So once again we have survived.

Brazilian Brawl

"Brothers, we need to have a serious talk."
“Brothers, we have to have a serious talk.”

Once again browsing the action section in a video store has led me to a strange movie that I never heard of before. This way of life is rapidly crumbling. When everything is piped into our faces on demand we won’t have to stick with our risky bets. We’ll click on something and if it seems shitty we’ll click on something else and not give it a chance to turn interesting. In fact, we’ll probly just turn it off and watch porn instead. So we will never see BRAZILIAN BRAWL.

But in my world, where you gotta actually go outside, travel to a building, pick out the movies to watch and physically transport them back to your home, you’re gonna invest the time to try to give the thing a chance. And you are gonna watch BRAZILIAN BRAWL from beginning to end (about one hour) because you could not resist renting the movie with the cover that shows a guy doing a flying kick with two guns and the words “STARRING THE WORLD FAMOUS MARTIAL ARTS MASTERS THE MACHADO BROTHERS. THESE HOMBRES THROW DOWN.”

The hombres that throw down are indeed from a legendary family of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu masters. The Machados were originally taught by the Gracies, the family that started the Ultimate Fighting Championship and accidentally invented mixed martial arts. This movie features all five Machado brothers: Carlos, Roger, Rigan, Jean Jacques and John. But mainly three of them (I’m not sure which ones).

mp_brazilianbrawlOne thing you should know: this does not seem like a real movie. It seems like something somebody made on a couple weekends in their backyard. Not film students or hungry wannabe filmatists, but people who just decided for some reason to try making a movie, the same way you would try to build a new deck or something. But you’d probly be better at making the deck. We all know how to accept stiff acting and cliches in action movies, but this goes beyond that. It’s the oldest cliches just slopped on with a shovel and not even fleshed out into an actual plot. It’s terrible dialogue, amateurish acting and beginner camerawork. The kind of thing that makes Kevin Smith’s movies look like Stanley Kubrick’s. So this is not a real action movie. There’s no getting around laughing at it.

It starts with footage of the brothers with students at their Jiu Jitsu school in Rio, when they get word that their uncle in California has been killed in a fake looking barn explosion. So three of them get sent to the farm to “settle the problems there.” That means not only finding out who did it and killing them, but also hiring new farmhands and shit like that. Later they get arrested for some bullshit. They’re in jail but need to hire some workers, so it’s kind of like MR. MAJESTYK, except way less awesome.

The corrupt Sheriff (Matt Hall) looks like some kind of fighter or wrestler, but I can’t find anything about him if he is. He’s in the pocket of none other than #1 Clint Eastwood sidekick Geoffrey Lewis, who yells at him from an office. You might wonder how they got a real actor like Lewis to come in and film a couple scenes, but then you notice that he actually wrote it! I wasn’t sure about that at first ’cause he’s credited as “Jeoffery Lewis,” but it really is him. I can’t find any explanation of how he got involved. I couldn’t find any references to him studying Jiu-Jitsu. He did hang out with those capoeria guys in ONLY THE STRONG, that’s the only connection I can find between him and Brazilian martial arts.

The other biggest star is Dan Inosanto as the dead uncle. He doesn’t do much, but it’s a good blessing to have Bruce Lee’s disciple, aka “Sticks” from OUT FOR JUSTICE, aka “The Old Man” from REDBELT, in your movie. I guess also there’s a guy named Rikki Rockett, from some band, but personally I’m more excited about the guy who knew Bruce Lee. That’s how I am.

still_brazilianbrawlThe funniest aspect is just seeing the Machado brothers stand or strut around together. It’s three musclemen who look very similar and who enjoy finding excuses to take their shirts off. They’re almost like the Barbarian Brothers except there’s three of them. Their absurd larger-than-lifeness is strengthened by their theme song which is repeated a couple times and goes “Bad boys, bad boys, bad boys from Brazil!”

(At one point in the song there’s a Rammelzee-esque  rapper. I don’t understand one of his pop culture references: “Takin’ out suckers coast to coast like… what’s ‘is face in GHOST.” Which character in GHOST takes out suckers?)

