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Justice can be loud as war is hell.
This HBO cable film skirts fact and fiction; nonetheless, very interesting. Legendary Mexican revolutionary, Pancho Villa, convinces famed movie director D.W. Griffith to enter a money making project. General Villa (Antonio Banderas) finds himself strapped for money in his war with Mexico's dictator Victorio Huerta. American arms are hard to come by due to an embargo pushed by the wealthy William Randolph Hearst. Villa makes Griffith (Colm Feore) an unheard of offer of unrestricted access to film actual combat between his forces and the Mexican Federales. Pancho seems to be an astute businessman, as he is a social freedom fighter. All he wants is 25 grand and about 20 percent of profits from the documentary.
Special effects appear too good for a TV movie and Banderas IS Pancho Villa. Mr. Banderas is a natural and fully in his element. Also in the cast: Kyle Chandler, Damian Alcazar, Eion Bailey, Michael McKean, Matt Day, Alexa Davalos, Cosme Alberto, Saul Rubinek and Alan Arkin.
A Great White takes on...what?
This is one of those that is ridiculously bad enough to be good. Not award earning caliber, but good enough for fun. More smiles than groans anyway. A monster Great White shark happens to eat a chunk of a UFO that falls in the Pacific. Immediately this giant flipper becomes a Roboshark, that by circumstance bumps into an investigative submarine. This makes for an unhappy shark that buzz saws through the Nuclear Sub with its metal teeth. Roboshark goes on the move and prepares for a battle with the US Navy at Seattle's Space Needle.
Let some decent special effects make up for the acting and poor dialogue. In the cast: Matt Rippy, Alexis Peterman, Vanessa Grasse, Nigel Barber, Kicker Robinson and Laura Dale.
The Boy Who Cried Werewolf (1973)
Is it really possible? Believe it or die!
Richie Bridgestone (Scott Seale) is spending the weekend with his divorced dad Robert (Kerwin Mathews) at his mountainside home. A casual walk in the woods turns hectic when young Richie is attacked by something. Robert jumps to his son's rescue and is bitten during the ruckus by a...werewolf. The area sheriff (Robert J. Wilke) investigates and Richie describes the creature as having long streaked colored hair and a dog-like snout; kind of fluffy and friendly, but strong and vicious. Dear old dad is too confused to be sure what his attacker looked like. A prowling werewolf howling under the full moon gives a good reason to be more than cautious.
Nathan Juran directs and Ted Stovall provides some very good scene punctuation. More schlock than scare; but a fun watch. Other players: Susan Foster, Jack Lucas, Elaine Devry, George Gaynes and Loretta Temple.
Monsters University (2013)
Animated college comedy from Pixar.
Dan Scanlon directs Pixar's sequel to MONSTERS, INC. That cuddly one-eyed monster Mike Wazowki (Billy Crystal) and his eccentric pal James P. Sullivan (John Goodman) discuss their underdog fraternity days at college. The mismatched combo started off as bitter rivals, but slowly become best buds in an inseparable friendship.
This is a high quality animated romp with top notch cinematography. Maybe fewer belly laughs than the original, but absolutely nothing objectionable, albeit the youngest of viewers might be scared by some of the images. Nonetheless, even grandparents can find enough to enjoy. How can you find time to be scared, when you're laughing!
Crystal and Goodman get help with other talented voices like: Steve Buscemi, Bobby Moynihan, Dave Foley, Helen Mirren, Alfred Molina, Peter Sohn, Joel Murray, Bonnie Hunt and Charlie Day.
Slow burning love affair.
CAROL is a deliberate, structured melodrama that is set in the 1950s during the buttoned-down era that found lesbian romance very taboo. A wealthy New York socialite named Carol Aird (Cate Blanchette) and a meek young department store clerk Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara) enter a carefully orchestrated attachment. Carol and her husband Harge (Kyle Chandler) are at perpetual odds in a relationship that is only bound by the love of a young daughter. Carol needs to get away from thoughts of impending divorce proceedings and invites her young love interest on a road trip.
The story is a slow burner and any lack of dialogue can be overlooked by the expressive eye contact and quiet body language. Blanchette and Mara are refreshing and heartfelt. There is obvious chemistry on display. Others in the cast: Sarah Paulson, Jake Lacy, Cory Michael Smith and Carrie Brownstein.
