"Mediocre" films that are actually quite good

Films with a significant number of votes and a surprisingly low user rating on IMDB (1 per year).
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The Wizard of Oz (1925)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  
Dorothy, heir to the Oz throne, must take it back from the wicked Prime Minister Kruel with the help of three farmhands. (81 mins.)
Director: Larry Semon
“ Semon displays some wonderful surprising directorial flourishes. Put all thoughts of the 1939 film out of your mind before viewing. The films have virtually nothing in common. Genuinely funny. Oliver Hardy gives a great atypical performance. ” - spib2002
Abraham Lincoln (1930)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  
An episodic biography of the 16th President of the United States. (96 mins.)
Director: D.W. Griffith
“ Has a reputation for being fairly stiff and clunky. I actually found the strange performances and pacing helped the film (it feels like an art house movie). Sure it feels different to much of the fare at the time but is that a bad thing? Surprisingly humorous to boot. ” - spib2002
Chandu the Magician (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
When delusional madman Roxor kidnaps a scientist in hopes of using his death ray to achieve world dominance, he is opposed by Chandu, a powerful hypnotist and yogi. (71 mins.)
“ Edmund Lowe admittedly gives a fairly bland leading performance but in every other respect this is a great romp. The plot is completely out there and Bela is firing on all cylinders as the evil Roxor. Bela would take on the hero role of Chandu in the sequels. ” - spib2002
The Vampire Bat (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  
When corpses drained of blood begin to show up in a European village, vampirism is suspected to be responsible. (65 mins.)
Director: Frank Strayer
“ Creepy tale - much recycled. Atwill and Wray are pitch perfect but Frye steals the show as the local misfit that (quite literally) acts as the fall guy for the series of unexplained vampiric attacks on the local populace. Sadly, Frye didn't get too many opportunities to display his acting talents so this sleeper is definitely worth tracking down. ” - spib2002
Sylvia Scarlett (1935)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
Escaping to England from a French embezzlement charge, widower Henry Scarlett is accompanied by daughter Sylvia who... (95 mins.)
Director: George Cukor
“ I think you either love or hate Hepburn's mannered screwball comedy performances of the period. I can understand why they grate with people but personally I love them. Perhaps somewhat overshadowed by Bringing Up Baby, this is a real overlooked treat with an interesting feminist sub-text. ” - spib2002
Dracula's Daughter (1936)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
Hungarian countess Marya Zaleska seeks the aid of a noted psychiatrist, hoping to free herself of a mysterious evil influence. (71 mins.)
Director: Lambert Hillyer
Pick a Star (1937)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  
A Cinderella story of a young country girl who comes to Hollywood and achieves movie stardom with the help of a publicity man. (76 mins.)
Director: Edward Sedgwick
“ Likable variety show. The obvious highlight being Laurel and Hardy's star turn. That said, most of the guest cast give creditable enjoyable turns and the whole 70 minutes passes like it's no more than 1 hour 20 minutes. Hard to imagine a film like this being made nowadays as there just isn't the wealth and quality of character actors around. ” - spib2002
Swiss Miss (1938)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Stanley and Oliver are mousetrap salesmen hoping to strike it rich in Switzerland, but get swindled out of all their money by a cheesemaker... (73 mins.)
“ Essentially all scenes with L&H are genius. All without are dull, dull , dull. Fortunately there's enough of the former to make the latter bearable. Stan's attempt to trick the St. Bernard into giving up its brandy is amongst the funniest moments in all cinema. And how they trained that ape to act so well! I will never know. ” - spib2002
The Human Monster (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  
Insurance agent-physician collects on policies of men murdered by a disfigured resident of the home for the blind where he acts as doctor-on-call. (76 mins.)
Director: Walter Summers
“ Wonderful cheap and cheerful Dr. Mabuse rip-off. Lugosi excels in a dual role. Maybe I'm stupid but I didn't even spot one of his disguises. Atmospheric, well directed, bizarre with lovely performances from all involved. Track it down now. ” - spib2002
The Devil Bat (1940)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  
A mad scientist develops an aftershave lotion that causes his gigantic bats to kill anyone who wears it. (68 mins.)
Director: Jean Yarborough
“ Knocked together in like 12 minutes or something - yet still more imaginative and enjoyable than your typical Emmerich or Columbus corporate multi-media tie-in tripe. Lugosi may have entered his completely raddled period by this stage but he still manages to turn in some excellent performances (even if he doesn't always necessarily know what film he's actually making). ” - spib2002
The Black Cat (1941)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
Elderly Henrietta Winslow lives in an isolated mansion with her housekeeper and beloved cats. As her health fails, her greedy relatives gather in anticipation of her death. (70 mins.)
