The Bootleg Files: Know Your Ally – Britain

BOOTLEG FILES 740: “Know Your Ally – Britain” (1944 U.S. War Department documentary).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

On public domain labels.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: The absence of a copyright allows anyone to make dupes.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: It’s been on DVDs featuring wartime documentaries.

In 1944, the U.S. War Department (the forerunner of today’s Department of Defense) produced “Know Your Ally – Britain,” a 45-minute documentary to be shown to American servicemembers. From today’s perspective, it might seem peculiar that this type of a film would be made relatively late in the war.
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Native Son (1951)

Few films have experienced a more tortured history than the 1951 version of “Native Son,” based on Richard Wright’s 1940 novel. While Wright’s work achieved best-seller status and would be adapted into a Broadway production by Orson Welles and John Houseman, Hollywood studios would only consider a cinematic version if the central character of a disenfranchised African American was changed into an ethnic white man. Continue reading

Shortcut (2020)

I admit that I was a bit hesitant during “Shortcut” as it seems to meander back and forth between time lines and whatnot. However, during the final half, Alessio Liguori’s “Shortcut” finds a path and sticks to it, offering a horror movie with great substance. “Shortcut” is a mix of It Chapter One” and “Jeepers Creepers 2” (sans the uh… uncomfortable pedo overtones) and really sucked me in as a creepy, weird, and engaging tale of coming of age in the face of a dark force on a deserted highway.

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The Goonies (1985) [4K Ultra HD/Blu-Ray/Digital]

Even though I was born in the eighties, I don’t have a particular connection with “The Goonies” as while it’s mostly considered a masterpiece, I’ve only ever considered it just pretty good. Director Richard Donner’s adventure film is the Hardy Boys Meets Indiana Jones and for the most part it’s an entertaining call back to fodder like “The East Side Kids,” which keeps in line with Spielberg’s ode to his childhood cinema.

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Beetlejuice (1988) [4K Ultra HD/Blu-Ray/Digital]

We’re nearing the beginning of October so as is the mandate to keep reality from collapsing, we have another Tim Burton classic re-released and updated. Burton’s horror comedy classic “Beetlejuice” gets another big re-release for physical media collectors, allowing fans to re-visit the demented and dark supernatural comedy in a 4K UHD upgrade. Of course Burton’s film is being released in various other editions online, including Steelbook.

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Cuties (2020)

Where as a lot of teen movies focus much on the coming of age and rites of passage for young men through their sexuality, “Cuties” is ballsy enough to be cut from the same cloth. It’s a film that explores almost the same themes but in a more complex arena that’s based around femininity and growing up. While the silly ballyhoo around “Cuties” has been much ado about nothing, “Cuties” is a bold, important drama comedy. It’s ultimately about a young girl who is trying to figure out what kind of woman she wants to be, and never realizing that either route she chooses in life is going to be filled with obstacles, tough questions, and ultimately living with the path she’s chosen.

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For The Sake of Vicious (2019) [Fantasia Festival 2020]

The visceral raw energy and violence of Gabriel Carrer and Reese Eveneshen’s “For the sake of Vicious” is bound to be compared to the masterpieces like “The Green Room” very soon. The set up at least conjures up memories of “Assault on Precinct 13” except in a smaller scale. In either case, it’s a classic white knuckle home invasion siege thriller that spares no one, even when it successfully builds on empathetic and fascinating protagonists.

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