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Could have been better.
For the life of me, I can't name at least a dozen Cannon films (Golan/Globus years) I ever liked. I don't think I can even name at least six. Oh well, here is my list of Cannon Films I ever liked. In no particular order, Barfly, Runaway Train, 10 to Midnight, and yes, even Masters of the Universe. Okay, that's four. Hopefully by the end of this review I might come up with a total of five titles. I waited for Electric Boogaloo: The Untold Story of Cannon films with baited breath. I especially liked the fact the makers of Not Quite Hollywood, and Machete Maidens Unleashed were responsible for this documentary. I loved those two documentaries. I finally got my copy of Electric Boogaloo: The Untold Story of Cannon Films in the mail. I sat and watched the title, and was I impressed? Did I have fun remembering the long gone days of the eighties? Uh, No! There wasn't anything interesting about the documentary that was worth putting on film. I already knew about the excesses of the megalomaniacs Menacham Golan and Yoram Globus, and how they would (un)intentionally destroy a film. To watch a group of actors, writers, and directors trash the Cannon Films may have seemed like entertainment, but it became boring after awhile, My favorite was Martine Beswicke trying to convince anybody she didn't know what she was signing onto when she made Happy Hooker Goes Hollywood. I nearly busted a gut laughing when the Cannon cousins thought Michael Dudikoff had screen presence. A stick of wood has more screen presence than Mr. Dudikoff. What I remembered most of the Cannon films is, during the eighties, they would release two-three sometimes five movies a the same time, and almost everyone of them bombed. You would have thought after a few megaton bombs, they would have learned. If anything, this documentary might be considered a cautionary tale for new film distributors that quantity does not mean quality. Oh wait a minute! I came up with a fifth title from the Cannon Library I liked- The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. There! Now I got five titles.
Like It Is (1970)
Saw this as a Young' Un- Mild spoiler
My mother used to work for the city, and we would get free passes to the drive in. When I was about ten or so, we were treated to this movie. I always wanted to know what name of the movie about a teenage girl who takes pot and heads into a whirlpool of sex, lesbianism, hardcore stag reels, and suicide. One of the reasons this movie stayed with me for all these decades is, I remembered seeing characters from the TV series, Room 222, Ta-Tanisha and Judy Strangis (Helen) at a pot party. In fact Strangis introduces the lead to weed which sends our heroine into a whirlpool of sex, lesbianism, hardcore stag reels, and suicide. Yeah, the 70s. I found a copy and the movie didn't disappoint me. Just as trashy a I remembered.
Come Out and Play (2012)
Fans of original: Skip it
I really wanted to like this remake of Spanish cult classic, Who Could Kill a Child (1975) AKA Island of the Damned. However the movie is so flat it becomes hard to sit thru since I knew the outcome from the very beginning. As for the acting? There was a reason the female lead of the original, Prunella Ransome, won the Best Actress award from the Sitges International Horror Film festival. Oh well, if you never saw the original, you might like this thriller. Keep in mind, it's not as fast paced as most recent horror thrillers. You might enjoy the build-up. Better yet, look for the original on The Dark Sky DVD label. Then you will see true fear.
Hannah's Law (2012)
The Curse of WB Network TV
Remember the WB network? They researched how FOX and UPN were able to attract young audiences with 90210 and Smallville respectively?. WB tried their hand at capitalizing on the younger audience with TV series pilots featuring a young Aquaman (Mercy Reef), The Lone Ranger, and Heaven forbid, a young Barnabas Collins in a teen oriented Dark Shadows. That is what this movie resembles. First off, a TV movie made in Canada which looks like a pilot for a prospective series. A young bounty hunter searches for the men who killed her family. She gets help from a young Wyatt Earp and a young Doc Holliday. Oh please, and this pilot(?) is setting up for a teen oriented series with the bounty hunter looking for her brother who wasn't killed by the bad guys, but has become an outlaw himself. As usual Billy Zane and Danny Glover are wasted.
Magic Man (2010)
Billy! How could you?