“ If you can look past Borderick Crawford's annoying performance, this is an enjoyably creepy comedy-horror. The horror stalwarts all deliver the goods and the setting, music and camerawork work to effectively create an appropriate atmosphere. If the comedy elements could be retrospectively removed, it would be small masterpiece (a bit like if we could remove the Ritz Brothers from The Gorilla). ” - spib2002
The Undying Monster (1942)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
Surviving members of an aristocratic English family are threatened by a legendary monster when they venture out on chilly, foggy nights. (63 mins.)
Director: John Brahm
“ A real treat for fans of John Brahm's more famous psychological mystery thrillers (The Lodger and Hangover Square). The plot's a bit naff but pretty much all the other elements are already in place. The camerawork is superb. Look at that great tracking shot around the house near the beginning that introduces the basic plot elements. ” - spib2002
Son of Dracula (1943)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
Count Alucard finds his way from Budapest to the swamps of the Deep South; his four nemeses are a medical doctor, a university professor, a jilted fiancé and the woman he loves. (80 mins.)
Director: Robert Siodmak
“ On paper, Chaney Jr. seems a poor choice to play Dracula and it takes a while to accept him in the role. Actually though his brutish bullying portrayal is quite unsettling and in a way fits in with the plot of this son of the 'great' Dracula being a pale shadow of his father. The vulnerability that characterizes Chaney's more famous roles works here to make us feel sorry for him despite his horrible deeds. If you ever wondered how Ray Winstone would fare as the count, then look no further. ” - spib2002
The Fighting Seabees (1944)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
Construction workers in World War II in the Pacific are needed to build military sites, but the work... (100 mins.)
Director: Edward Ludwig
“ 'Sands of Iwo Jima Lite', this is an interesting propaganda piece. Wayne is good as always in a film that given it's topicality and no doubt rushed production stands up really well. Wayne's Wedge Donovan is fiercely loyal to his men and fights to gain them the appropriate military protection and status to allow them to do their job as safely as possible. Given the modern day image of Wayne, you may be surprised at the somewhat anti-establishment role he takes on this film (and a number of others of the period). ” - spib2002
Dakota (1945)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
In 1871 Dakota, two crooked businessmen oppose the local wheat farmers and the railroad development, in order to control the town of Fargo. (82 mins.)
Director: Joseph Kane
“ A nuanced performance from Wayne in one of his lesser known mid-period westerns. Great fun with good supporting roles from the likes of Brennan, Bond and Mazurki. Ralston is as always good fun, demonstrating dramatic and comedy ability. It's surprising that she never became a big star. Like a number of Wayne films of the period the plotting is erratic, but apart from that thoroughly recommended. ” - spib2002
Swing Parade of 1946 (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  
A struggling young singer falls for a nightclub owner whose father, a millionaire, is trying to shut it down. Featuring The Three Stooges as waiters. (74 mins.)
Director: Phil Karlson
“ Can you ever have too much of the 3 Stooges? Frankly, yes. Swing Parade very sensibly rations out their appearances into bearable and very funny little chunks, most of which are integrated into the wider narrative and involve fun interplay with the equally funny Edward Brophy. Gale Storm is a very likable lead. Phil Regan is obviously a much more accomplished singer than an actor. Louis Jordan brightens up the film with great renditions of his surreal and no doubt lewd (surely they ain't just talking about a mule) classics Caldonia and Don't Worry About That Mule. Outside of Jordan, some of the songs are a bit dull. It's hard to imagine that Curly can be outdone in a film for total out-there barminess but Windy Cook's last scene has to be seen to be believed. ” - spib2002
Tycoon (1947)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
Engineer Johnny Munroe is enlisted to build a railroad tunnel through a mountain to reach mines. His task is complicated... (128 mins.)
Director: Richard Wallace
“ Very similar to a number of successful Wayne films of the early forties in structure and characterization. The setting and strong performances from Quinn (surprisingly) and especially Hardwicke and Anderson help the film to stand out from the rest. The clash of culture that stands in the way of Wayne's relationship with Day is no doubt mirrored symbolically by the difficulty of building the tunnel through the mountain. But enough of that nonsense the film is exciting Sunday afternoon fare. If you want to see an example of an atrocious updating of the format, look no further than Wayne's own painfully crass The Hellfighters. ” - spib2002
Mexican Hayride (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Two con men selling phony stock flee to Mexico ahead of the law, where they run into a woman friend from their earlier days, who is now a bullfighter. (77 mins.)
