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Man of Steel (2013)
A Superman without fun and charm
Superman has finally been corrupted in the movies.
"Man of Steel" should have been a great movie, and actually may have made a decent movie with some changes, the biggest of which not making this a Superman movie.
Almost everything about Superman that has been loved all these years has been destroyed; there is no charm to this film whatsoever, no warmth, no feeling that you are watching "a friend." Actually, General Zod almost seems like the good guy here, with noble intentions, that's how warped this movie is.
Now of course, all this sounds like someone who is "stuck" on the Christopher Reeve films. Like it or not, he STILL is the perfect Superman, and that first '78 film nailed it perfectly.
However, even Brandon Routh makes a better Superman than Henry Cavill, who gives it a shot but again, has about the same amount of charm and warmth as the rest of the film, which is none.
The special effects are a joke - this is nothing but a big CGI cartoon. And yes, it gets violent - I have never seen this much violence in a cartoon since maybe the Tom & Jerrys from the 1940's.
Of course, to keep the politically-correct crowd happy, there's even another race-change for a character, as Perry White is now a black guy - and he is absolutely horrific, kind of a walking, talking corpse. If you are going to change a famous character's race, at least get someone who can act (like they did with (RIP) Michael Clarke Duncan/Kingpin from "Daredevil," a much superior film) instead of this lifeless guy in this movie.
Even the actress who played Lois Lane was bad, looking and sounding like some junior-high school student instead of a seasoned reporter.
The one single bright spot in this mess is the guy who played Zod, maybe the only actor in the whole movie trying not to look bored as heck and give it a shot.
Sorry folks, but this was a bad, bad film, no fun at all. Superman isn't supposed to be "dark," he's supposed to be light. And Superman and Batman in the same movie? How will they battle, to see which one gets more depressed?
The worst special effects one can imagine
This gets a "3" out of ten simply because Nicholas Cage is so much fun to watch. What a shame - Ghost Rider is an awesome comic book character, the first movie was OK, but this movie is a stupid-looking mess. Not even a hot mess, just a mess.
The entire movie looks like a freaking video game. In other words, fake as all heck and ridiculous. These have to be the worst special effects I've seen in a modern day movie, where the FX were expected to be good. CGI is a joke. Even the big chase scene gets yawns because it doesn't get a single "gasp" out of any viewer - because you can't gasp at something so obviously fake.
The plot is OK, where the devil needs a little boy's body to inhibit, but it's done so sloppily that not even the hot girl can save things.
Really, this flick is such a piece of crap, you really have to watch Nic Cage for Nic Cage's sake and that's the only appeal at all. Otherwise, it's just a big fake cartoon. CGI sucks. Absolutely horrible.
They Call Me Mister Tibbs! (1970)
Dull, and that includes Sidney
"They Call Me Mr. Tibbs" is the immensely disappointing follow-up to the incredible "In The Heat of the Night" where Sidney Poitier plays Virgil Tibbs, a big-city detective. Only problem is, this flick is no better than the typical average early 70's TV-movie of the week (and not one of the good ones).
Tibbs has a preacher friend who is suspected of killing a prostitute, and he gives his friend every benefit of the doubt. He also has family problems, mainly he doesn't know how to discipline his son at all or please his pretty wife.
This movie could be any flat cop flick of the era, and has pretty much zero connection to "In The Heat of the Night" at all. This is a very dull movie that drags along while you hope something on screen will catch fire, but it never does. And Sidney himself seems to just sleepwalk through this - I can't tell if he's just very bored himself, or if he is having a bad shoot, but he is bad in this movie, no life at all.
Despite the various familiar faces, really the only actor worth watching here is Anthony Zerbe, a great character actor who plays a sleazy pimp here. He's pretty much great in anything he's in, and gives the movie at least a little bit of spark amongst this dead cast.
Unless you really have to see the further dull "adventures" of Virgil Tibbs, it's best to stay clear of this one, although again, Anthony Zerbe is a blast to watch.
Rock All Night (1957)
A lot of fun
Finally got to see this classic Roger Corman cheapie, and of course it's a total blast. The best part obviously is seeing Dick Miller in a rare starring role, and as a tough street kid no less, who takes no guff from anyone and is always making wisecracks.
