraj) is in love with Aswathy (Karthika) a member of Lakshmipuram royal family, which has a lot of dark secrets. When Aswathy's mother refuses to get her married to Vinod she elopes and marries him. Just before the birth of their child, Vinod and Aswathy make up with the royal family consisting of two uncles (Jagathy and Jagathish) and their wives. Later a child is born to them and Aswathy dies mysteriously during the delivery. Her grandmother is bedridden by now. The baby is looked after by the members of the family who start thinking that the little girl is possessed. Meanwhile a home nurse Indu (Meenakshi) is brought to look after the girl. Later Indu also gets possessed by a spirit who is the 'Godmother' of the spirit inside the child!! Later on it is revealed that in the days of Tippu sultan a Keralite king had joined with the British and given and betrayed the wife of one of his most brave officer (whom he had ordered killed) to a British official and when she had refused he had killed her and buried her daughter with her alive. So the spirits inside indu..." Thilakan is there, too, somewhere...
Scary!!!!


Athisayan
(2007, dir. Vinayan)
Another fantasy from the director of Vellinakshatram; Thilakan is there, too, somewhere. Could it truly be.... a Malayalam version of The Hulk (2003 / trailer)?
Trailer:


Dhrona 2010
 (2010, dir. Shaji Kailas)
At imdb, Ajeesh Madhava Vijayan explains the film: "Kunjunni played by Mammootty buys a haunted Bunglaw in a village named 'Chembara'. And one day, Kunjunni gets killed. Everyone believes that it was because of the haunted mansion. His elder brother (Mammootty) returns to the village to seek the revenge and the mystery revealed." Thilakan is seen in the trailer.
Trailer:




Andy Williams
3 December 1927 – 25 September 2012
Like, we didn't even know he was still alive – but considering his politics in his later years, he was brain dead long before he died of bladder cancer at the age of 84 in Branson, Missouri, on 25 September 2012. One of the most popular easy listening singers of the 60s, as a member of the Williams Brothers quartet with his brothers he appeared in the background of an odd movie or two, but for as many Williams tunes that were played in movies, he himself only really acted in one.


I'd Rather Be Rich
(1964, dir. Jack Smight)
Andy Williams plays Warren Palmer in this piece of fluff from the director of Damnation Alley (1977 / trailer), The Illustrated Man (1969 / trailer) and No Way to Treat a Lady (1968 / first 7 minutes). A remake of It Started with Eve (1941 / first 9 minutes), Anonymous at imdb explains the plot: "A young heiress is summoned to the bedside of her dying grandfather. The man's last wish is to meet her fiance, but problems arise when the fiance is delayed and a young chemical engineer is persuaded to take his place. When the grandfather suddenly (and secretly) recovers, he uses the situation to his advantage – playing matchmaker in an attempt to ensure his granddaughter's happiness."
Robert Goulet & Andy Williams sing I'd Rather Be Rich:




Niki Linardou
1935 – 26 September 2012
Greek actress Niki Linardou died in Athens on September 26th, 2012, at the age of 73 after a short illness. Born in 1935, we here at A Wasted Life know nothing about her, but she had enough fans for someone to promptly put up a career review clip on Youtube.
Fan-made career review:




 
Alexis Solomos
1918 – 26 September 2012
Respected theatre director and playwright Alexis Solomos died at the age of 94 on 26 September 2012. Born in Athens, Solomos abandoned his law studies at Athens University to go into theatre. He studied at the National Theatre's Drama School, at London's Academy of the Dramatic and at Yale University and Piscator's Drama School. His forays into film were rare, and then it seems only as an actor and in Jules Dassin films.


Never on Sunday
(1960, dir. Jules Dassin)
Theme song:
Original title: Pote tin Kyriaki. Solomos plays "Noface" in this famous comedy – "What this young lady does six days a week she never does on Sunday. We won't tell you what it is, but we can't stop you from guessing." (Yes, ladies, prostitution is not only a career option, but it's fun and it'll make you a happy person and real men will respect you. But US American scholars are wet rags who will make you unhappy.)
Trailer:


A Dream of Passion
(1978, dir. Jules Dassin)
Original title, Kravgi gynaikon; Solomos appears somewhere in this art flick inspired by the Greek tragedy Medea, by Euripides – you know the story: a loving mum is dumped by her man so she kills their two children (and his new babe) in revenge. (It's what happened after Jason goes away with Medea and the Golden Fleece, as not told in Jason and the Argonauts [1963 / trailer]). According to Wikipedia, Dassin tells a slightly different story in his film: "The story follows Melina Mercouri as an actress playing Medea who seeks out a mother, portrayed by Ellen Burstyn, in jail for murdering her own children." Leonard Maltin says that the movie "is the kind of idea that should have never left the story conference." The movie was Melina Mercouri's last.
4.5 incomprehensible minutes from the film:




Johnny Lewis
29 October 1983 – 26 September 2012
Born on 29 October 1983 in Los Angeles, California, as the middle of the three kids of Divona (mum) and Michael (dad), Johnny Lewis later left the family religion (Scientology) after he found a new one, acting. He first found success on various TV shows that we never saw and then began getting supporting parts in the type of crappy films we like; he even dated Kate Perry for awhile, a year before she first began making a name for herself by mispronouncing the name "Mozart" in her song Ur So Gay.
Kate Perry mispronouncing "Mozart" as she sings about some guy:
Johnny Lewis had been having drug problems and legal run-ins for the recent past years. He was found dead on 26 September 2012 in Los Feliz in the driveway of his elderly landlord; she and her cat were found murdered inside the house.