“ Laugh-out-loud funny A&C runaround that is somewhat overshadowed by their career masterpiece 'Meet Frankenstein' from the same year and it's subsequent sequels. Far superior to the better known Hit the Ice or even The Naughty Nineties. ” - spib2002
The Fighting Kentuckian (1949)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
Following Napoleon's Waterloo defeat and the exile of his officers and their families from France, the U.S.Congress... (100 mins.)
Director: George Waggner
“ It's got Ralston, a scheming Marie Windsor, bad wigs and John Wayne singing a duet with Oliver Hardy. I mean, what more do you want from a film? The plot meanders all over the place but you can't have everything. I hated it at first but it sorts or sneaks up on you. Quite similar in setting and tone to the also neglected The First Rebel. ” - spib2002
Abbott and Costello in the Foreign Legion (1950)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Jonesy and Lou are in Algeria looking for a wrestler they are promoting. Sergeant Axmann tricks them into joining the Foreign Legion... (80 mins.)
Director: Charles Lamont
“ The last consistently funny A&C film. Lots of witty one-liners and physical knockabout. A highlight in a small but good role is Tor Johnson (admittedly he is playing a hulking wrestler so it's not too much of a stretch). ” - spib2002
Bedtime for Bonzo (1951)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  
College prof Peter Boyd tries to salvage his professional and personal reputation by using a lab chimp to prove that environment trumps heredity in behavioral development. (83 mins.)
“ Great little family comedy that's reputation undoubtedly suffers because of it's association with Reagan. In actual fact, Reagan proves to be fairly adept at light comedy as a sort of poor man's Fred MacMurray and is only slightly out acted by Bonzo. ” - spib2002
Don't Bother to Knock (1952)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
After being dumped by his girlfriend, an airline pilot pursues a babysitter in his hotel and gradually realizes she's dangerous. (76 mins.)
Director: Roy Baker
“ Early film from Marilyn Monroe that not only demonstrates her star power and sensuality but also clearly shows what a good actress she was pretty much from the off. Widmark's good as well as are most of the supporting players. The theme of mental illness is dealt with in a fairly bold way for a major Hollywood film of the period. ” - spib2002
Trouble in Store (1953)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Norman is working in the stock room of a large London department store, but he has ambition (doesn't he always !!)... (85 mins.)
“ The first of a run of brilliant Wisdom comedies lasting a decade. Strangely his work is consistently undervalued. I defy anyone to watch this and not find it funny. ” - spib2002
Jail Bait (1954)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.2/10 X  
Vic Brady draws young Don Gregor into a life of crime. He then blackmails Gregor's plastic surgeon father into fixing up his face so he can evade the cops. (71 mins.)
“ Y'know what? I thought this was a good little film. It's certainly no worse than much of the output of the major studios at the time. I watched this and The Narrow Margin one after the other. The latter is regarded as a taut low-budget noir masterpiece, whilst Jail Bait is seen as a bit of a joke. For my money TMN was fairly po-faced and dull, whilst JB kicked along quite nicely. I know which one I'd rather watch again. ” - spib2002
This Island Earth (1955)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  
Aliens come to Earth seeking scientists to help them in their war. (87 mins.)
Director: Joseph Newman
“ 1950's paranoid sci-fi fare, equally enjoyable in either the standard or MSTified versions. The effects are really impressive, particularly once we get to Metaluna and the film doesn't overstay its welcome. ” - spib2002
X the Unknown (1956)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
A radioactive, mud-like creature terrorizes a Scottish village. (81 mins.)
Director: Leslie Norman
“ Scary Quatermass rip-off from Hammer. The 'threat' is all a bit cerebral and French but the individual scenes are atmospheric. Michael Ripper (one of those great British character actors that normally feature as coachman or man in pub) gets to do a bit more than usual and the film is all the better for it. ” - spib2002
I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.9/10 X  
A hypnotherapist uses a temperamental teenager as guinea pig for a serum which transforms him into a vicious werewolf. (76 mins.)
Director: Gene Fowler Jr.
“ I've a feeling that people are voting more for the lurid title or for the fact that it stars Little House on the Prairie's Michael Landon rather than for the actual film because this is a well directed and plotted film with solid performances. Highly recommended. ” - spib2002
Fiend Without a Face (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
Invisible atomic monsters attack a U.S. Armed Forces base and the local residents. (75 mins.)
