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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
**SPOILERS** James Bond (George Lazenby) battles the evil Blofeld
(Telly Savalas) who has plans to sterilize the entire world (or
something like that--the plot is kind of vague). He also falls in love
with beautiful countess Tracy (Diana Rigg).
This is a VERY controversial Bond film. Some fans hate it simply because Sean Connery isn't in it and they find Lazenby bad. Others (like me) think it's one of the best of the series. If it's such a bad movie why was it such a huge hit at the box office? Also I think Lazenby is pretty good as Bond. He doesn't have the effortless charisma of Connery or the easy-going charm of Roger Moore but he's a hell of a lot better than the terrible Timothy Dalton. He's tall, handsome and excellent in the action sequences. Even better he plays off Rigg incredibly well in the romance scenes. The movie itself is great! As I said the plot is kind of vague (especially in the edited TV prints) and the first part is kind of slow. It's also way too long at 140 minutes. But when the action kicks into high gear during the last hour or so it's fantastic. There's car chases, ski chases, plenty of fist fights, a hair-raising bobsled fight...even an avalanche. Also this is the only film where Bond gets married. There's also beautiful locations, a great soundtrack and good acting. Rigg has got to be the best Bond girl ever (with Carey Lowell running a close second). The only real debit is Savalas badly miscast as Blofeld. Charles Grey and Donald Pleasance did a much better job with the character. All in all a great Bond movie. Recommended.
The "Thriller" TV show started out primarily as a crime anthology but started to veer over to horror during its first season. This was their first horror show and it's not bad. An obnoxious guy named Duncan Corey (a ridiculously young Rip Torn) is left an old haunted house when his brother dies. He wants to sell it BUT must spend a year in it before he can do it. If he leaves or dies it goes to his cousins--Rachel and Oliver Judson (Patricia Barry and Richard Anderson). He agrees and it goes predictably at first with strange noises and unexplained events. However it changes gears halfway through, throws in a twist and ends on a satisfying note. Not really scary but creepy and well-acted...except for Torn. He is a wonderful actor but not here. He over OVER acts to an embarrassing degree and it gets tiresome. Still it's worth catching.
Takes place three years after the first. Mike (Channing Tatum) is out
of the stripping business and owns his own (failing) company. He gets a
call from his ex stripper buddies. They're going to a stripper
convention and want him to join them for one last time. They go on a
road trip to get there and, along the way, encounter many interesting
women such as Zoe (Amber Heard), a former girlfriend of Mikes named
Rome (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Nancy (Andie MacDowell).
The original didn't need a sequel but who cares? We get to see a cast of attractive guys in GREAT shape stripping. The original seemed to go out of its way to NOT objectify the guys as sex objects. Not here! The camera gets up close and comfortable showing how pumped and attractive these guys are. Also the other strippers (Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer and Adam Rodriguez) barely had more than a few words in the original. Here they have fully fleshed out stories and characters. The acting is great (Smith especially was wonderful), the script sharp and the strip acts were incredible. The prime audience for this is women and gay men. As a gay guy I loved it! Recommended.
On New Years Eve a huge wall of water capsizes an ocean liner turning
it upside down. A small group of people survive and have to work their
way up to the bottom of the ship to survive. There's the lead a
progressive priest (Gene Hackman), the bickering couple (Stella Stevens
and Ernest Borgnine), the lonely guy (Red Buttons), the equally lonely
girl (Carol Lynley), a ship steward (Roddy McDowell), an elderly couple
(Shelley Winters and Jack Albertson) and a young brother and sister
(Pamela Sue Martin and Eric Shea). And, in a dramatic role, Leslie
Nielsen as the Captain.
The characters are predictable and the dialogue is terrible but it doesn't really matter. The boat capsizing happened fairly quick (30 minutes in) and then the action and adventure kicks in and there's never a let-up. The special effects are still impressive even by today's standards (the boat capsizing is VERY good). Also, despite the bad dialogue, the entire cast is excellent in their roles. Stevens and Borgnine are especially funny. An excellent movie well worth seeing. Ignore the dreadful remake named "Poseidon".
Dreadful TV series based on the "Scream" films. It takes the basic premise of the films (kids being stalked by a killer), throws in a new storyline with different characters and uninteresting twists. The show tries to show how clever it thinks it is by referencing old horror films and shoving social media in our face nonstop. The opening killing isn't scary or particularly well-done. It just made me remember how good and scary Drew Barrymore's one from the original was. The actors hired to play the "kids" are way obviously too old for high school. They're all good-looking but have zero acting ability. The worst is easily John Karna. His line readings were so awkward I didn't know how to take his character. He's talking about murderers and killings in a VERY annoying casual way. Worst of all the show wasn't interesting or the least bit scary. The nonstop commercials MTV kept inserting didn't help. I won't be tuning in for episode 2.
A woman is going to bed. She turns off the light in the hallway but
then sees a silhouette of...something in the dark. She turns back on
the light but there's nothing there. She turns it off again and it
appears again. Again on and off...but now it's closer.
