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Disco Fever (1978)
This is the correct review of the film from someone who watched it
Late 50's teen idol Desmond (FABIAN) and his comical manager (CASEY KASEM) gets mixed up with a corrupt disco owner/music manager Cybill who wants to sign Desmond up for a contract only to use him for a opening act for a new disco singer (MICHAEL BLODGETT) on a new DISCO inside a airplane. Fabian sings 3 new songs (not disco) in this very lost gem. In fact, his song "movin' on" sounds like a 1973 song, not 1978. Do not believe on other reviews of this film, THIS FILM DOES NOT CONTAIN TOP 40 HITS, this film contains original songs and music. Any film with Casey Kasem playing a Horny manager and King of Kustomizer George Barris in it, it's should be out on DVD! BTW, the scene the previous reviewer mentioned are NOT IN THIS FILM. no Manilow, no Jefferson starship, but we do get Shabba-Doo the Breakdancer in it!
Flesh and Bullets (1985)
don't let the cast fool you
Oh my god! Yvonne De Carlo, Aldo Ray, Cesar Romero and the return of the great Cornel Wilde in his last role! Well, I have been wanting to see this film ever since it was advertised on the Variety back in 1985 because of the incredible cast, but the 19 year wait was a let down. Yvonne DeCarlo and Cesar Romero played judges in a divorce case and only appeared for 30 seconds (!). aldo ray (who was doing tons of these type of movie) must have talked Cornel Wilde (who was not doing "Z" films) to do a 2min scene (a comeback!) with him, because they both appear in a police scene that look like it was off another film. Wilde who usual do film with political messages or quality work looks tired and looks as if he might have thought this was a student film or something different to be involved in this type of film. All 4 talents are tacked in on a direct-to-video feature about a divorced loser who robs a bank to pay for his child support/alimony payment.
he meets up with another loser who also has the same ex-wife problem. they both agree to help each other by meeting the other's wife and kill them, but they fall in love with other's ex's instead. some sex scenes look edited as if this might have been a hardcore adult film once. the photography looks like outdated 16mm film stock, sort of like those late 70's adult film was shot in. sharon kelly only speaks one-line in a pointless cameo, and look for Robert Z'dar billed as Robert west playing Dan the psycho ex-boyfriend. Seeing what the director made in the past, it must be a ambitious attempt to break into the mainstream films, but a little too late for this film didn't even get any sales on most major countries. I hope to see a English language release of this one day, but with DVD business these days most people will complain over the photograph of the film for it's really grainy.
Only if aldo ray and cornel wilde got out of the police station and did some detective work to add credibility to this film. real shame it's wilde's last film.
The Farmer (1977)
One of the best 70's revenge films
I was fortunate enough to see this film, and it is one of the best 70's style revenge film, but also wisely uses screen time to build up the plight of the lead character, and also has some great "revenge" sequences.You can see why Columbia pictured decided to release this. The film starts with the lead, Kiel Martin (Gary Conway) in a train, and how he gets beat up and kicked off a train for helping a black soldier buy a drink (it was no-no back then) as this shows what a decent character he is, but how he can't seem to escape violence since earning a silver star in the War.
Through a chain of events (some of them rather rushed, so I assume it was either explained in the original script or that scene was cut out for time) he is hired by a gangster (Michael Dante) to go after the gangsters who blinded him, and in return, give him the cash needed to save the farm! And thru a pulsating music score by Hugo Montenegro, he dispatches them one by one! It is more similar to ROLLING THUNDER in the nihilistic feel revenge genre, and only weak point of the film is Gary Conway, who is rather bland, and too "city" to be really convincing as the title character. Still it is a classic for it's era,and not to be missed by any fans of this genre. Just dont expect it to be in vain with todays action films ,as the unavailability of this title for 26 years has caused this film to be in so many peoples must see list,that their expectation level must be really high, so I am afraid they might be rather disappointed with what to expect of it.
Just enjoy the more "character driven, and that character reaches to the point of revenge" films of yesteryears, then you will agree, THE FARMER is right near the best of them, like ROLLING THUNDER, FIGHTING MAD and BREAKING POINT. In fact, I think Fred Williamson might have been influenced by this film, as his film MEAN JOHNNY BARROWS is very very similar in the storyline department with THE FARMER. He also hired Dante in THE BIG SCORE so he must have really liked THE FARMER.
blackplotation it is not!