Director: Arthur Crabtree
“ Come on folks. This is a gem of a movie easily on a par with the original version of The Thing. The attack scenes are particularly well executed. The film would prove to be influential on the likes of Romero. ” - spib2002
The Stranglers of Bombay (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
In the 1830s, a captain in the East India Company lobbies to investigate the criminal Thugee Cult of Kali, an organized crime group of stranglers and thieves. (80 mins.)
Director: Terence Fisher
“ Studio-bound lurid colonial thriller. Allan Cuthbertson stands out as an absolute rotter that desrves to get his comeuppance (effectively an early version of his Colonel Hall characterization from Fawlty Towers). Ridiculously unpolitically correct but great fun none the less. ” - spib2002
Carry On Constable (1960)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
With a flu epidemic running rife, three new bumbling recruits are assigned to Inspector Mills police station... (86 mins.)
Director: Gerald Thomas
“ To be honest, I don't actively dislike any Carry on films (and yes that includes England, Emmannuelle and Columbus). Constable along with the quite similar Regardless are solid early period Carry ons. Kenneth Connor is the unsung genius of these early films and with the exception of Teacher this is his best role of the period. ” - spib2002
Gorgo (1961)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  
Greedy sailors capture a giant lizard off the coast of Ireland and sell it to a London circus. Then its mother shows up. (78 mins.)
Director: Eugene Lourie
“ Whilst Gorgo is clearly a Godzilla rip-off, it is very much an endearingly quaint little British film. Both special effects and performances are of a high standard and unlike pretty much all Gojira sequels, the plot is coherent. Great fun. ” - spib2002
On the Beat (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Norman wants to be a policeman like his father was, but he fails the height test (amongst others). One... (106 mins.)
Director: Robert Asher
“ Wisdom is excellent in a dual role. There's a bit more of a plot than usual and loads of great sight gags. The film is wildly derivative, raiding the canon of Keaton, Chaplin and Lewis, not to mention Wisdom's own earlier films but that's no bad thing. I watched it with my 9 year old daughter who found it hilarious (as did I). ” - spib2002
Carry on Jack (1963)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
This is the tale of Albert Poop-Decker, a newly commissioned Midshipman (although he took 8 1/2 years to qualify)... (91 mins.)
Director: Gerald Thomas
“ This is a somewhat atypical Carry on outing that doesn't feature as many regulars as usual (similar in tone to Screaming). Cribbins gives a good performance as Albert Poop-Decker and there's strong support from Jim Dale, David Lodge and (strangely) Juliet Mills. ” - spib2002
Two Thousand Maniacs! (1964)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
Six people are lured into a small Deep South town for a Centennial celebration where the residents proceed to kill them one by one as revenge for the town's destruction during the Civil War. (83 mins.)
“ Surprisingly well made early gore movie from HG Lewis, far more watchable than the much better known Blood Feast. The wooden acting helps to heighten the scare factor by giving the film a documentary feel (similar to the first half of Texas Chainsaw Massacre). Unnerving and edgy. ” - spib2002
The Skull (1965)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
A collector comes into possession of the skull of the Marquis de Sade and learns it is possessed by an evil spirit. (83 mins.)
Director: Freddie Francis
“ Quite slow but moody effective low budget horror with good performances from Cushing, Lee and Wymark. Although it centre's on the skull of De Sade the film has more in common with the writings of Lovecraft. Worth tracking down. ” - spib2002
Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. (1966)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
The Daleks' fiendish plot in 2150 against Earth and its people is foiled when Dr. Who and friends arrive from the 20th century and figure it out. (84 mins.)
Director: Gordon Flemyng
“ Sure it's a kids film and Cushing isn't really right for the role, but this is an enchanting comic strip of a movie. The daleks themselves have never looked better and despite the 2150 AD setting, the decision to portray London as per the 1940s blitz helps to link them explicitly to the SS stormtroopers that they were clearly based on. ” - spib2002
How Much Loving Does a Normal Couple Need? (1967)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.0/10 X  
After stealing a fortune in unclaimed jewelry, ex-detective Barney Rickert arrives at a run-down dude ranch in Arizona to hide out... (70 mins.)
Director: Russ Meyer
“ Nice middle period sleaze-fest from Russ Meyer. As with most of his films from this period, Common Law Cabin is populated with worthless trailer trash types and therefore it is difficult to find anyone to empathise with. However, direction and editing are amongst the films many 'assets'! ” - spib2002
Greetings (1968)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  
An offbeat, episodic film about three friends, Paul, a shy love-seeker, Lloyd, a vibrant conspiracy nut... (88 mins.)