You get lots of those weird moments of awkward storytelling, like when somebody asks where their uncle is and one of them says “He’s right over there,” and it cuts to sped-up footage of clouds moving. And somehow the guy knows that means he’s dead.

They got funny lines, sometimes in subtitled Portuguese. When they’re discussing that somebody blew up their uncle one of them says, “What we need to do is catch the snakes that did this… And cut their heads off!”

The brother who seems to be the leader (John?) thinks about that and then responds, “Yes and no…”

The fights do use some Jiu Jitsu moves, which if you’re not familiar is mainly on-the-floor wrestling with chokes and bone-breaking arm and leg locks. There are alot of armbars, so that’s different from most action movies, but the way it’s performed and shot it mostly looks like some dudes fucking around and fake punching each other.

There is a fight in a jail cell where one of the brothers bites off a guy’s ear. The sheriff sits and watches the fight lustily, but is not diabolical enough to think of starting an UNDISPUTED-style inmate fight circuit. I guess it would be harder to organize in a holding cell.

The script doesn’t really stick with a martial arts theme at all. Suddenly the brothers dig into a weapons cache, take off their shirts, put on holsters and war paint. Good timing too, ’cause the sheriff and a bunch of thugs show up at the ranch and there’s a big siege.

They all shoot at each other and all of them are just absolutely terrible, everybody misses each other over and over again. A dude in camo and a white headband awkwardly spins nunchakas. Suddenly it cuts to one of the brothers in a house fighting somebody that a guy on the IMDb bulletin boards thought was Oleg Taktarov. It really looks like his physique and I thought he might be right at first, but it’s some other guy. Still, that seemed like the most realistic fight, kind of like MMA practice in somebody’s living room.

Outside, after several minutes of everybody shooting off bullets with no effect, suddenly they shoot down most of the bad guys one after the other. And that’s about it.

The copyright on the movie says 2003, but there’s a computer monitor in it that sure doesn’t look like what you would use in 2003. Turns out the movie was shot in 1997 under the title BAD BOYS FROM BRAZIL. It seems like one of those home made movies, usually horror, that come out of some small town somewhere by a first and last time director. But believe it or not at the time it was shot director Leo Fong had already done five movies, starting with 1985’s 24 HOURS TO MIDNIGHT starring Cynthia Rothrock.

So I was real confused about what the fuck was going on here, but luckily John Machado has a youtube channel and he sort of explains it there. He says that Leo Fong brought Arnold Schwarzenegger into his school, he fought Arnold, Arnold told him he should make a movie with his brothers. Then after Machado saw EL MARIACHI he thought he could do a movie like that. But he admits “we were all white belts in the film making.”

It would be cool to see them star in a real movie made by, say, a purple or brown belt. But this one’s pretty funny. They take out alot of suckers. And it’s short enough to sit through pretty easy.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Friday, August 5th, 2011 at 1:41 am and is filed under Action, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

34 Responses to “Brazilian Brawl”

  1. About the “coast to coast Ghost” thing: Maybe he was talking about that Adult Swim show “Space Ghost Coast To Coast”, which was some kind of fake talk show with cartoon character.

  2. Must be a reference to Patrick Swayze, who starred in a movie called Ghost but also took out suckers in actionmovies like Road House and Point Break.

    Im not sure that Space Ghost ever killed anybody, but it was still an amazing talkshow.

  3. I knew a guy that was a guest on Space Ghost Coast To Coast once, I’m dead serious, he was the owner of a pest control service that operated out of Atlanta and owned a house in my neighborhood that he lived at for some of the year and because Williams Street studios is located in Atlanta he somehow wound up on the show

    I’m also friends with one of the members of the band Say Anything

    anyway sorry, I just had too get that off my chest, are these Bad Boys From Brazil clones of Hitler by any chance? will they be discovered by Steve Guttenberg?