Lialeh is a well made cheap adult film that recently got a major hype due to the soundtrack done by Bernard Purdie. It was legit released by Arrow videos with a mention it is THE BLACK DEEPTHROAT (since Arrow released DEEP THROAT on video), but the film has nothing to do with deepthroat nor even shares the plotline. The film stands on it's own, with multiple locations which was uncommon in early 70's adult films. It was also uncommon to have a film mostly black cast for a adult film in that era. The film director Barron Borcovichy does a wonderful job making this cheap film look professional, especially the soundtrack. He must have been happy to get Mr. Purdie to sing for he shows it twice in the film. (too bad his lipsic don't match). Muscial number "pink on the inside" is creative and excellent. great subplot involving a priest, and a loser who tells Lialeh he was in love with a girl who was a guy! You watch this film, you don't get those lame saturday night raincoat film you get in the 73, you get something more. It's a pure 70's film, not a 90's/2000 video film that has zero plot so video rental people can fastforward to the sex scene. Barron knows how to keep the gap between the sex scene with creative plotlines to entertain the audience at the theatres. It's a shame filmmaking of a adult film died in video era.
In fact, in the 80's my old video store had 2 vhs and 1 beta of this film and I had customers who rented it many times. I even use mention of this film on several scripts I wrote (never got made (: ). I try to buy the soundtrack many times but the terms "blackplotation" was used so the price was way too high. There is nothing explotation on black people lialeh, it doesn't have evil white people that is required for these "blackplotation" films. I think many people who knows about this film now days is misguided thinking it's something it is not. Lialeh is a entertaining movie, watchable from start to finish and a standout film on it's own. even the shocking ending will even make you laugh at the end. It's too bad the cast or the director never did anything, but it was the 70's so people disappear back then. maybe under another name?
Aian kingu (1972)
A different approach to the Japanese Giant 70's Hero formula
Now those familiar with the giant Japanese hero formula of the early 70's was that the hero had the ability to turn big, he joins a Science Group in charge of saving earth from the invaders/bad guys, he turns into the giant hero when all else fails and saves the day and his team members. Well IRON KING is completely different.
The basic premise as Shôji Ishibashi as Gentarô Shizuka, a loner type who in the first chapter (episode 1 thru 10) tries to stop the Unknown Clan from taking over Japan, as they are a clan thats been suppressed for 10,000 years and is now is their destiny to rule Japan, as they have 10 sub-bosses, each with a remote control to control a giant robot. Their leader is played by Shinzo Hotta, who was memorable as Tokageron (lizard man) in Kamen Ryder, and as General Monster in one of the new Kamen Riders and as Arigaban's controller in Aka Kage. When Gentaro is in trouble, his tag-along, Gorô Kirishima, unknown to Gentaro, transforms into IRON KING.
But here is the difference, IRON KING proves to be super weak as he has no special powers whatsoever, as he is easily defeated by the evil robot, so in the end Gentaro saves Iron King's butt by using his steel metal whip (??!!) usually destroying the robot, unfortunatly, the method he uses in destroying the robot actually contradicts with the NEXT episode! Like for example, in the first episode, Gentao destroys Vaccumila by fighting the sub-boss/controller of Vacuumila, who them jumps up to his robot, but drops the remote control, so Gentaro throws the remote control to the robot, making the robot blow up! In episode 2, he steals the remote away from the guy controlling Jairocket, so he somehow knew how to operate the remote, and controls Jairocket, who just beat up Iron King, as Jirocket picks up his master, and squeezes him, killing him causing the robot to blow up! Then in episode 3, he destroys the remote for Double Satan, so it and the boss runs, so when it appears again, beating up Iron King, Gentaro sees a opening in Double Satan, so he throws a gernade in it, blowing it up, BUT in the next episode, he whips the guy controlling Devil Tiger, so the guy drops the remote, which makes Devil Tiger blow up, falling on the controller!
Now if thats possible, why didnt Double Satan Blow up? Or why didn't Black Knight, whos master got killed by Gentaro, blow up as well? the reason Iron King was so weak, and Gentaro was the one finishing off the robots was at the time, Shôji Ishibashi was a popular Tv star with the girl viewers, so in order to make him look good, and to appeal to the girl viewers, he was the one who kill the baddies. This went on until in episode 11, when a new bad group, the Mirage Army, took over, with their remote controlled Dinosaur robots, which again, had Gentaro saving Iron King and destryoing them, usually by using his whip to catch a missile shot out by the dinosaur robot, and he threw it back at them! and from episode 9 to 18, they had the "it" girl of the moments, usually japanese Tv actresses to singers, making guest appearences, as the show to me seem to really wanted to distance itself away from the usual Japanese kid show audiences.Even the cool end credit theme was like a cool "kakoii" theme song, like a regular top 40 hit.
But I guess someone must have said enough is enough, as on episode 16, Iron King FINALLY gotten some weapons (unlike other super heros, he had no weapons whatsoever) and even gotten a "finisher" to kill the monsters. Also when episode 18 started, those 2 was finally revealed to be working for a science organization, as a new leading lady regular was added, as they faced Titanians, 10 aliens who had the power to turn into a giant bug monster (but only 6 turned into a monster, I guess they didn't plan on ending the show at episode 26?)
