D.O.A.: A Rite of Passage (1980)

    If you’re anything like your’s cruelly (and if you are I recommend 48 hours of bed rest and 3 gallons of whiskey to rid yourself of that unfortunate malady) you dig on some good ol’ fashioned punk rock. Well let em tell ya buddy, this here release of D.O.A.: A Rite of Passage is gonna take you right back to those moldy-oldie days when spot faced creeps screamed in your face about the ultimate suckatude of the world and each and every rule of music (an common decency) was shattered like a gin bottle over the head of anyone that dared get in your way!

    D.O.A.: A Rite of Passage has it head and shoulders over other punk docs for a number of reasons. The most important thing this film does right, is to let the music speak for itself; songs play nearly in their entirety instead of constantly cutting back and forth from song clips to interview segments and (back again) like most film’s in this genre (and the line-up is pretty stellar featuring the Sex Pistols, X-Ray Spex, Generation X, Sham 69, and more!). Since music is the freakin’ focus of this pic, that’s kinda a big deal. We also get ample scenes of the vox populi chiming in about their feelings on the whole movement (from fans and opponents alike) and what it was like living in such a tumultous period in the U.K. (now is that freakin’ kid who both works and thieves sixteen or fifteen…I’m afraid we shall never know).

    Of course there are also multiple talks with the bands themselves (including multiple segments with Terry Sylvester of Terry and the Idiots), with the real standout being a longer version of the infamous bed interview with Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen which really hammers home how bleak some members of the  punk movement truly were (as well as how totally F’n glamorous it is to be a junkie…note the sarcasm there my creeps).

    As vital as D.O.A. is to any punk connoisseur, the extras MVD have tossed on this release make it even more of a must own! First up (and most importantly) you get Dead on Arrival: The Punk Documentary That Almost Never Was, a nearly two hour look at D.O.A.‘s creation. This companion piece is every bit as enthralling as the film it details the production of, and you find that D.O.A. was just as D.I.Y. and dicey (especially after Sex Pistols impresario Malcolm McLaren had a falling out with the film’s producer and refused to let any footage be shot on their infamous U.S. tour…which of course the film maker’s did anyway) as punk itself…also, two great music docs for the price of one? Who the hell wouldn’t see that as a frickin’ value?!! After that we get an image gallery and the film’s trailer.

    Raw, raucous, and totally enthralling, D.O.A.: A Rite of Passage is an essential film for any lover of punk rock to possess and should not be missed!

    Pulp (1972)

    -Guest Review by Shane Migliavacca

    Mickey King (Michael Caine) is an author of pulp fiction under various pseudonyms living in Italy. One day he’s approached by a man called Dinuccio and offered a large sum of money to ghost write an autobiography for a mysterious benefactor. He’s sent on a long bus trip to Malta, on which he’s told he’ll be contacted by this mystery subject’s associate…a leggy brunette. She takes him to the home of the book’s subject…Preston Gilbert (Mickey Rooney), an actor in old gangster films who has rumored ties to the mob. Gilbert dictates his memoirs to King in a week’s time. Afterwards at a big celebration, a hitman dressed as a priest takes out Gilbert and a few bystanders trying to get King as well. On the lam, King realizes that whomever sent the hitman suspects Gilbert may have shared one secret too many with him. To save his own life, King has to piece together who’s after him and why.

    Pulp is a schizo film. With King’s biting voice over narration and the antics at the film’s start you’d think you were in for a screwball comedy, but it’s not. The characters are all assholes of one variety or another…there’s nobody we can give a crap about…and Gilbert’s big secret we find out later in the film, well it’s pretty damn dark. So, the film was a little hard to latch onto. It looks great; there’s some amazing locales, the actors are top notch…it’s just that tone…it’s like death metal sung by Tiny Tim.

    Let’s talk extras! On this one you get brand freaking new 2K restoration from original film elements, new interviews with writer-director Mike Hodges, director of photography Ousama Rawi, assistant director John Glen, Tony Klinger (son of producer Michael Klinger), and the film’s theatrical trailer.

    I guess, in a word, you could call Pulp “odd”. I loved Caine and director Mike Hodges’ previous collaboration Get Carter, but Pulp is nowhere as good as that…but Caine and Hodges are enough here to keep your interest. If you’re a fan of them, or weird 70’s films, or just want to see Mickey Rooney go full on crazy, then I recommend Pulp.

    Rendel: Dark Vengeance (2017)

    After a rather intense opening narration where our hero, Rendel, basically lays it on the line that he is going to tear every criminal he meets a brand new asshole, we learn about the VALA corporation and their shady vaccine business before cutting to some gangsta shit (also involving VALA) getting broken up (along with a score of criminal faces) by our viciously violent pal Big R (with some help from his ethereal blonde muse). Time passes, VALA gets super pissed that Rendel keeps harshing their gig, and action is taken…namely the assembly of a team of crazy hitmen gathered to take our hero down. Outrageous levels of violence ensue.

    Rendel is a nice alternative to the high adventure cape and spandex yarns currently dominating pop culture. While Rendel does wear a superhero costume of sorts, he is silent, violent (there’s that word again…notice a theme?), and completely driven to destroy the VALA corporation (with very good reason, but i’m not givin’ that away here), and his lovely, lethal femme fatale sidekick is in all ways his psychotic equal (also with good reason, and also mums the F’n word from your’s cruelly). But everything isn’t all grim-dark, teeth gnashing gloom in this picture, as the criminal element, while dangerous and murderous, is full of tension breaking (and actually funny) humor as they bicker and argue over everything from hot dogs to the meaning of the phrase “take care of him”. Trust me, with a dude like Rendel runnin’ around, these moments are needed and offer the picture a great sense of balance. Also of note are the ultra-arty cinematography (especially the striking use of color), strong comic book style storytelling, and the excellent acting. Finally, the soundtrack features a song by the Rasmus…I love those dudes, so bonus points there!

    I’d mention negatives here usually, but man…I just loved this film to pieces…it was a visual, action-packed delight that hit me like Rendel’s fists straight to my eyeballs! seriously, thank you Jesse Haaja for shaking the stale superhero genre up (now, how about getting this cat a Punisher episode to direct)!

    So the flick is pretty damn tight and out of sight, but what of the extras? Well, you get a multi-part,  “making-of” documentary, a “proof of concept” short, a teaser cooked up for the film’s crowdsourcing campaign, and a video for that aforementioned the Rasmus song; Wonderman.

    If you are a fan of The Punisher or The Crow you can’t afford to sleep on Rendel Dark Vengeance; it’s hyper-violent, hyper-stylized, and just plain fun to watch (even when it’s dark as fuck)…see this one as soon as you can!

    Daniel XIII
    Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

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