Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Candy Tangerine Man and Lady Cocoa (Vinegar Syndrome Blu-ray)

My Experience with Matt Cimber's work before watching Candy Tangerine Man and Lady Cocoa was solely relegated to The Witch Who Came From the Sea. It's become one of my favorite exploitation discoveries of my thirties. While Cimber didn't focus only on blaxploitation movies, he did focus on exploitation cinema as a whole. This ranged from out and out sexploitation to blondesploitation, blaxploitation and even historyploitation. He made just over twenty pictures and after a hiatus in the 90's still makes movies to this day. Each one is a little out there and has something novel that makes us laugh a little before conveying a truth that lingers long enough to get lost in the exaggeration of stereotypes and over the top acts of violence. We have a new Blu-ray of two feature blaxploitation films that show us just that from Vinegar Syndrome.

First off there are some issues with the print for Candy Tangerine Man. Some dots and damage appear throughout; the film is still very watchable and these are only distracting for short periods of time. The transfer itself is great otherwise with a solid restoration effort.

This isn't my favorite blaxploitation feature, but it definitely gets the job done combing moments of violence and humor with stereotypes intended to make you laugh while appreciating some of a reality underpinning this mid level production value flick. There are some nice skin shots, some great jazz music and it contains all of the standard playbook blaxploitation scenes you'd look for.  I love the hand in the garbage disposal scene which is definitely a highlight of the picture. The movie may have humorous moments but overall takes itself more seriously than a Dolemite which doesn't make it more entertaining even if it does separate itself from some of the other blaxploitation features of the period. The cast is strong enough to carry out a more serious picture, and it's all about setting your expecatation accordingly when watching Candy Tangerine Man. Do not expect gonzo hilarious.

As for Lady Cocoa... What a great theme song!  Unfortunately that's where the awesome stops. Some bad dialogue makes up for the lack of action in the movie providing some good laughs but not much else. Cocoa herself has an awesome edge to her and voice that is somewhere between Fran Drescher annoying and Lauryn Hill powerful. Lady Cocoa almost provides a nice alternative to Candy Tangerine Man; it's a bit more fun.

There's some damage to the print but a good looking transfer for Lady Cocoa. Candy Tangerine Man is clearly the feature with Lady Cocoa as a rider also directed by Matt Cimber.

From Vinegar Syndrome:

One of the most diverse of all genre filmmakers, whose career included everything from horror to family films, Vinegar Syndrome presents two of Matt Cimber’s most important blaxploitation classics on Blu-ray for the very first time.

John Daniels is ‘The Baron,’ a no-nonsense pimp who cruises the streets in his signature tangerine Rolls Royce. Taking on rival pimps, pushers, and the man, Baron uses his cunning intelligence to elude the authorities in Matt Cimber’s grim and subversive look at the violent underbelly of Los Angeles crime and corruption. A favorite film of Quentin Tarantino and Samuel L. Jackson, Vinegar Syndrome proudly presents THE CANDY TANGERINE MAN in its Blu-ray debut.

Lola Falana is LADY COCOA, in Matt Cimber’s classic 1975 crime thriller. After being given a 24-hour leave from prison, in exchange for which she’ll agree to testify against her mobster boyfriend, Cocoa hits the streets, but quickly discovers that violence lurks around every corner. Co-starring Millie Perkins and George Flower, Lady Cocoa is a non-stop thrill ride of revenge.

Directed by: Matt Cimber
1974-1975 / 183 minutes (combined) / Color / 1.85:1
Actors: John Daniels, Eli Haines, George “Buck” Flower, Marva Farmer, Meri McDonald, Lola Falana, Gene Washington, Alex Dreier, Millie Perkins, “Mean” Joe Greene

Features Include:
• Region free Blu-ray and DVD combo pack.
• All extras on both formats.
• Scanned and restored in 2k from 35mm archival prints
• Director’s video introduction for The Candy Tangerine Man
• Commentary track for LADY COCOA with Director Matt Cimber and Director’s Assistant / Actor John Goff
• Reversible cover for LADY COCOA
• English SDH Subtitles

Order your copy from Vinegar Syndrome:

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