No dialogue in this one. Just VERY effective sound effects and some eerie music. The acting by the one person in the film is effective and it's very well-directed. All kidding aside--I slept with my bedside lamp on all night after watching this and I'm a huge horror fan that has seen hundreds of horror films! Quick, effective and very very scary.
This takes place in 1815. Young handsome Edmond Dantes (Robert Donat)
is unjustly accused of treason by three evil men. He is imprisoned but
his girlfriend Mercedes (Elissa Landi) vows to wait for him. Then he is
mistakenly believed to be dead and she abandons hope. He is in prison
for 20 years virtually forgotten. Then with the help of another
prisoner (O.P. Heggie) he escapes and vows revenge on all three of the
men who wronged him. The problem is Mercedes is now married to one of
I never read the book so I can't compare it but this is a fast-moving and very good film. It was independently made but still has excellent production values and costumes. The story is shown in quick short sequences which move briskly ahead. Donat is excellent in the lead however he's physically all wrong for the role. He's tall and thin and was plagued by health problems all his life and it shows here occasionally. Heggie is also excellent in his role and was just a year away from playing a blind beggar in "Bride of Frankenstein". Landi unfortunately is pretty terrible as Mercedes. She comes across as unattractive and somewhat cruel. I kept wondering what Edmond saw in her. Still this is a very good movie and well worth watching. Good luck finding a clean print.
Pointless sequel to "The Poseidon Adventure" that came out 7 YEARS
after the original! It opens shortly after the survivors of the
original are rescued and flown away. Then a small salvage crew (Michael
Caine, Karl Malden and Sally Field) arrives to get what jewels and
money they can get from the boat before it totally sinks. Then ANOTHER
boat shows up headed by a doctor (Telly Savalas) to find and help any
more survivors. So they all head into the ship. They find MORE
survivors but their way out is blocked off and they have to find a way
Pointless and stupid full of HUGE plot holes (it is never explained what Savalas wants and why) and stock characters. The puzzling thing is they got talented actors to play these one-dimensional roles. There's Peter Boyle (with hair) playing a angry father, his young daughter (Angela Cartwright) and a man who saved her (Mark Harmon). Then there's a married couple (Shirley Knight and Jack Weston) who needs help...but he's blind. Then there's Shirley Jones as a nurse. Next up is a "humorous" drunk played by Slim Pickens. Last is Veronica Hammel who barely figures in this.
Field plays the "comic" relief but some of her lines are downright painful. The situations are dull and the action sequences are just rehashes from the first film. There's a HUGE amount of things that make little sense (good luck trying to figure out what happened between Hammil and Savalas) and it gets frustrating. The acting varies. The whole cast tries but the characters are drab and the dialogue is terrible. Savalas is easily the worst actor here. Caine is the best. But, all in all, a dull pointless movie. Avoid.
Vienna (Joan Crawford) is a tough saloon owner in the old west. She's
unjustly accused of a holdup, a murder AND a bank robbery by evil Emma
Small (Mercedes McCambridge). She has to battle Emma and the
townspeople and is helped by her old boyfriend Johnny Guitar (Sterling
This was shot as a movie against the witch hunts done in the 1950s for communists. However it bombed in its initial release. Even Crawford later on said it was a mistake. It was rediscovered in the 1980s and is now regarded as a camp classic! It's full of ridiculous, overripe dialogue that makes you seriously wonder if the writers were kidding. It's shot in BRIGHT color with some fascinating (if obvious) imagery. There's also a STRONG lesbian subtext in the relationship between Emma and Vienna. It's well-known that Crawford hated both McCambridge and Hayden and it comes through loud and clear on the screen. The movie moves along at a brisk pace and has plenty of fist fights and gun fights to keep audiences happy. The acting is pretty good with Crawford overdoing it (as always). An absolutely fascinating and fun western. Recommended.
Bad sequel to the fantastic 2012 "The Avengers". Tony Stark/Iron Man
(Robert Downey Jr.) and Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) attempt to
jumpstart a system to keep peace all over the Earth. Things go wrong
and they create a being called Ultron (voiced by James Spader) who sets
out to destroy all humans. It's up to the Avengers to stop them but
he's helped by the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olson) and Quicksilver
This sequel is just terrible. The script is kind of vague in specifics about why Ultron hates humans and the Avengers so much. Also the dialogue here is TERRIBLE! No actor could put over the lines these people are given. So, understandably, almost all the acting is bad. Only Scarlett Johansson (as Black Widow), Mark Ruffalo and Jeremy Renner (as Hawkeye) give good performances. Worst of all the three new superheroes--Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver and The Vision--are very badly introduced and poorly used. Also the movie is far too long at almost 150 minutes and is more boring than exciting. Yes the special effects are flawless and there are a few very exciting and long action sequences but they can't save the movie. At the end the movie takes a disastrous turn and turns in a Transformers like movie! Boring and pointless with bad acting and dialogue. I give it a 5 for the effects and action.
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