Director: Brian De Palma
“ An early gem from De Palma. Totally removed from the highly stylized horror/gangster movies that we have come to associate with him, this is a much more intimate dialogue driven piece. De Niro is good but the real star turn comes from the vastly underrated Gerrit Graham (check him out in De Palma's Phantom of the Paradise). ” - spib2002
Topaz (1969)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
A French intelligence agent becomes embroiled in the Cold War politics first with uncovering the events leading up to the 1962 Cuban Missle Crisis, and then back to France to break up an international Russian spy ring. (143 mins.)
“ Largely forgotten late Hitchcock spy thriller. The film has a detached clinical feel (think Le Samourai or Le Boucher) but is still highly watchable with a number of accomplished set pieces. Michel Piccoli stands out amongst the international cast. ” - spib2002
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
Three girls come to Hollywood to make it big, but find only sex, drugs and sleaze. (109 mins.)
Director: Russ Meyer
“ Come on folks, this film absolutely kicks ass. The soundtrack is superb and both direction and editing are of the highest calibre. The girls are sexy, the 'guys' are nuts. If you have never seen a Russ Meyer film this is the best place to start. Highly accessible but still completely over-the-top Meyer. ” - spib2002
Hands of the Ripper (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
As a young child Jack the Ripper's daughter witnesses him kill her mother. As a young woman she carries on the murderous reign of her father. A psychiatrist tries to cure her with tragic consequences. (85 mins.)
Director: Peter Sasdy
“ Much more a psychological character driven drama than the cheap slasher movie that the lurid title suggests (although far from blood free). Eric Porter and Angharad Rees give strong central performances. The period setting is well realized on a low budget. ” - spib2002
Bless This House (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
1970s English suburbia: middle-aged homeowner Sid Abbot just wants to get on with building his illegal whisky still... (87 mins.)
Director: Gerald Thomas
“ Don't despair if you have exhausted all the Carry ons as this is essentially Carry on Suburbia. Carry on helmer, Gerald Thomas is again in charge with able support from Sid James, Peter Butterworth, Terry Scott, June Whitfield and Robin Askwith. It falls apart a bit at the end (just like Camping) but for the most part a genuinely funny classic of 70s repressed British comedy. ” - spib2002
Raw Meat (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
There's something pretty grisly going on under London in the Tube tunnels between Holborn and Russell Square... (87 mins.)
Director: Gary Sherman
“ Scary but also surprisingly touching and thoughtful horror film from the underrated Sherman featuring quirky performances from Donald Pleasance and Christopher Lee. The low budget helps sell the squalid conditions that the 'monster' lives in. At times reminiscent of Eegah but executed with a lot more skill. ” - spib2002
Zardoz (1974)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  
In the distant future, a savage trained only to kill finds a way into the community of bored immortals that alone preserves humanity's achievements. (105 mins.)
Director: John Boorman
“ Admittedly it's mental but compelling none the less. The big reveal is a letdown (even if you haven't worked it out long before) but the film's more about the journey. For fans of the somewhat similar Quintet (are there any (apart from me)). ” - spib2002
Carry on Behind (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  
Professors Vooshka and Crump decide to visit an archaeological site to study the artifacts there. Lo and behold... (90 mins.)
Director: Gerald Thomas
“ My second favourite Carry on (Behind ...Up The Khyber). Windsor Davies and Jack Douglas make a great double act, effectively filling the Sid James/Bernard Bresslaw roles (Bresslaw is still in the film but in a smaller role than usual). 'Never mind his qualifications' is right up there with the great Carry on lines like 'Fakir! off' and 'if music be the food of love, BELT UP!' Lovely jubbly. ” - spib2002
Freaky Friday (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
A mother and daughter find their personalities switched and have to live each other's lives on one strange Friday. (95 mins.)
Director: Gary Nelson
“ Great little family film. Often these films are scuppered by obnoxious juvenile leads but Jodie Foster is excellent. Contrast this with her role in Taxi Driver from the same year and the range she demonstrates is impressive. Completely at odds with the mannered one note performances that have predominated in her later films. ” - spib2002
Jabberwocky (1977)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
A young peasant, with no interest in adventure or fortune, is mistaken as the kingdom's only hope when a horrible monster threatens the countryside. (105 mins.)