Still it is a very enjoyable and fun show, and still holds up today, thanks to it being so unique and different from the typical shows of that era (like the Tsuburuyara shows like FIREMAN and JUMBORG ACE).
Ai no senshi Reinbôman (1972)
Viewed today, a INCREDIBLE show that isn't really for kids
This show, when I viewed it as a child back in 1971,I didn't find it interesting, as it didn't have monsters, but there was many dramatical moments that stuck with me, that I didn't forget. When this show was released on LD in Japan in 1994, I bought it, and I cannot believe this was sold as a kid's show! It plays much better as a adult serial,as it holds up much better than as I remembered it as a child (sort of like as a child I found ULTRA-7 boring, but not other Ultraman, but now that I am older,I appreciate ULTRA-7's stories ALOT more.Very "mature" and Serious themes/tone).
The basic premise was this young wrestler goes to India, studies from a guru to be the best so he can make enough money for his crippled sister to have surgery on her legs, and becomes a hero who has 7 different powers with 7 different suits (the moon=shrinking, brown=earth, red=fire, blue=water, green=forest/tree, gold=lightning/brightness, white=default) as he then gets mixed up with and discovers a sinister plot from the evil Die Die gang to kill all of Japan. Apperently these guys are foreigners, hinting they might be of other Asian race, as they keep refering to the japanese people in racist slangs (and this passed the Tv censors!)and some just look japanese for they went through this machine that turns Americans into Japanese!
Whats more incredible is in the era of masked superheros like KAMEN RIDER, Rainbowman was fighting fellow humans. Also the show was structured like a serial, with each storyline ending in one season (13 episodes). Just to build up the introduction on Rainbowman and his training to be Rainbowman, it took 3 episodes, as it took episode 4 just to introduce Mister K and his organization! The structure of each episode was like a serial, no real ending until the season was over, very much in tune with other shows created by Yasunori Kawauchi like GEKKO KAMEN, HARIMAO, CONDORMAN, and DIAMOND EYE.
And of course just like the above mentioned shows, the show was amazingly politically incorrect! Show had tons of racist slur against the japanese people, as well as the heavy handed message by Yasunori Kawauchi, just like he did with his other show, of the theme of the evil foreigners who comes to Japan to destroy Japan, but the Japanese people's heart will fight until death(he is a very right wing man). The plans of the Die Die Gang's way of destroying Japan was very politically incorrect as well. First chapter they used a new soft drink, Cat's Eye, which was a poisonous juice that turns one insane, as they were turning japanese people into crazed maniacs, then on 2nd season they created a phony cult that gives away 100's of thousands of yen, which was actually counterfeit, to ruin the japanese economy, the 3rd season had them having DAC (death Attack Commandos), mercenaries from South Africa (how fitting) as they disguised as Japanese citizens, killing tourist and foreigners, making Japan a unsafe place for foreign vistiors to come, thus ruining their reputation, and 4th season had them turning innocent people into cyborgs on killing spree.
Oh there was some what of "kaijin" like villians, in the form of the Professional Assassin team, but they were humans/hired killers trying to assassinate Rainbowman. They all wore disgusting halloween masks, as fudorah with his poison (he controlled Spiders and Snakes), Goluma the human pump (he breath fire and acid from his mask),Genobird who had gernade bombs on his cape, Herodonia the 3rd, who controled Hedron which can turn people into fossil, Skullman and Iguana, who practiced voodoo, and I can never forget Otsuki Wolf as Elebander, a human spark man! (he was also good as J gordon/salamander in Condorman) Of course Rainbowman beat them all, all using logic (Galma was killed when Rainbowman threw a arrow at his pump, which caused the acid to leak all over him, Jenobird was killed for rainbowman blew up his cape, etc).
Anyway, looking at it today this is one of the most enjoyable kids show from japan from that era, that thanks to a serious writing that is now appealing is most appreciated by adults who kind of ignored it back then. Iknew alot of kids ins chool ignored it back in 1972, but I know they all like the show much better than the shows that just dont hold up today (Ultraman Leo is one). Still me and my friends couldn't believe the Tv network let Yasunori Kawauchi get by with so much Racist slang and anti-american/pro old time japan messages. It IS incredible to see it today realizing what he was trying to preach to the youth of then.Even the shows theme song has "heavy" messages written in them!
Another 70's post-nuclear hollywood film.