What's worse than this movie having an illogical ending? Where do I start? Could it be the Russian leading lady who only knows three reaction shots, and never once is she right on the reaction shot. The popular Russian Leading man who aspires to be next Van Damme/Schwarzeneggar despite the fact very few people in Russian have heard of him? Or is it the veteran US actors, Zane, Davi, Divoff and Tyson who look and act as if they are doing this film for a quick paycheck? Who knows? Oh Billy! How could you? If anybody can explain the ending, please feel free to explain it to me. You might be glad you did.
Love After Death (1968)
Now that's a twist ending.... NOT!
I saw this film on a triple bill DVD by the good old folks at Something Weird Video. Along with Monstrosity and The Incredible Petrified World, Love After Death seems to be the strongest of the three, and that's not saying much. Nearly silent film with brief snatches of badly dubbed dialog, this sex and horror film emphasizes the sex and very little horror. A man is deliberately buried alive by his unfaithful wife and her business partners. The man crawls out of his coffin and spends the rest of the film, trying to have sex with a half dozen people before he kills his partners and wife. As he is about to be arrested----major spoiler-he disappears. Turns out his spirit came back from the dead, to exact revenge and have sex with a half dozen people. Sorry folks, I didn't make or write this movie, I only saw it.
Jamie. Butch Up!
Heckler is a documentary of minimal proportions. It tries to tell the true life saga of stand-up comics and their battles with the dreaded heckler, or at least that's what the first twenty or so minutes attempt. After that, it's a no holds barred temper tantrum from Jamie Kennedy and his battle with critics who gave his movies, Son of the Mask and Malibu's Most Wanted scathingly bad reviews. Oh Boo-hoo Jamie. You are so sensitive. As if those movies were critic's movies. You and everybody else making the films should know those type of films would never be critic's movies. I didn't particularly care for those two movies. I didn't feel it was necessary to leave my comfortable mobile home to pay over $13.00 complete with over -priced concessions for a matinée showing of those movies. When the movies started their rounds on the premium movie channels, after watching at least half of films until I couldn't take it anymore, I felt I was justified in my decision of not seeing them at the theaters.
I think the main problem with the documentary is, the people getting the bad reviews , deserve everything they get. When mediocrity is being hailed as an art form or worse yet, as genius, that's when you., the public, need to draw the line.
Examples: Why should Paris Hilton be offended, or her feelings hurt when tabloid bloggers trash her character big time. I'm not making a public appearance without panties, and allowing Paparazzi to photograph me in a pose similar to a Hustler magazine. You think Paris isn't doing this on purpose? Joel Schumacher should have been ousted from his throne in Hollywood for the abysmal, homoerotic themed, Batman and Robin. The movie is best described as "Hollywood hairdresser falls in love with George Clooney" I'm not homophobic, and I could possibly care less about Schumacher's private life, but this installment of the Batman franchise almost closed the Batman franchise for good. And he's incensed about critical raspberries? Another segment of the film is just plain silly, and seems to be in the documentary to add more time. Internet Bloggers and their web sites. Jamie, and to all the others, if you really think a douche bag such as Perez Hilton has anything important to say, or if he criticizes you in a negative manner, you deserve your fate to walk the Earth as a broken person because somebody doesn't like you. And he has the audacity to claim not to contest his journalistic credentials? I am a big fan of Billy Zane. Really I am. If you would like to know about Billy (WHY?) do an Internet search and there is one website that is so inane. BillyZanesucks.com is its website. It is so childish. I took one look at it, and stopped looking. Whether it was meant for humor or just a bunch of douche bags spouting off about nothing at all, this website, as well any other website blasting celebs, is nothing more than a waste of bandwidth. Why are you so worried about what they have to say? One of the main problems with Hollywood stars, (or what counts for stars) these days, is you can just tell how many of these people got into the business. They got through the Hollywood system either through nepotism or a much more naughty way. Come on folks, you know the latter most likely is true. It seems these people have never had any legitimate contact with the mainstream public. Very few of these people worked the real world. You never worked retail in a department store in the grungiest neighborhood you can imagine. In this department store, you had to be thick skinned to survive. If you weren't thick skinned, you either got a crash course in becoming thick skinned or you left the store. I remember a young woman came in the store, she was in her mid 20s , and had a note from her mother giving permission to use her credit card. I couldn't accept her purchase After a few minutes of her screaming and hollering, and using every racial remark imaginable regarding us white folk, she stomped off. I could have started crying, brooded about the incident forever (really I'm not brooding. I'm just giving an example) I just dismissed it with a shrug and mentioned to a co-worker who was shaking in fear, "They still breed that in Oakland California?" Not one performer since the mid 1990s impressed upon me as working with the general public where heckling and other sordid character assassinations are the norm. And I don't mean working at a hot dog stand in the Valley waiting for the big shot producer/agent or whatever to take you on the ride of your life to Hollywood and beyond.
