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Doomsday Gun (1994)
Fact based spy vs. spy .......
Interesting fact based spy film with supposed allies backstabbing each other, each with their own agenda for using an engineer's gigantic gun he is developing. The long range implications for Middle East Countries is factored against the region's importance as an oil producer. Profit and greed is offset by the scientific drive of one man, who's vision is well beyond the present, possibly offering him the immortal recognition he desires. This is well acted, fast paced, and intriguing. There is even and open ended conclusion that begs discussion. The miniatures and computer renderings of the big guns are superbly done, and the film is relevant even with all the time that has passed. - MERK
The Convincer (2011)
"Fargo" it's not .........
Set in the snowy Midwest like "Fargo", "Thin Ice" seems like "Fargo" light. The convoluted story-line piles on problem after problem for our somewhat sympathetic main character, played by Greg Kinnear. Alan Arkin and Billy Crudup are also involved in this "insurance caper". My main objection to the film is that upon reflection, or perhaps a second viewing, things just don't seem totally "Kosher". I can't put my finger on it, but sometimes believability is stretched like a violin string, if you can excuse the pun. The movie is entertaining, and certainly the script is clever, perhaps just a bit too clever to be believed. Recommended for fans of "Fargo", "A Simple Plan", and others of the type. - MERK
Everything about this cheap "Raiders of the Lost Ark" wannabe stinks. The acting is "high school play grade". The screenplay is ultra boring. The monster looks like it just crawled out of a 1980s video game. This is on the same lowest of the low level as garbage like "Sands of Oblivion", only perhaps slightly worse. The question is, who is the intended audience. With unlikable characters, with zero development, doing the stupidest things, this abomination would bore even the lowest level of "Sci-Fi Channel" viewers. I'm even ashamed to pawn this off at a garage sale for one cent on some unsuspecting buyer, who might think he is getting a bargain, while in reality he is paying too much. - MERK
Search for the Gods (1975)
Indians and astronauts
Well made tale mixing Native American superstition with outer space visitors. McHattie and Russell along with an Indian woman try to piece together the meaning of a strange medallion. The bad guys want to buy it from them and when that effort fails, they resort to more desperate measures. In places, especially with some of the Indian ceremonials, things drag. The climax however in the bottom of a deep canyon is worth waiting for. The film is different enough to warrant attention by both the action movie fans, as well as the sci-fi crowd. "Search for the Gods" is interesting viewing, especially for those curious to see the young actors at the beginning of their careers. - MERK
Killer Image (1992)
Utterly awful ........
Two points, one for Michael Ironside, and one for M. Emmet Walsh, both of whom are trapped in this truly terrible film. The writing is some of the worst ever, with zero character development, and scenes that seem to have been randomly inserted in no particular order. Confusion abounds, and the viewer will quickly lose interest. Why should anyone care about characters we know nothing about, in situations that make little sense. Even with the presence of Ironside and Walsh, "Killer Image" is a stinker of major proportions. After about 40 minutes, I couldn't take any more punishment, and hit the eject button. Just one more DVD for my garage sale. - MERK
42 years later ... "Busting"still has no expiration date ........
Talk about a movie that has aged well, despite being over four decades old. There is so much going on, and Elliot Gould and Robert Blake play off each other so well, I didn't even notice, or for that fact care, that they drive 70s "land yachts", and dress "mod". "Busting" is greatly enhanced by our two rogue vice cops constant sarcasm and wise cracking, mostly at "Allen Garfield's expense. I would have to say that Gould's performance here easily equals his terrific acting in "The Silent Partner". The film is full of interesting characters, with Michael Lerner as a porno shop owner the standout. As buddy cop movies go, "Busting" is one of the best. - MERK
Crack in the World (1965)
Questionable science ... but still one of the best sci-fi's ever .....
A dream of harnessing the Earth's magma to create unlimited energy for mankind is brought into reality by a dying scientist. His suspect method of firing a ballistic missile into the Earth's core leads to a disaster of unprecedented magnitude, threatening to rip the Planet apart. "Crack in the World" is exciting, well written, beautifully depicted, science fiction. Character development is good for this type, and includes an uneasy alliance between two scientists caught in a love triangle with Janette Scott. Especially notable are the great pre- C.G.I. special effects, along with actual volcano footage. I rank this right up with the best sci-fi's I've seen, and I've seen a lot. - MERK
Cast a Deadly Spell (1991)
"Dark comedy" ... unique and entertaining ........
Fred Ward is excellent as the 1948 private eye hired to find a stolen witchcraft book, the "Necronomicon". It had to be a unique film that blends noir, monsters, virgins, zombies, and magic into a "black comedy", and that film is "Cast a Deadly Spell". There are at least a bunch of surprises along the way, as our hero tries to locate the book. The sharp tongued dialog is perfect, droll, and often hilarious, as Fred Ward, the only one who doesn't use magic, tries to survive witches spells, gangsters, and solve the case. This movie proves that you don't need CGI, if you have a creative mind behind the script, and some excellent makeup for the monsters. - MERK
Improbable ... incredibly long ... but worth a look .....
"Hit" is an interesting revenge on Marseilles drug kingpins film, that one can't help comparing to "French Connection 2". I found "Hit" to be the better film. It does require some patience though to sit through the entirely too long buildup to the all to brief, violent conclusion. Of course the whole recruiting of the "magnificent seven assassins" is improbable, but Williams laconic charm holds things together. If perhaps 30 minutes wound up on the cutting room floor, the movie definitely would have benefited. While the payoff may not quite live up to expectations, there are moments of clever violence, and the cast is likable, especially Richard Pryor's character, and the pair of "senior citizen killers". - MERK
Get Carter (1971)
Gritty but a difficult watch .......
Taking an American perspective on this very British film leads me to several observations. First, Michael Caine is terrific as the ice cold killer, seeking revenge for his brother's death. Second, the grim photography is outstanding. Third, the violence is believable and often quite brutal. Now for the bad news. The British accents are very difficult to understand which detracts. I might even go so far as to suggest using English subtitles. The main flaw however is the characters are numerous, undeveloped, and seem to randomly appear and vanish. It is not easy to follow the somewhat complex story line, which along with the language problem. makes "Get Carter" challenging to watch. - MERK