Director: Terry Gilliam
“ I love stand-up comedians that are just a bit awkward and weird especially when they pause that bit too long past when the trickles of laughter have died out. Jabberwocky is the cinematic equivalent. Admittedly an acquired taste. ” - spib2002
The Fury (1978)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
A government agent is determined to come to his son's rescue when a sinister official kidnaps him to harbor his extremely powerful psychic abilities. (118 mins.)
Director: Brian DePalma
“ Seriously underrated within De Palma's canon, The Fury offers thrilling set pieces, a wonderfully intense performance from Cassavetes, the gorgeous Amy Irving and solid work from Douglas, Durning and Snodgrass - not to mention a great score. ” - spib2002
Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
When an alien spacecraft of enormous power is spotted approaching Earth, Admiral Kirk resumes command of the Starship Enterprise in order to intercept, examine and hopefully stop the intruder. (132 mins.)
Director: Robert Wise
“ Unfairly maligned because it dares to take itself seriously, this is actually a very well executed thoughtful movie. The regulars slot straight back into their TV roles just as if they'd never been away. Give it another try - it's probably more eventful and even funnier than you remember and its reputation suggests. ” - spib2002
Cannibal Holocaust (1980)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
During a rescue mission into the Amazon rainforest, a professor stumbles across lost film shot by a missing documentary crew. (95 mins.)
Director: Ruggero Deodato
“ You will be surprised at just how well directed this truly frightening, upsetting and ugly film is. Blair Witch famously copies much but it is kids stuff in comparison. Intellectually stimulating whilst at the same time being morally repugnant. File alongside A Clockwork Orange and John Carpenter's Vampires. Highly recommended. ” - spib2002
...All the Marbles (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
Harry manages The California Dolls, a female wrestling tag team endlessly touring America, and he's also romantically involved with one of them... (113 mins.)
Director: Robert Aldrich
“ Unusual atypical small scale drama from macho director Aldrich. Falk (forever associated with Columbo) demonstrates his range (see A Woman Under the Influence, Husbands, Made for other great performances). The film falls somewhere between Slap Shot and The Wrestler in its portrayal of the ruthlessness, showmanship and and failed dreams of the lead characters and the world they inhabit. ” - spib2002
The Beast Within (1982)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  
In the beginning of the movie you see a woman getting raped by a man-creature of some sort. The movie... (98 mins.)
Director: Philippe Mora
“ Very effective little-known shocker. The usually unreliable Mora actually makes a good show of the suspense sequences. The acting is above par and considerably helped by the presence of Luke Askew, Ronny Cox and Peckinpah regulars L.Q. Jones and R.G. Armstrong. Think Buffy for adults and your half-way there. ” - spib2002
The Star Chamber (1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
Disgusted with criminals escaping the judicial system via technicalities, an idealistic young judge... (109 mins.)
Director: Peter Hyams
“ Whilst perhaps not regarded as the greatest of actors, Michael Douglas should be applauded for consistently taking roles in and using his fame to promote mainstream films that at least open discussion around challenging ideas. The Star Chamber is an early example of this tendency. A manipulative but undeniably strongly scripted and directed piece worthy of revisiting. In fact a remake is in the works. ” - spib2002
Tightrope (1984)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
Wes Block is a detective who's put on the case of a serial killer whose victims are young and pretty women... (114 mins.)
Director: Richard Tuggle
“ It seems strange now that originally much of Eastwood's output from the 70's and 80's was largely dismissed by critics (and occasionally ignored by the public). Tightrope offers one of his best performances. Part film-noir, part Dirty Harry, the film is quite challenging and disturbing, playing with our preconceptions of and affection for Eastwood. ” - spib2002
Lifeforce (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
A race of space vampires arrive in London and infect the populace. (116 mins.)
Director: Tobe Hooper
“ Why this film receives such negative reviews is beyond me. Easily one of Hooper's best, this is an effective re-positioning of the paranoid 50s sci-fi schlockers within the context of the 80's zombie sleazefest (with a touch of Quatermass for good luck). Great effects, camp performances and bad costumes. A must see film. ” - spib2002
She's Gotta Have It (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
Story of a woman and her three lovers. (84 mins.)
Director: Spike Lee
“ Inventive and audacious early film from Spike Lee. Often unfairly referred to at the start of his career as the black Woody Allen (which understandably annoyed Lee), this is probably his only film that does actually wander into Allen's territory. The performances are strong, especially from Lee himself and the direction and script consistently impress. ” - spib2002
Rita, Sue and Bob Too! (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
Realistic story of working class Yorkshire life. Two schoolgirls have a sexual fling with a married man. Serious and light-hearted by turns. (93 mins.)