Well Jamie, if you are reading this, and I doubt you are. Big deal if Malibu's Most Wanted or Son of the Mask got bad reviews, or I didn't like them. Look where you are and where I am. That's all that matters. If its any consolation, I actually liked Kickin' It Old Skool. Hell, with my luck, you probably think that's your worst movie. Hey! It hit me in the right frame of mind. I'm certain it wasn't a critics film. Get thick skinned Jamie.
Li Xiao Long zhuan qi (1976)
What was the title? I now know
Early in the 1980s, there were four premium channels to choose from on a local cable system, and my family chose all four. HBO, Showtime, The Movie Channel, and a channel the presented low budget drive in stuff, called Bravo. Bravo then became, Rendezvous, and I was having a field day with all the low budget films I could handle. New World Roger Corman titles, Crown International (BORING),Film Ventures International, and a slew of other films from one shot companies or small distribution companies that would soon be forgotten
One evening, I was treated to this film, The Dragon Lives, and as bad and most likely, inaccurate account of Bruce Lee' life, this was a hoot! The problem is, I couldn't remember the name of the film. The channel only showed it once or twice. Scenes of Bruce being a homeless dweeb walking around San Francisco, walking off the set of a racist Asian film, getting involved in Mixed Martial arts tournaments, and doing battle with a behemoth African-American martial artist, and bumping into his soon to-be-wife, Linda by accidentally snatching her sandwich while doing hand exercises remained to me to this day. BUT WHAT WAS THE TITLE OF THIS FILM? For years I was looking for this film. On VHS, writing letters to TV hosts of Kung Fu theater programs thinking they would really know the answer, and talking to martial artists who had collections of Bruce Lee films to no avail. Hell, even Joe Bob Briggs didn't recall the film
With the invention of the Internet, I was able to locate fans of bad martial arts film wanting to know if they ever heard of the film, and if so, what was the title? The closest I got via the Internet was a sole person who replied, the movie was Bruce Lee: the Man the Myth. Uh-no, I recalled the film was Dragon Something or other. I had a EP copy of BL:TMTM and there wasn't anything remotely resembling this film. Someone sent me a scan of the film on VHS with the title, Bruce Lee Man and the Myth, and it seemed that was the right title, but my Alpha video with the same title wasn't the film.
Well, thanks to folks of VCI DVD, I finally found the title, The Dragon Lives. It didn't have the Film Ventures International Georgia Peaches logo at the beginning (which I remembered vividly), but upon scanning through the film, I found it. I found my holy grail of Bruce Lee rip-offs and said -to-be true stories of Lee and his life. Widescreen, too! No classic, but hey on a nice Summer eve, this would play great on my HD 52 inch TV placed outside in my backyard and pretending I'm at the drive in.
Class of '74 (1972)
Bikini Clad Black Woman dancing alert!
It depresses me how I can remember something like this from my youth. At a multi-screen drive in, the movie my family and I were supposed to watch was rather dull (I can't even remember the film's title) so I just turned my head and look out the side window and saw the film Class of 74 w/out sound. The vision of a bikini clad black woman dancing to the credits as well as topless swimmers in the pool was quite a sight. Not to mention, the scene were a macho athlete was getting molested by the team doctor stayed with me forever.