Miller plays "Shorty" who gets thrown out of one rock joint but ends up in another, where a pretty girl is auditioning and we get introduced to various assorted crazy characters. Eventually two crooks (led by "The Professor" from Gilligan's Island!) come and hold everyone hostage, and Shorty constantly insults the crooks, as well as the cowards in the place who refuse to take a stand.
One of the funniest characters is a "hep cat" beatnik rock manager who comes out with great line after line. Others include a boxer, his sad girlfriend, a wanna-be tough guy, his drunk girl, a reporter, a shake-down artist and more. The musical numbers are good, and it all resolves in just over an hour.
"Rock All Night" is definitely not disappointing is you expect exactly what it is, a fun hour of no-budget film making.
The St. Louis Kid (1934)
More great Cagney
People watch the old Cagney films to see tough Cagney do some beatdowns and charm the girl, and there's a lot of that in this flick. Especially beatdowns - Cagney is always fighting and in and out of jail, even when he can't use his hands (he'll just head-butt everyone within range instead). Heck, he even gives his sidekick a good shot (it was deserved though).
While "The St. Louis Kid" won't win any awards, it's mid-1930's Cagney talking fast and doing his thing, this time battling, well, pretty much everyone. He even goes after a girl who hates him, but she's pretty hot so that's no mystery why he'd do that. There's a few cool old-timey car and truck crashes too that are fun to watch.
Plot? There's a plot in there somewhere, but really this is just simply fun Cagney viewing.
The Final Comedown (1972)
Lando beats on those whiteys!
"The Final Comedown" is pretty much what you'd expect, if you don't expect too much. A bunch of black rebels wanna not just stick it to the man (whitey) but kill him as well! The leader is Johnny, played by suave Billy Dee Williams. It's an early 70's street-level and uneven blaxploitation flick.
As another reviewer pointed out, it really doesn't seem like Billy Dee has it so bad. Then why is he angry? He's good looking, gets chicks easily, party hops, but still hates whitey VERY intensely. However, he doesn't hate whitey enough not to sleep with his very sexy white girlfriend! But Lando just can't forget about hatin' whitey even for a minute, even in bed with his white girl, and she gets fed up with his anger and leaves him. (No worries, he hooks up with a very pretty black girl soon after.) His dad, and even his mom, are fed up with all his hate whitey talk as well. And Lando also seems to also have many white friends! They even help him plot against their own kind, and help him when he gets hurt!
"The Final Comedown" itself comes down finally, and it's pretty violent and wild. There's one lengthy sequence near the end which is just nothing but shootings - no talking, no nothing, except killing people, for minutes straight without any interruption, which is actually a pretty decent sequence of film making and editing. There's a bunch of familiar early 70's faces around.
The movie is a little confused at points, but all in all it definitely makes for an interesting bit of one-time viewing.
The Baron (1977)
Mess of a movie is fun
"The Baron" really is quite the mess. This was included in a cheap package with a bunch of other "urban" films. Not a good movie by any means, but fun, and there are certain reasons to keep at it.
The first of course is the great Calvin Lockhart, who just shines in pretty much anything he is in. He's a black filmmaker fighting "the man" to get a film made, but who has to get shady after turning down a deal that would have turned his movie(with Lockhart playing "The Baron," a devil-may-care wealthy adventurer) into a "white" movie. He gets involved with the mob and other shady characters.
The leader of the mob, "Joey," is played by the great Richard Lynch, who is always perfect at playing scum. I've seen him on Galactica, Buck Rogers, and in "The Seven-Ups" and he's just fantastic. It was a very pleasant surprise that he was in this! And he is definitely a mean SOB. Lynch is so good at playing these roles that seeing him in 'real life' acting nicely must be a shock.
Joan Blondell appears as the rich white woman who eventually supports pretty boy Calvin. And there are some other familiar 70's movie faces as well.
The film really isn't that well made, but Lockhart, Lynch and the others make this a very good viewing. Some action and violence, but nothing crazy, and a very fast and convenient ending on the FDR drive (I think). Check this out for Calvin and Lynch especially.
