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The Producers (2005)
This is garbage
This is a terrible, unfunny film. The fact that it's based on one of the funniest films ever made just makes this debacle all the more insulting. Of the two stars, Lane comes off better, largely because he's just doing Zero Mostel. He doesn't do him well, but at least his performance is conceptually sound. Broderick is just lost. He's completely miscast in a role that calls for a big and broad comedic performance, and he seems to just resort to mugging in the hopes that it might occasionally work. It does not. For the rest of the film, it largely takes the parts that didn't work quite as well ... the gay director and the Swedish receptionist ... and greatly expanded their significance. It then takes that parts that did work very well ... Kenneth Mars and especially Dick Shawn ... and minimized or completely eliminated them. I hate this film.
Artists & Models (1937)
Only kinda works
Jack Benny stars as the owner of a bankrupt as agency. He can save his company by landing the $1 million Townsend Silver account. He convinces the company's owner, playboy Richard Arlen, that the secret to success is finding the Townsend Girl and getting her to be the queen of the annual Artists & Models Ball. Arlen agrees, but the catch is that he does not want the Townsend Girl to be a professional model. He wants a society girl. Young model Ida Lupino overhears and travels to Florida to pose as a society girl and land the Townsend Girl job. This film's split down the middle ... half screwball comedy, half musical. The comedy elements work well, the musical elements are terribly creaky.
Escape to Athena (1979)
Uninspired "Dirty Dozen" clone
Roger Moore is the commanding officer of a Nazi POW camp on the Greek coast. His main task is to use three prisoners ... David Niven, Richard Roundtree and Sonny Bono ... who are experts in antiquities to retrieve valuable archaeological relics for the Reich. A pair of American entertainers ... Elliot Gould and Stefanie Powers ... are picked up by the German army near the camp and became it's latest guests. Moore is not particularly sympathetic to the Nazi cause, so he teams up with his 3 experts and Greek partisans lead by Telly Savalas to take over the camp and steal some extremely valuable items from a nearby mountaintop monastery. This film is clearly meant to cash in on the success of "The Dirty Dozen" and it's imitators, most notably "Kelly's Heroes". It's characters are mostly morally questionable folks who walk a thin line between noble intentions and naked self-interest. In addition, many of the characters, Gould and Bono being the clearest examples, are just raging anachronisms who have stepped right out of the 1970's and into WWII. Unlike "The Dirty Dozen", this film just does not work for me. Major plot points are just frankly unbelievable (the Greek partisans use a brothel that caters to Nazi officers as their headquarters), and the action, when it finally comes, is rather flat and uninteresting. Great cast though ... although Moore should have never ever ever tried to do a German accent.
Lethal Pursuit (1988)
Parts of it are pretty okay
Some kids stumble onto a car theft ring and are killed for the trouble. One of them is found by a rock & roll singer visiting her home town and her younger boy friend. She sticks around town to fix up her old house ... naturally the guy behind the car theft ring is her ex-boyfriend. A cheap action flick with a decent beginning and a decent house-under- siege climax, but a mid-section that drags interminably. You could do a whole lot worse.
Ta paidia tou Diavolou (1976)
An English couple visit a small Greek island and start a veritable frenzy of sex and murder. The point seems to be to punish what they see as perversions, but they turn out to be a hot bed of perversion themselves. Can't say I like this film, any film that contains multiple murders, bestiality, incest, forced sodomy and tons of nudity and also manages to be pretty dull is doing something fundamentally wrong.
Belle of the Nineties (1934)
Probably okay if you like West ... I don't really
Mae West stars as a popular nightclub entertainer who's dating a boxer. His manager hates her, and sets her up to look like she's cheating on him. To get away from a bad situation, she accepts a job in New Orleans where she becomes the toast of the town, but her boss's unwelcome attentions cause more strife. I must confess that I have never been very fond of West and this is most decidedly a showcase for her. She wrote it and is really the uncontested star. It's okay. Duke Ellington appears but is pretty decisively kept in the background.
Day of the Animals (1977)
Really enjoyed this
Due to the depletion of the ozone layer, the sun's radiation causes all the animals to go ka-ka-koo-koo and start attacking humans ... especially at higher altitudes. Unfortunately for Christopher George, he has picked this day to take a bunch of city folks including Leslie Nielsen, Lynda Day George, Richard Jaeckel, Michael Ansara and Andrew Stevens on a nature hike into the mountains. This takes the basic 1970's disaster film formula and adds two things that folks couldn't get enough of ... animals attacking and ecology. I expected a bit of campy trash, but this is actually better than that. Sure, you have Nielson losing his marbles and wrassling a bear, but you also have a bit of legit suspense and some good performances. But man .... Nielsen is out of control here and it's magnificent.
I love this crazy gem
So there are these two guys, and they live in a land with constant fog. One guys littler, has a laser bow, and looks a lot like Hugh Jackman. The bigger guy likes animals. They take on a naked chick who wears a gold mask and has an army of dog men who rip humans in half. She enlists the help of a guy who looks like a walking statue and promises to help her in exchange for sex ... he has the best exit ever committed to film. Fulci's contribution to the Conan rip-off industry (with a huge "Quest for Fire" influence thrown into the mix) is a Goddamned classic. I love this film irrationally. Yeah, it makes no sense and seems to have gone overboard with the dry ice, but it's got naked chicks, dog men and explicit gore ... so there.
Million Dollar Legs (1932)
I adore this absurdist gem
Jack Oakie stars as an American brush salesman working in the tiny country of Klopstokia. He meets and fall in love with president W.C.Fields's daughter. He is rejected as a potential suitor until he convinces Fields that the nearly bankrupt country can get the money they need by sending a team to the Olympic games in Los Angeles. This seldom seen film is an absurdist masterpiece ... the slogan for Oakie's brush company is "They brush". Fields stays in office by defeating his cabinet in feats of strengths. This movie is the gift that keeps on giving.
The odd good moments make it worth while
Andy Warhol very very loosely adapts "A Clockwork Orange". Gerard Malanga tells us all how much of a juvenile delinquent he is and then furious dances to Martha and the Vandellas while Edie Sedgwick watches. Then Ondine, playing his buddy Scum Baby, turns him in to a cop who has been sitting in a chair and laughing the whole time. The cop turns him over to a doctor who tortures him, which seems to be a real S&M kinda deal ... no faking. Malanga is reformed. All of this happens on one set with the whole cast present the whole time. At just over an hour long, it's way too long ... but the peak moments, like Malanga's dance or any randomly selected minute of Sedgwick sitting on the sideline, make the whole thing worth watching.