After a few too many decades, I accidentally came across the film from an Internet trader and I had to see if my memory was still as sharp as always, or had it failed me. Well, my memory didn't fail me; here was one of many films that captured my interest in the trashy low budget drive in films of the past.
Well, seeing the film with sound didn't do much for the film. The plot has a group of young college students led by Pat Woodell, Sondra (billed as Sandra) Currie and Marki Bey as the dancing black woman in the bikini taking into their clique, a young Gabriella- the film's original title, and how she should be more free and sexually liberated to be a total woman. Uh- okay.
The viewer is treated to a series of scenes guaranteed to get a howl as these students go from free love seminars, to a film making couple making a documentary of sexually liberated people (featuring the macho athlete now a swishing gay male), a threesome, and open relationships. The film makers must have realized this film didn't a little more than an hour, so they padded the film with Gabriella reminiscing about her Lothario father cruising Sunset Blvd. which ironically is a scene that would have fit in the 1960s not the seventies this film was made. The climax so to speak consists of Pat Woodell (in a horrendously fake platinum wig) inviting Gabriella on a small yacht owned by her rich sugar daddy played by Gary Clarke of How to Make a Monster and Missile to the Moon infamy. How does Gabriella handle the situation? She becomes a mistress to another sugar daddy on the yacht with his wife's approval.
The ending is rather surprising as Gabrielle is taking a young college student under her wing and getting ready to tutor the young student on how she can make her life much better and be a free woman.
Ah yes, the Seventies
Without Each Other (1962)
The Holy Grail For Tony Anthony fans
Without Each Other (AKA Pity Me Not) Cult actor, Tony Anthony, plays Sam, a young man who was brought up in the circus by his father. After the father's accidental death, Sam locates his mother in a small town to inform her of the death of her husband and maybe reconcile as mother and son. The townspeople however have other ideas regarding the mother, a local eccentric who hasn't paid her property taxes. The townspeople intend to have her declared mentally incompetent, and a wealthy citizen wants to take away her house for his son and his girlfriend to live after they get married.
This is one of those movies that make you wonder what happens to the characters after the film is over. I acknowledge that is just a movie, get over it. However, this film makes me wonder about the after effects.
(SPOILERS) The townspeople are hostile to the young man, Sam. The town clerk refuses to accept the money needed to pay the property taxes; the Sheriff won't help the young man, and the son of the wealthy man in town instigates a brawl with Sam, and the townspeople don't even step in and stop the fight. Later in the film, as expected, the girlfriend of the rich man's son falls in love with Sam, and asks her father, the Sheriff, for assistance in helping the mother of Sam with her problems, and with the townspeople. During one fateful night, the rich man's son and his friends cause a ruckus at the home of Sam's mother, and cause her to have a fatal heart attack. All of a sudden, the townspeople come to the aid of Sam in helping pick a burial plot, etc. Sam turns his back on the townspeople, buries his mother on the land her house is, and returns to the circus. The girlfriend mentions "She will see Sam at the circus" As Sam walks away into the sunset back to the circus.
I wonder what will happen next. The Sheriff makes mention about the responsibility of the son who caused the death of Sam's mother, the rich father already has a defense planned, and what will the townspeople think about their part in this tragedy. And what will happen to the house? Will the town still sell the house at the auction? Who would buy the house with the controversy about how the house was acquired?
Will Sam go back to the circus as very embittered young man? After all, he lost both his mother and father. If he stays with the circus and by chance he gets married to some woman (certainly not the daughter of the Sheriff) will he make sure whatever happened between his mother and father never ever happens between him and his wife? If he has children will they never have to go through what he went through as a young man?
I take it from the looks of the low budget (you gotta love the use of Pathecolor), this film may be an adaptation of a locally written and produced play with the townspeople as well as Summer stock performers putting on a show. Get a load of the character that is to assess the value of the items for the auction. The overuse of stage make-up almost had me in stitches
I was able to buy a PAL VHS title of this film under the title, Pity Me Not, and had it transferred to NTSC. I wasn't disappointed. I guess after this film, Tony Anthony went to Hollywood and couldn't get his foot in the door, and then relocated to Italy and the rest is cult film/star history.