Richard Harris and Alana Stewart (George hamilton's ex, and at the time Mrs. Rod Stewart) plays couple trying to survive the future where earth is pretty much dead. Now there are these normads called the ravagers that roams and kills because they are your typical bad guys. The leader is character actor Anthony James. They even play undressing the manniquin (later stolen by MAD MAX). James and his ravager's attack Harris and Stewart, and kills Stewart leaving Harris for dead. Harris in return comes back and kills James' gay sidekick making James go on a revenge trail. Harris goes on a quest for a better life meeting a messed up old army guy (art Carney), Ann Turkel, Woody Strode and Ernest Borgnine (who takes 70min to appear only to disappear in 81min). Cassel plays a nothing part as a blindman who gets stoned. The film looks real cheap and it looks like it was cut to get a PG rating. The film is very padded, but looks slopply edited near the end. In fact James seems to be gaining more new ravagers which each new scene! It's ironic that this was Hollywood's answer to the apocalypstic theme, as this and DAMNATION ALLEY killed the apocalypitic theme craze, and it took a Aussie film MAD MAX 2 3 years later to get people interested in this genre once again, causing a grut of Italian rip-offs! But nothing beats the cheeziness of the original "Hollywood" incarnation The Ravagers!
Za kagesutaa (1976)
Japanese version of a Marvel/D.C comic super hero (until the inevitable KAMEN RIDER re-working)
This show's first season was quite different from the usual Japanese Super Hero as the villians were not robots or monsters, but rather petty criminals who wears a helmet or headgear that had a animal design, which gave them that animals powers, and comitted just petty crimes. They were just career criminals, who in the end gets arrest, just like the super criminal types found in American comic book hero comics ala SPIDERMAN, BATMAN etc (like Dr Octopus, Black Manta, Scorpion, etc). Villians range from purse snatchers like OWL THE THIEF to blackmailers like RAT MAN and his mohawked sidekick MOHICAN, and espionage spy LAVENDER NEWT to gold thief BIG GOLD WARLOCK (who uses his pet snake and even slithered like a snake).
The heros were KAGESTAR (SHADOW STAR) and BELL STAR. They were actually the daughter of a wealthy business man and her friend, who was a shadowpuppettier, who got kidnapped by BEATLEWIZARD for ransom, but escapes, but accidently falls onto a power line, in which for no apperent reason this causes their shadows to take a life of its own, thus becoming KAGESTAR and BELLSTAR (this by the way is the most WEAKEST explanation of someone to get super hero powers in history of Japanese Super Heros). So when in dire need, these two now have the power to summon their shadows to be...KAGESTAR and BELLSTAR (as in 1976 was a popular year for japanese heroes to have fighting female sidekick like KAMEN RIDER STRONGER)! In fact the show even had KAMEN RIDER regular Kobayashi Akiji in atypical role as a bumbling police inspector.
However, superheroes battling petty criminals might not have worked for the children audience, as after the 12th episode, all but 4 of the regulars was written out, and the show became VERY similar to KAMEN RIDER, as the rest of the episodes, they faces DR SATURN, and his Nazi like group, SATURN ARMY.
In fact they were similar to SHOCKER, Kamen Riders old villian, as they had foot soldiers who marches like Nazi's and was Nazi released, had Naya Goro doing the voice of DR SATURN (he did the voice of SHOCKERS big boss), and also used Mutated Beings with monster powers as the monsters of the week, similar to the Kamen Riders Mutant beings. The show then became a decent success as it lasted 35 episodes, but I still prefered the first season where taking on bank robbers like CHAMELEON MAN, as he gets knocked unconscious, as Kobayashi removes his headgear and arrests him. I liked that "realistic" touch. Kind of liked the "U.S comic" touch, as KAGESTARS cape even has U.S star (like Evel Knievel like) on it. BUT if you are a big fan of KAMEN RIDER, be sure to catch the shows last 2 1/2 seasons, as it was VERY similar in style. Fascinating!
Headin' for Broadway (1980)
Not bad effort from Joseph Brooks
Many people pick on this film, but I didn't find this film to be that bad. Barely released film(Seattle is one of the city to get this film). Rex Smith, Paul Carafortes, Terri Treas play struggling broadway dancer/singer who goes through hard times trying to make it in a musical cattle call. Production problem shows in this film as we see many flashback in dream sequence, and choppy editing. Realistic acting as if this was sort of filmed in a documentary style. Rex Smith sings two catchy songs "woman" and "Headin' for Broadway". It a shame Brooks never made another film after this. 20th Century Fox release threw this film away. This film could've really made the three stars into major stars. Now we see Rex advertise infomercial, Paul missing, and Terri direct Roger Corman films. Recommended.
Cop Target (1991)
Umberto Lenzi directs this boring action film
Robert "The Exterminator" Ginty! Directed by Umberto Lenzi! This can't go wrong! It was booooring! Slow, poorly paced action film has Ginty as a tough cop escorting a widow of a DEA agent who goes to a small country to see her dead husband who was killed in the line of duty. Ginty, who's films I always liked, is trying to work on very badly written script. Charles Napier is also wasted. Good location, but bad sound doesn't help. Hardly any violence coming from Lenzi who usually make gory films. Not recommended.