Pretty Persuasion
(2005, dir. Marcos Siega)
Johnny Lewis plays "Warren Prescott" in this nasty but fun satire, the debut feature-length film of director Marcos Siega. Zuguide.com gives the plot as follows: "Kimberly Joyce (Evan Rachel Wood) is a sexy and manipulative Beverly Hills teenager who will stop at nothing to become famous. To achieve her goal, Kimberly accuses her drama teacher, Mr. Anderson (Ron Livingston), of sexual harassment."
Trailer:


Aliens vs Predator – Requiem
(2007, dir. Colin Strause & Greg Strause)
Johnny Lewis plays "Ricky" in the last film of the original Alien and Predator franchises. Everyone seems to have hated this flick, the début film of the Straus Brothers, who went on to make the fun, trashy but in the end disappointing and popular hit Skyline (2010 / trailer) three years later. We think that any film in which a chestburster is planted in a kid can't be all that bad – it's trash, fast and furious and stupid, but entertaining. The title says the plot, this time set in small town, USA. As is true in real life, the US government isn't there to help the citizens.
Trailer:


One Missed Call
(2008, dir. Eric Valette)
Johnny Lewis plays "Brian Sousa" – he dies. The original Japanese version of this flick – directed by the great Takashi Miike, the man who made Audition (1999) – wasn't very good, so while the remake really didn't add anything new it also wasn't in any way any worse: they both suck. The plot, as explained by Pop Matters: "In One Missed Call [...] Edward Burns plays a detective named Jack. He stumbles into a seeming serial murder case, where victims get phone calls from themselves in the future, the date and time emblazoned on their cell phone screens as they listen to their own terrified screams. [...] The primary victims are pretty college students, selected for no reason except their numbers are in each other's cells: as the scheme becomes apparent, they can become increasingly fearful, unable to stop their own horrific fates."
Trailer:


Felon
(2008, dir. Ric Roman Waugh)
Johnny Lewis plays "Snowman" in this film directed by Ric Roman Waugh, a stuntman – in The Blob (1988), among many films – who does an occasional directorial job (theoretically this is his third film, but his first – the direct to video Exit [1996 / trailer] – was released as an Alan Smithee film, so let's say Felon is his second d-job). Film Lair, which calls the film "A hard-hitting portrayal of life behind bars [and] a viciously effective little film," supplies the following plotline: "A loving family man with a promising future, Wade Porter (Stephen Dorff of Botched [2007]) suddenly loses everything when he accidentally kills the burglar who broke into his home. Convicted of involuntary manslaughter, Wade is sentenced to spend the next three years inside a maximum security facility where the rules of society no longer apply. Forced to share a cell with a notorious mass murderer (Val Kilmer of Mindhunters [2004]) and subjected to brutal beatings orchestrated by the sadistic head prison guard (Harold Perrineau), Wade soon realizes he's in for the fight of his life."
Trailer:


The Runaways
(2010, dir. Floria Sigismondi)
The real thing:
Johnny Lewis plays "Scottie" in this film about cute girls playing rock 'n' roll, the directorial feature length debut of a music video director. The plot? The rise and fall of the Runaways. Twitch Film says, "Based on the memoir Neon Angel: The Cherie Currie Story and executive produced by Joan Jett, this all-girl rock band biopic hits all the right notes in all the right places."
Trailer:


Lovely Molly
(2011, dir, Eduardo Sánchez)
Eduardo Sánchez, the co-director of The Blair Witch Project (1999), finds a little more found footage in this flick in which Johnny Lewis has a big role for a change, as "Tim" the hubby. The plot, according to Quiet Earth: "Soon after the newly-married Molly (Gretchen Lodge) and Tim (Lewis) move into Molly's childhood home, creepy noises begin to emanate nightly from the basement. Molly, an ex-junkie, knows her truck-driver husband can't afford to stay at home night after night, so she decides to be brave and deal with the increasingly unsettling phenomena, even though she suspects that her troubled family life may have left some dark psychological residue in the house. Night after night the events become more intense and exhausting, chipping away at her sanity and prompting her to return to drugs for fleeting comfort."
Trailer:





Uldis Stabulnieks
8 October 1945 – 27 September 2012
Latvian composer and singer Uldis Stabulnieks, born 8 October 1945 in Riga, died at the age of 66 on 27 September 2012 in Latvia. He composed the soundtrack to a couple of films.
Uldis Stabulnieks sings his toe-tapping international hit Tik un Tā:


Чужие страсти
(1983, dir. Janis Streics)
Aka Svesas kaislibas. Plot: "Послевоенная Латвия. На хутор кулачки Анны Валдманис возвращается красноармеец Антанас. Бывший батрак намерен стать хозяином своей жизни." Sounds exciting.
Full film in a foreign language:



заросшую канаву легко падать
(1986, dir. Janis Streics)
Aka Aizaugusa gravi viegli krist. Plot: "Фильм о нравственных проблемах, накопившихся в одном из колхозов Латвии, который до прихода нового парторга считался благополучным." Sounds exciting.
Film with Russian voiceover:


Этот странный лунный свет
(1987, dir. Gunars Cilinskis) 
Aka Divaina menesgaisma. Plot: "На латышском хуторе играют свадьбу. Иохан не принимает участия в общем веселье. Когда-то он покинул эти места, пообещав красавице Эрте вернуться. Эрта ждала Иохана и воспитывала Яниса, о котором он ничего не знал, — а теперь гуляет на свадьбе сына, вместе со всеми веселится и следит за тем, кого теперь ненавидит — боится, что тот испортит веселье. Но Иохан приехал именно к Янису, он должен сказать ему, что его ждет другая женщина, родившая от него ребенка..." Sounds exciting.

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