  4. Funny, the opening to this review talks about some of the same things my brother and I were talking about yesterday. He’d been having a discussion about what it means to have “artistic integrity” and then we started talking about how it seems like now there is and should be more of a shift to talking about “audience integrity”, because of how the audience’s access to cool or not so cool stuff people make has changed so much. As Vern said better, when you have to put forth effort to be enabled to see a movie (or book or song or whatever else), you tend to put more effort into experiencing that movie. You tend to want to put forth mental effort to focus on it, as opposed to giving up on it after a few minutes if you have a thousand other movies that you can instantly choose from. Or porn. Netflix seems to be reflective of the desire for instant gratification by doing things like not letting you pick a higher streaming quality that might have a longer waiting time to view, but rather automatically streams their movies at whatever speed your internet happens to be at the moment, which can make its movie streaming quality needlessly shitty for the sake of getting the shit through you faster. Like diarrhea. It’s obvious things can’t go back to the way they were, and things that can be based around instant gratification in the internet age can be the same tools that let you find stuff that would otherwise not be on your radar, and be a force for good. I guess I just hope I can try to make decisions based on being a good audience to what I take in, as opposed to getting to where I’m not giving things a fair shot in the name of trying to take in every cool thing ever made. That’s not physically possible, and I’ve heard it suggested that an attention peak has been reached in which there is more content people are trying to sell us than there is human quantities of attention to receive it. So maybe I need to depend on good filters for presenting me with things I would likely particularly dig more than I do on maintaining the ability to access limitless content. Which can be hard to do for the type of person who wants to collect every scrap of each thing they love, who wants all the B-sides and bootlegs. But I want to be conscious of evaluating that choice to go down the rabbit hole rather than just doing it without thinking all the time.

  5. I’ve had this movie on my shelf like three years and never got around to it. Like Vern, I was lured by the cover image of the jump-kicking dual pistolero, as any right-thinking individual would be. Now that I know it’s only an hour long it just got bumped up on the to-watch list.

    But let’s face it, everything’s way less awesome than MR. MAJESTYK.

  6. Jareth Cutestory

    August 5th, 2011 at 7:44 am

    Netflix is just getting started in Canada, so we haven’t yet seen the effect it will have on video stores once it catches on with the general population.

    Here in Toronto there are a few video stores that are absolutely thriving, mostly because they’re run by film geeks for film geeks. They seem to have decided to focus their business on serious film obsessives and make no consessions to refugee customers fleeing the aftermath of Blockbuster’s collapse. These are the kinds of stores that organize their movies by director. They bring in more copies of 13 ASSASSINS to rent or buy than they do TWILIGHT. And they write those mocking notes and attach them to mainstream stuff (one store’s copy of I KNOW WHO KILLED ME has a quote from Vern’s review sticky-noted to the cover: “Avant Retarde” – Outlaw Vern).

    I don’t know how much of this is all in my head, but I think these kinds of stores serve to organize a loose community. You can tell that some guys enjoy
    just hanging around browsing (myself included), starting up casual but highly specialized conversations with like-mindedcustomers. I don’t know if a physical space is a necessary component of participating in this community, but I’m pretty sure I’ll miss it if it disappears.

  7. Jareth Cutestory

    August 5th, 2011 at 7:47 am

    Majestyk: What exactly is the right amount of awesome? Sometimes you must feel like you’re wearing too much.

  8. You’re right, Jareth. Awesome is like cologne: Slather on too much and it becomes off-putting.

    It’s a problem I struggle with every day.

  9. Jareth – That video store seems amazing. May it prosper long and thrive.

    I truly believe a physical space like this is a requirement for such a community to thrive. After all, it’s awesome to confer with film buffs from across the world on the net but, chances are, you’d be insulating yourself from the cool geeks in your own neighborhood. You might go to a theatre to see the latest Miike film and be surrounded by like-minded, potential friends for life but remain anonymous in the dark for lack of a communal third place to meet and shake hands and laugh together over the box art on some forgotten VHS title, only to discover, after watching it together on another guy’s old player (with the analogue clock and the flip top tape slot) that the movie actually ruled and you guys shared the discovery and start pimping it at the same store you found it in and bringing others into the fold because that’s what humans are meant to do.

  10. “I can’t find any explanation of how he got involved. I couldn’t find any references to him studying Jiu-Jitsu.”
    Maybe Clyde from the ANY WHICH WAY movies knows BJJ?