Director: Alan Clarke
“ Alan Clarke is surely the great unsung master of British cinema. Highly idiosyncratic, he largely avoids genre trappings. Rita, Sue and Bob Too! is the closest he comes to commercial cinema. Fortunately, he manages to subtly infuse the film with political and social comment. A small masterpiece (also check out Scum, Made in Britain and especially The Firm). ” - spib2002
Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
Aliens who look like clowns come from outer space and terrorize a small town. (88 mins.)
Director: Stephen Chiodo
“ Wonderfully inventive comic-strip of a movie. Unlike most horror-comedies of the period, the film doesn't forget to be actually frightening. Make-up, effects and set design are all first rate. It's a great pity that it wasn't more successful as the Chiodo's clearly have style and a sensibility to rival Joe Dante or Tim Burton. ” - spib2002
The Gods Must Be Crazy II (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Xixo is back again. This time, his children accidentally stow away on a fast-moving poachers' truck... (98 mins.)
Director: Jamie Uys
“ Funnier, faster-paced, action oriented sequel to Uys and N!xau's original masterpiece. The first film was such a refreshingly different unique vision that it became a surprise hit. This film clearly lacks the originality, being in many respects a retread, but it is expertly constructed and tremendous fun. Ideal family viewing. ” - spib2002
Cry-Baby (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
In 1950s Baltimore, a bad boy with a heart of gold wins the love of a good girl, whose boyfriend sets out for revenge. (85 mins.)
Director: John Waters
“ Just about the weirdest cast ever assembled. Despite this the performances are all highly appropriate to the material. Given his current status, it's hard to imagine that back then Johnny Depp wasn't taken seriously as an actor. He's superb in this (as is Iggy Pop). Traci Lords steals every scene she is in with a collar-looseningly sultry performance. Great soundtrack as well. ” - spib2002
Out for Justice (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
The gruesome murder of a Brooklyn Detective, fellow officer and best friend of Detective Gino Felino, will turn the case into a personal vendetta, unleashing an all-out attack against Richie Madano's brutal gang. (91 mins.)
Director: John Flynn
“ Masterpiece of action cinema. Apart from thrilling, carefully choreographed fight sequences, Seagal demonstrates real acting ability. Forsythe's tendency to grate in everything he's in, actually works in his favour here. Scripting, direction, stunt-work and acting from pretty much all concerned are top-notch. The film even has interesting things to say in it's modern reworking and subversion of the standard Angels with Dirty Faces plot line. One of my top 20 films of all-time and thoroughly recommended. Don't be put off by some of the twaddle turned out by Seagal over the last decade. ” - spib2002
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  
A flighty teenage girl learns that she is her generation's destined battler of vampires. (86 mins.)
“ Somewhat overshadowed by the admittedly excellent spin-off series, the original movie is still a smart little standalone tale. Any film which offers up scenery chewing roles for both Donald Sutherland and Rutger Hauer and a script from Joss Whedon has got to be worth watching, and indeed it is the colourful performances from most of the cast and witty script that pretty much make this film. ” - spib2002
Dangerous Game (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  
A New York film director, working on his latest movie in Los Angeles, begins to reflect the actions in his movie and real life, especially when he begins an affair with the lead actress. (108 mins.)
Director: Abel Ferrara
“ Seriously underrated semi-autobiographical film from Ferrara. Madonna is actually very good in it as is Ferrara's real life wife Nancy Ferrara (perhaps in an uncomfortably real role) but the real stand out performance unsurprisingly is from the never less than excellent Keitel. Sadly, I've never found a single other person that likes this film. Maybe I just like it so much because some of the more honest bits chime with mistakes and regrets from my own life. ” - spib2002
Color of Night (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  
A color-blind psychiatrist Bill Capa is stalked by an unknown killer after taking over his murdered friend's therapy group, all of whom have a connection to a mysterious young woman that Capa begins having intense sexual encounters with. (121 mins.)
Director: Richard Rush
“ Totally mental gialloesque gem from cult director Richard Rush. The performances are ever so just the right side of tongue-in-cheek. Willis is perfect for this type of hokum (and Henriksen and Dourif probably turn up without being asked). Could only be improved if it was actually directed by Dario Argento. ” - spib2002
The Nature of the Beast (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
Two men, both hiding a deadly secret, are on a murderous rampage through the desert. (91 mins.)