A terrific soundtrack features: Pattie Page, Jo Stafford, The Clovers, Pee Wee King, Billie Holiday, The Four Aces, Woody Herman and Perry Como.
Mr. Winkle Goes to War (1944)
From nobody to somebody!
This is a war drama with some humor. Edward G. Robinson plays Wilbert Winkle, a somewhat nerdy, mild-mannered banker that decides to quit his job and open his own handyman fix-it shop. His overbearing wife Amy (Ruth Warrick) is very displeased and orders him to move into his shop in the garage. Nag, nag, nag and Wilbert is surprised and actually thrilled when he gets notice of being drafted for military duty during WWll; to put on that uniform and fight the Japanese. Who could ever image wimpy Mr. Winkle returning a war hero? Other players: Richard Lane, Ted Donaldson, Robert Armstrong, Bob Haymes, William Forrest, Warren Ashe and Hugh Beaumont.
Quigley Down Under (1990)
Resurgence of the good western movies.
Matt Quigley (Tom Selleck) is a former buffalo hunter from Wyoming looking for a fresh start from regretting starving out American Indians. His guilt leads him to taking a job offer from an Australian rancher named Elliott Marston (Alan Rickman), who wants a sharp shooter to kill dingoes on his property at a distance. Before Matt can put his replica Buffalo Rifle to good use, he discovers Marston's real targets are the Australian Aborigines. After Quigley refuses the mean-spirited rancher, he is left for dead in the outback, where he rescues the fetching Crazy Cora (Laura San Giacomo), who insists in calling him Roy. Matt's only fault is always doing the "right" thing.
Wonderful scenery of Down Under. Simon Wincer directs a story by John Hill that you can't help but stay interested in. Rickman is a good a villain as Selleck is a hero. Other players include: Ron Haddrick, Tony Bonner, Ben Mendelsohn, Jerome Ehlers, William Zappa, Steve Dodds and Conor McDermottroe.
Everybody loves a killer clown!!
Jon Watts directs and shares credit for the screenplay. Gorier is better. A slow bloodbath with little motivation, but a wonderful invitation to be terrified. Young Jack (Christian Distefano) is really looking forward to his birthday party complete with clown. But when the clown fails to show and not to have the party spoiled, Kent (Andy Powers) puts on an old clown suit, to save his son's party. But when it is time to take the clown outfit off, he can't remove it without causing bodily harm. Yes, creepy and a bit scary. The last fifteen minutes are to die for.
Music by Neil Sedaka and Nirvana are part of the soundtrack. Also in the cast: Laura Allen, Peter Stormare and Chuck Shamata.
Ozark Sharks (2016)
Sometimes it is hard to get along with nature.
Backwoods terror seems to hold a place in the horror genre; and why is it fun to watch the rural variety? Misty Talley directs this out in the country tale that should feature some gators or crocs; but doesn't, let's have sharks for the killer chomps. Family and friends arrive at a resort in the Ozarks for some sun and relaxation. The first local they see is a died-in-the-wool survivalist with a harpoon gun mounted on his pickup truck. There must be a reason; damn sure!! Somehow a bunch of bull sharks have found their way into America's water system and have sneaked their way upriver into the Ozark Mountains.
Of course, the Ozarks are mainly in lower Missouri and upper Arkansas; OZARK SHARKS is filmed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Those CGI sharks are a bit shoddy and change size compared to surroundings...but terror is in those shark bites, Babe! Cast of players include: Ashton Leigh, Thomas Francis Murphy, Heather Paige, Becky Andrews, Laura Cayouette, Dave Davis and Ross Britz.
Brain or brawn? Search for a perfect society.
This science fiction story is set in a post-apocalyptic Chicago as society is organized into five distinct factions all based on personality aptitude. Youths are forced to be tested at age 16 resulting in their choosing to belong to specific districts. The choice is not reversible. Beatrice (Shailene Woodley) changes her name to Tris as she learns her cognitive skills make her very useful to the authorities, but a person to be feared by the government. Tris is a "Divergent" and becomes a girl on the run as she must outwit those that seek her elimination.
This movie is directed by Neil Burger and is based on a Veronica Roth novel. The cast also features: Theo James, Ansel Elgort, Zoe Kravitz, Kate Winslet, Mekhi Phifer, Jai Courtney, Maggie Q and Ashley Judd.