  11. Jareth – first of all, I’m honored to hear that I’m quoted on that one video cover. I hope it’s clear that was meant as a compliment.

    We still have a few stores like that, and one really big one, and I love it. I’ve heard of stores like that in L.A. and Portland. But it’s my understanding that many or most of them are barely surviving. We used to have alot more of them, and I know there are many cities that have none left. One of the most famous ones in the country, Kim’s Video in New York, I believe sold off their collection to a library in Italy or something a year or two ago.

    Some of us older people are never gonna switch over to streaming our movies. We have our pride. And maybe with the Hollywoods and Blockbusters gone more of us will make the trip to the remaining indie stores to replace customers they’ve lost to Netflix and iTunes and jacking off to free porn. But the question is how long that number of people is gonna be able to spend enough money for the stores to be profitable or even break even. I hope it’s a sustainable business, but I don’t know how long it can be.

    I’ve actually been thinking about a column that deals with some of these issues, so I won’t get too in it. But the point is, enjoy it while it lasts. And I would like to know what Mr. Majestyk thinks about this movie after he watches it.

  12. I actually just started it, Vern. I took the day off to deal with some legal issues (mafia fucking with my workers, you know how it is) but I’m squeezing in this bad boy (from brazil) as well.

  13. Good stuff Vern, articles like this about movies like that are what keeps me coming back.

  14. speaking of video stores, to give you an idea of what the situation is like in smaller towns, in my town in the 90’s there were literally about a dozen of them, a few chains like blockbuster and Movie Gallery, but most of them were mom and pop and my mom would visit all of them (and take me along too)

    the mom and pop ones died pretty quickly with the start of the 00’s, but Blockbuster and Hollywood video prevailed until Hollywood closed and now just a few months ago the Blockbuster (which has been there for 20 years) closed down too

    there is now only 1 left, some mom and pop store next to a sex shop and it’s probably not long for the world, but of course we have a few Redboxs, yippee

    so yeah I get nostalgic for those things as well, I think pretty much everyone of my generation had the experience of walking through the horror section and get the shit scared out of them (and if your parents let you and you were hardcore enough, you actually rented them)

  15. Okay, so I liked it, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t start thinking about something else a few times during the multiple scenes where the brothers Rocha (which it should come as no surprise means “rock.” Also, I’m not entirely sure the makers of the DVD cover were aware that Brazilians don’t speak Spanish, since “hombre” is “homem” in Portuguese) are just trying to harvest their crops (did we ever find out what they were growing?) and some dudes come by to hassle them but they can’t because the Rock Brothers are just too tough, so the bad dudes go complain to Geoffrey Lewis in his office that’s just some white walls with one little framed picture of nothing in particular hanging on it. I think they used those same four walls for the restaurant set, but they threw some sawdust on the floor because that is apparently a thing that happens in California. But I liked the big setpiece at the end. I liked that it used those hills that look like the exterior shots on M*A*S*H, and I’m a fan of the “multiple action vignette” style of climax. It reminded me of BORN TO FIGHT and THOU SHALT NOT KILL…EXCEPT.

  16. Griff,

    It’s interesting you say that because the progression was kind of the same where I grew up, except shifted by about eight years. When I was a kid, back in the mid to late 80s, our family would rent from a mom n’ pop rental store. They would give you a free bag of freshly popped popcorn if you rented three movies (nice gimmick) and they had a good weekend deal.

    I can still remember the layout of that place. There was the main section, with a surprisingly large horror section (which is why my mom loved it), the kids section, which eventually got NES games as well (we must’ve rented TRON half a dozen times, along with an Italian cartoon whose theme song I still remember even though I haven’t seen it in 20 years), and that mysterious room off to the side, lit with the red light bulb, that no kids were allowed in and was probably their biggest moneymaker.

    The place went out of business in the early 90s as the Blockbusters and Hollywoods rolled in. I picked up a few tapes and some truly awful NES games (Hydlide? Milon’s Secret Castle? What was I thinking?) with my meager funds as the owner told us he couldn’t compete and was going to get into the hot tub business. No clue how it turned out for him.