Director: Victor Salva
“ The title, equally appropriate to both narrative and director sets out the film's stall rather well (sadly it's better known in the UK by the more pedestrian moniker of Hatchet Man). Direction, dialogue and performances are all first rate. Salva manages to squeeze much tension from the fairly simple well-worn scenario. Easily the equal of the much praised and better known Powder (also from 1995). Like Powder, it's difficult not to suspect that much of the philosophizing is Salva attempting to exorcise his own demons. ” - spib2002
The Stendhal Syndrome (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
A young policewoman slowly goes insane while tracking down an elusive serial rapist/killer through Italy when she herself becomes a victim of the brutal man's obsession. (120 mins.)
Director: Dario Argento
“ From about Phenomena onwards, Argento seemed to make films that no one 'got' at first (I include myself in that). Yet 10 years on or so, they start to be reevaluated as masterworks. It's hard to imagine Phantom of the Opera and Giallo following this pattern, but you never know. Stendhal is essential viewing, particularly in its extended form on DVD. Stylish, weird and wonderful with a hauntingly beautiful score from Morricone. ” - spib2002
Anaconda (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.7/10 X  
A "National Geographic" film crew is taken hostage by an insane hunter, who takes them along on his quest to capture the world's largest - and deadliest - snake. (89 mins.)
Director: Luis Llosa
“ Unpretentious exciting horror adventure romp that does exactly what it says on the tin. The cast takes it seriously enough to make us care (and even believe in the ropey CGI). However, Voight acts everyone else off the screen. It's a pity he doesn't do more of this kind of thing. He could easily fill the whole Atwill/Zucco/Kinski void. Before Lopez mistakenly started to believe that she was a good actress, so she is less bugging than usual. The sequel stinks, so avoid if possible. ” - spib2002
The Faculty (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
Students suspect that their teachers are aliens after bizarre occurrences. (104 mins.)
“ Rodriquez's most disciplined outing. A near perfect blend of modern teen horror and 50's sci-fi monster movies. Unusually for the genre, the 'teens' can all actually act. Piper Laurie and Robert Patrick offer solid straight-face support. The only real niggle is the large manifestation of the menace which is not that well executed and serves to slow down the pace at a crucial point. ” - spib2002
The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
A young girl receives a vision that drives her to rid France of its oppressors. (158 mins.)
Director: Luc Besson
“ Spiritual, genuinely moving film from Besson. After avoiding it on release (thinking it to a pretentious bore), I accidentally caught the beginning on TV and was riveted. Jovovich in the title role simultaneously manages to convey both strength and mental illness/blind faith. At one time the UK had a reputation for producing such great historical dramas (sadly no more). This French masterpiece is more akin to the work of Powell and Pressburger than tosh like Chariots of Fire. ” - spib2002
Gangster No. 1 (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Chronicles the rise and fall of a prominent, and particularly ruthless English gangster. (103 mins.)
Director: Paul McGuigan
“ Malcolm McDowell, Paul Bettany, Jamie Foreman, David Thewlis and Kenneth Cranham. What more do you want? Full of interesting directorial choices and with an unusual narrative structure, it's easy to see why McGuigan was chosen as principle helmer of Steven Moffat's inventive Sherlock TV series. On first seeing the movie, I thought Bettany was destined for big things. Sadly, he seems to have laregely squandered his talents in dull 'worthy' time wasters ever since. ” - spib2002
Sleepless (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
An elderly and retired police detective and a young amateur sleuth team up to find a serial killer whom has resumed a killing spree in Turin, Italy after a 17-year hiatus. (117 mins.)
Director: Dario Argento
“ Argento returns to form with this loving tribute to 70's gialli (not just his own). There's some truly frightening set pieces and like all the best of the form, the plot is mental. File somewhere between Cat and Deep Red and you'll get the gist. Morricone's score and the delirious train stalking sequence are particular highlights. Sadly Von Sydow is completely wasted; 'phoning-in' a pointless glorified cameo role. ” - spib2002
Men in Black II (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
Agent J needs help so he is sent to find Agent K and restore his memory. (88 mins.)
“ I watched this to film in an attempt to settle an argument: a pair of work colleagues were engaged in a heated discussion about the best comedy movie of recent years. In the red corner was School of Rock and this studio mega-vehicle was in the blue. As I'd not seen either, I agreed to take home DVDs of both to arbitrate. Yeah, OK it was a no-brainer, but still I was pleasantly surprised at how funny, likeable and well-made this was. MIB III, now that would definitely be a knock-out in the first round. ” - spib2002
Crime Spree (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
A French gang of thieves flies over to Chicago for a one time job. However things seem to get out of hand soon. (105 mins.)
Director: Brad Mirman