December 30, 2005


New DVD's (DAVE KEHR, 12/27/05, NY Times)

Here at the height of white elephant season, with the theaters full of overstuffed Oscar contenders, it's a relief to return to the world of what the critic Manny Farber defined as "termite art" - those buzzy little B-movies, exploitation pictures and oddball imports that were never intended to win awards, but nonetheless offer cinematic pleasures often beyond their bloated, big-budget brethren. What follows is a roundup of some of the last few weeks' smaller, more insidious titles, presented with the assurance that none of them ever received a Golden Globe nomination. [...]

Fox in a Box

From MGM, the current owners of the American International library, comes a boxed set collecting three Pam Grier features from the 1970's heyday of the black exploitation film: Jack Hill's "Coffy" (1973) and "Foxy Brown" (1974), plus William Girdler's "Sheba, Baby" (1975). These look to be the familiar, nonanamorphic MGM transfers of 2001, though repackaged with a fourth disc combining a pair of documentary appreciations of Ms. Grier produced by Vibe magazine. But here she is in her stereotype-shattering glory, playing her perennial part as the strong black woman on a solo campaign to rid her community of pimps, pushers and the corrupt white politicians who protect and profit from them. Some of the 70's fashion statements threaten to short out the color circuitry on your television, but those were exuberant days. $29.95; "Coffy" and "Foxy" are rated R, "Sheba" PG.

Blaxploitation never looked better.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 30, 2005 12:00 AM

I just watched Foxy Brown and Black Mama, White Mama and tonight I'm watching Coffy. Remind me not to get on Pam Greir's bad side.

Posted by: Bryan at December 30, 2005 9:02 AM

pam brown movies are ok, and miss grier is all that, but they are only second tier in my book.

in no particular order:

1. Superfly
2. shaft
3. dolemite
4. the slams
5. sweet jesus preacher man
6. the mack
7. cotton comes to harlem
8. three the hard way
9. sweet sweetback's badass song
10. slaughter
11. mandingo
12. hit man

Posted by: ebert's toe at December 30, 2005 12:57 PM

No Truck Turner? or Blacula? or Cleopatra Jones? or The Spook Who Sat by the Door?

Posted by: oj at December 30, 2005 1:31 PM

I already own Shaft and Superfly (thanks to you) and also Cleopatra Jones and Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold. You gave me the paperback of The Spook who Sat By the Door. Didn't know there was a movie version.

Posted by: Bryan at December 30, 2005 1:56 PM

Geez, I feel like 'Enry 'Iggins...

Posted by: oj at December 30, 2005 2:11 PM