    That said, by the late 90s I didn’t really miss places like that, because Blockbuster had four times the selection and kept better hours. And I don’t miss Blockbuster either, now that Netflix is around. I like talking about movies but can satisfy those urges here or with my friends in meatspace.

  17. Somebody sent me a link to this great Onion AV Club article:

    http://www.avclub.com/articles/the-convenience-trap-what-the-changes-at-netflix-r,59829/

    It hits on some of the same points we were talking about here, plus some things I was gonna say in the column I mentioned, plus plenty of stuff I am not smart enough to have come up with.

  18. Jareth Cutestory

    August 5th, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    Vern: I’m pretty sure the staff of the store in question got the gist of your remark about Ms. Lohan’s film; after all, SEAGOLOGY made the top ten in the store’s List of Things That Didn’t Suck In 2008 (if I remember correctly, your book ranked somewhere between THE WRESTLER and Obama).

    Apparently Netflix just reached the million-subscriber mark in Canada, so I guess it’s safe to say that it has caught on. Interestingly, it’s Walmart that is suffering the most, as there is so much overlap in product offered by the two companies.

    The remaining video stores have been in the process of adopting a strategy similar to the better independent music stores: stock the shelves with obscure shit you can’t get anywhere else like vinyl and collector’s editions, become a cool place to be by having musicians perform, work some memorabilia type stuff into the stock, ensure that the staff really know their shit. One store here in town, Suspect Video, had Argento spend some time signing stuff for customers. I don’t see Netflix getting that any time soon.

    Personally, I’m going down with the ship. If I can’t rent a movie at my favorite shop or see it in a theater, I’m not going to bother. There isn’t anything about Netflix or online movies that doesn’t irritate me. Of course, I’m not buying a cell phone either, high definition can go fuck itself, and I can only just barely tolerate compact discs, so I’m pretty much ground zero for the luddite perspective.

  19. I remember a percentage of the shelf space at the local Hollywood Video was taken up by DTV B-movies, some of them action, but most of them horror

  20. Damn, Jareth sounds like he’s living in a mud hut in Ireland or something. With a DVD player, at least.

  21. including this gem of a movie http://www.imdb.com/media/rm156406528/tt0445025

    and Jareth, “high definition can go fuck itself”? surely you jest, that’s a modern trend that’s actually a good thing

  22. I’m probably gonna have to cancel my Netflix account

    it’s expensive already and I just can’t afford it going up even further in price

    I may or may not keep the streaming, but ya know the quality is pretty shitty, I usually only use it for stuff like documentaries, anime or stuff I don’t really care about, if it’s a movie I do care about I get the blu ray, the streaming quality used to be a lot better though, no idea why Netflix decided to shit it up

    still, it’ll be a shame to have no way to rent movies anymore, but on the plus side the money I save can be used to just buy movies off Amazon (which are usually dirt cheap anyway) and then you have them forever

  23. Jareth Cutestory

    August 6th, 2011 at 12:15 am

    Griff: I haven’t yet seen a HD setup in a store that didn’t make the movie look fake (that is, even more fake than most movies already look these days). I watched ten minutes of Abrams’ STAR TREK in a store recently and couldn’t believe how tacky, ugly and artificial it looked. The last time we had this discussion the smarter folks on this board suggested that the stores probably didn’t set their systems up properly. But really, my eyes just haven’t adapted to this new aesthetic, and I doubt they ever will. I work with film and I love film. High definition and digital seem to me to be hell bent of stripping film of everything I like about it, the grain, the quality of natural light, the imperfections, much in the way that digital music seems determined to compress all the breath out of music.

    Besides, I watch more Guy Maddin and Fritz Lang than I do Pixar. Who needs HD to watch Guy Maddin?

  24. well Jareth, I usually watch older films on blu ray and they look great, you like film grain? well with rare exceptions the transfers keep the film grain

  25. Well, sure, STAR TREK looked tacky, ugly, and artificial, but it was that way in the theater too

  26. Griff is right. For the most part, film grain in those old titles is dutifully maintained in HD. My copy of the FRENCH CONNECTION, while sporting some unfortunate color timing, displays the original grain in it’s full glory (especially during night shots). There was a trend some time ago to eliminate all grain from those old movies but cooler heads (and vocal consumers) prevailed and now grain is something to be heralded.

