Wednesday, September 26, 2012

David Bowie - "The Calm Before The Storm: Under Review 1969-1971" DVD

Bowie's career has been examined, re-examined, and dissected so many times, I wasn't sure if I'd seen this one yet. But fortunately not, as it's a fine critical look at a particular era in Bowie's early career.

Looking predominantly at "Space Oddity", "The Man Who Sold The World", and "Hunky Dory", this 65-minute documentary includes all the Sexy Intellectual requisites: interviews with former bandmates, journalists, critics, and a wealth of rare footage and photos. Bowie's early career found him exploring a number of different paths, and this trio of albums leading up to the Ziggy Stardust & Berlin days transformed the former David Jones into a stage chameleon who managed to confound both fans and critics throughout his long and storied career. Not intended as a comprehensive bio of the man, "The Calm Before The Storm" is an extended look at a distinctly transformative time in the life of a transformative icon. I enjoyed this one, and any serious Bowie fan should see it. (Sexy Intellectual)

"The Early Films Of John Holmes" 2xDVD

This recently-reissued set of early Holmes hardcore films provides nary a hint of the maniac "Mr. 13-And-A-Half" later became, as he plunged into substance abuse and unstable (and criminal) behavior. On the contrary, Holmes here had only marginal roles in these films, and his reserved behavior was in contrast to what was to come. But that's a tale for another time. We're here to review, so we shall.

This trio of fairly forgettable early-to-mid-70s pornos begins with "S.M.A.S.H.", or alternately titled "How To Get Hung" -- a weird and incongruous cornucopia of hospital-themed escapades. Co-starring supposedly well-known early porn goddess Judy Angel (as a prudish nurse), there are some decent scenes (but very little with our man Holmes). Deserving of mention, though, is the rather shocking sex-change "skit" that stupefies even today. I can't say more, but it is weird and well-done, especially on such a shoestring budget.

Second in this set is "Benny's Bungles", which begins as an affirmation of the era itself...shag carpets, turtlenecks, and polyester. Holmes stars as "Benny" -- a weirdo who collects morbid torture devices. Not that he uses them here, as it's a common 70s era set of wife-swapping orgies and madness (likely fueled by some illegal chemicals). Ho hum. Or is that hoes and hum(mers)?

Third and last in this set is "New Girl In Town", which is a groovy early 70s skin flick with little going for it, really. The initial acting and dialogue is diabolically bad. I did, nonetheless, enjoy a shamefully unidentified raven-haired, large-breasted lass (NOT Judy Angel) in her "performance", though (making up for her shameful "acting"). As well, the soundtrack here is a high point, believe it or not! Less gaudy and intrusive than others of its era, this one includes some moody classical and theatrical sounds, rather than the staple funky stuff. 

Another plus of this "lengthy" (hahah!) collection is a series of similar smut-minded trailers that After Hours Cinema filled disc B with. Nice touch! A couple of these I wouldn't mind seeing. Overall, I'd say a solid set for Holmes fans, or collectors of seventies porn, but others will see as little more than a novelty due to Holmes' legendary size and status. (After Hours Cinema)

Neomythics - "New Corporate Resistance" CD

Well-done indie rock here, with plenty of melody and a keen sense of humor and cynicism. Apparently consisting of several veteran players (from Wide Hive Players and Variable Unit), Neomythics' debut begins with the spiky power pop of "Leah", and continues through the bouncy "Barefoot Blackout" and the commentary of "Brackish (Talk Radio)". Good music here, with something to say. (Ex-Fed Records)