  27. Jareth Cutestory

    August 6th, 2011 at 8:57 am

    I enjoyed the article that you linked to, Vern. It pretty much describes my experience with this new media.

    Any film I’ve ever tried to watch online looked all jagged and pixelly, like a Seurat painting slipping off the canvas. It skipped and froze and sometimes the sound didn’t sync up with the visuals. Often aspect ratios were wrong. Maybe this isn’t a big issue for people who watch films on small devices like iPads or laptops.

    The actual physical sound that music and movies makes is important to me. I don’t need to hear it on a state of the art sound system, but the sound has to fill the room. The various components of the sound design need a degree of separation, otherwise, to me, it’s just noise. I’ve never come across a computer set up that successfully produced the effect I like. And I’ve never seen a home theater that was as good as an actual theater.

    For me, digitally rendered music isn’t music. Music being played on an iPod or through a sound file or docking station is more like an approximation of music, like a police artist’s sketch. It sounds tinny and thin and compressed, and nothing is in the proper proportion. I’m willing to admit that this is some sort of defect on my part.

    Not long ago Amazon got in trouble for selling an electronic version of a George Orwell book that they didn’t have the rights to. As a result, they had to stop selling it. They also had to zap all the copies of the books that they already sold, which they were able to do quite easily, regardless of whether or not the customer’s electronic book device was plugged into a computer. The technology is available for a company to reach into a home computer (and all it’s remote devices) and take away movies that were purchased and shipped electronically. I can’t imagine this is something anyone would want.

    Also, I’m not going to read a book that requires batteries. That’s just lame.

    And where the hell are people storing all this shit? My computer is constantly telling me that I’m running out of storage space. I can’t imagine the paraphernalia people need to keep all their electronic movies.

    The article predicts that the DVD rental aspect of Netflix will probably disappear. I’m actually glad to hear that. It will give actual physical stores an advantage. I could never get my head around the idea of a “queue.” It’s just inconceivable to me that people ship their rentals through the mail. I’d need an intern to keep all that straight.

    I can see the day when customers are billed for their internet use by the minute in the same way that they’re billed for long distance calls. From what I can see, younger people are okay with paying $200 monthly cell phone bills, and probably wouldn’t complain too much if their internet was calculated in the same way. I’m way too cheap to let my internet bill ever get that high. I’ve lived in the same building for years, and am subject to an internet plan that doesn’t exist for new customers: $20 per month unlimited. That’s about as much as I think the internet is worth.

    I can appreciate that the new media has opened a whole new world of film for people who live in remote areas. Our taste and our identity are often defined by the availability of certain experiences, so anything that allows more access, more choice has to be a good thing, at least in part. But there’s no way I’d let what Netflix offers be the end in itself; the product is too crappy and the choice too slim.

  28. I don’t use Netflix, but I don’t really see a huge problem with instant access. How is the “convenience trap” any different from what people used to have with their local Blockbuster or HBO? People have always determined their viewing habits by what is available at the moment. Now they just have way more movies available. Would BATTLE ROYALE have been as widely seen in America without Netflix, considering it has never had a Region 1 release? I highly doubt it. Obviously true movie lovers would not be satisfied with just Netflix’s catalog but for your average viewer it is more than enough.

    Also, Jareth, were you complaining about shooting in HD or about HD for home viewing? Because I can understand the former (I don’t like the daytime soap opera look a lot of HD movies have) but I don’t understand the latter. Blu-ray is as close as you can get to projecting film in your house unless you have the money for actual film prints and projectors in which case that is probably the route to go.

  29. Jareth Cutestory

    August 6th, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    Jake: If I understand the article correctly, convenience is a “trap” because you’re making your “choices” within the prescribed availability of what Netflix wants you to see. If Netflix had every single film, this wouldn’t be a problem, but, the article argues, stuff like documentaries are sorely lacking. I think the article is trying to establish a comparison between Netflix today and Walmart 20 years ago. No one who bought all their music at Walmart ever became a punk rocker.

    The article also seemed to have some weird notion that your attention span would get eroded away if you tried to watch a challenging art film when PAUL BLART was just one click away. I don’t really buy that argument.

    Did BATTLE ROYALE not have a region 1 release? I wonder what the hell it was that I rented from my local store. It seemed like region 1. It was all deluxe and stuff.

    It’s mostly the stuff shot in HD I have a problem with, though I saw a Criterion blu ray version of THE THIRD MAN that looked kind of waxy.

  30. Yeah, that’s sort of how I read the article but it seems like the same issues of availability have always existed. Your choices were limited to what your local rental place had in stock. Or what HBO wanted to play, which explains why I have seen WEEKEND AT BERNIE’S multiple times. I doubt I would have seen it more than once if I’d had Netflix’s library at my fingertips.

    I misspoke when I said Region 1, I meant US. It’s possible it’s had a Canadian release. There was also a region free NTSC UK release to capitalize on the lack of US release.

    It’s weird, I’d heard a complaint like that about Criterion’s THIRD MAN blu-ray before but it looks great to me. Are you sure the TV you watched it on didn’t have some of the horrible video processing effects on? My HDTV looked pretty terrible before I went through and turned off all those “features.”

  31. Jareth Cutestory

    August 6th, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    I’m pretty sure that most of the problems with older films that have been rejigged into HD are just something I’ve invented in my head, or, like you said, something to do with improper set up of the equipment. It took me a long time to get used to CDs and DVDs too. To this day many pieces of music that I first heard on vinyl still doesn’t sound right on CD. I’m not going to bother making the jump from DVD to HD.

    But the stuff shot in HD or on digital cameras does look really bad to me, in the same way I find music played on an iPod or through a computer unlistenable.

    My biggest complaint about Netflix is really that I won’t sit in front of my computer to watch a movie, and I’m not going to install some new system that pipes my internet connection into a television. I’m not impressed with their choices either. I just went and checked their site: half of Wong Kar-Wai’s stuff isn’t available (including CHUNGKING EXPRESS); only one Jarmusch film is available, and only 3 Miike films; no SCHIZOPOLIS, no FIST OF LEGEND, BLUE VELVET or MULHOLLAND DR, no ON DEADLY GROUND or ROBOGEISHA. And those are just a few obvious choices off the top of my head. It’s difficult to justify spending money on a service that has so little of what I want to watch, and that insists some Natalie Portman romantic comedy is a suitable substitution for FALLEN ANGELS. Screw that noise.

    I was, however, highly amused that Netflix seems to think DROP DEAD DIVA is a reasonable substitute for MULHOLLAND DR.

  32. Mr. Doctor, any more Ireland disparaging and we’ll have Rawhead Rex on your case.

  33. Jareth Cutestory

    August 6th, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    And if that doesn’t scare you, they got Jennifer Musa just waiting.

    http://www.badassoftheweek.com/musa.html

  34. I noticed that the one thing, where HD really looks unbelievable gorgeous and really like a huge leap forward from the already great DVD picture, is animation. Doesn’t matter if we are talking about a big budget CGI movie like TANGLED or a hand drawn TV production like THE VENTURE BROS: animated stuff looks stunningly beautiful in HD.

    Netflix: We don’t have it here (yet?), but we got some other DVD mailing rentals, that also slowly start to offer VoD. I use the mailing option pretty much only for old movies and TV series, because my real life DVD store is really just across the street and new movies are almost always available there. Unfortunately they don’t have much of that older stuff, so to fill some gaps in my movie (or TV) knowledge, I have to get that per mail.

    I haven’t tried the VoD options, though. My flatscreen TV is already in use as my standard computer monitor (apparently all new flatscreen TVs can be hooked up to your computer with a normal monitor cable), so that wouldn’t be the problem. It’s just that they don’t offer many good movies on VoD (mostly ultra cheap DTV schlock that nobody has ever heard about and the occasional Mockbuster here and there, but I can see them every week on TV for free) and that I MUST use Windows to view them (thanks to DRM and shit. I’m a Linux user.).

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