Early 70's NYC Reynolds
I just watched "Shamus" for the first time, ever. I mainly wanted to watch it for two reasons, one being I like early Burt, and also that it was filmed (the Brooklyn scenes) just blocks from where I grew up. I guess that I like early 70's NYC films as well.
Truth is, I did make it through the movie, but it's not really that good of a movie. Actually, I pretty much have absolutely no idea what it was about. Something about some stolen diamonds, guns, and shady people but it all just got lost to me. The main fun is watching 70's superstud Burt do his private-eye thing, which is mainly smoking cigarettes, acting cool, throwing around witty one-liners, getting chicks to go to bed with him, and punching guys out. Hey, good enough. What was that plot again? Funny scene in a bookstore where Burt walks in and decides he's gonna sleep with the hot intellectual chick in there, and of course he makes her melt with his ultra-coolness and smooth lines. Burt smooth-talks the gorgeous Dyan Cannon too, who kinda underacts here, like she's half asleep.
There are a lot of familiar 70's faces in this. But maybe best of all is Morris The Cat, who I guess earned the role from his rave reviews as 9-Lives spokescat (he was also in the movie "The Long Goodbye"). Morris earns raves as he uses his cool cat skills to, well, be a cool cat when things are happening around him. Morris gets fed a few times and we don't see the brand, 9-Lives definitely missed on some early product placement.
But Burt is good, as he participates in a lot of fighting, loving, swearing, and he even drives a huge stolen army vehicle throughout town with no police interference. The movie has an odd ending, maybe Morris should have helped that out. If you can watch Burt do his thing without caring too much about the mixed up plot, "Shamus" is good for a viewing.
Trick Baby (1972)
Fun and suspenseful
I took a chance on "Trick Baby" totally out of nowhere because I like good blaxploitation, and the premise of young white guy/older black guy pulling cons seemed like a fun one. I didn't even realize at first who the actors were - Mel Stewart a.k.a. "Henry Jefferson" from my favorite TV show All In The Family, and Keil Martin from one of my favorite movies, "Moonrunners" (which evolved into The Dukes of Hazzard). So seeing these two guys peaked my interest in this flick immediately! I imagine it's a rare treat to see these two actors in lead parts, and they really do make the most fun out of it. It's great casting - these two guys really have very decent chemistry together, and it's obvious they are having a blast doing this movie.
So yes, they are two con men who use race in their cons, and they pull off the biggest con of their life. But then later they take on a con which makes that one seem like small potatoes, and they also have a gangster and a crooked cop after them.
This one has it all - early 70's dirty Philly street scenes, Pimpmobiles, pimps and hookers, exciting chases (especially a suspenseful foot chase), cool action, decent humor, pretty girls, cold as ice bad guys, and even decent cinematography. Sure, there are a few minor plot holes but the direction is tight and the film is never dull. There are a few more familiar faces from the early 70's, and Stewart and Martin are having such a good time that the viewer can't help but enjoy what's on screen. No, this film isn't going to make anyone gasp at its greatness, but it is definitely a fun way to spend 90 viewing minutes. It's a shame that good, gritty stuff like this isn't made anymore.
Absolutely horrible, though in a "fun" way
"Abar, The First Black Superman" sounds good due to the title, but really this is a huge mess of a film, even though it is fun to watch (despite the brutality).
A black family led by an established and successful doctor (nice new shiny Caddy he has) moves into a very nice (a.k.a. "white") neighborhood, where they encounter racism by pretty much everyone who is white. Right away, all the whiteys are picketing, tossing trash on the property, and even calling their little black children names like "picaninny," before escalating to much worse things, such as trying to blow up the house, attempted rape, and much worse.
The movie is actually racist in that it makes every single white person racist against blacks, even when (not to give anything away) really bad things happen to the black family. There's not a single white person in the whole movie that pretty much wouldn't fit right at home with KKK.
Anyhows, Abar and his militant black gang take care of various whiteys and Abar himself stays at the family's home to protect them (because he's being paid). All the while, he complains that the doctor he is protecting turned his back on "the brothers" by moving into whitey's 'hood. It turns out the doc is working on a serum to give someone superhuman powers, and Abar finally takes it and becomes a superhero.
But does he perform feats of strength and become a crime fighter? Despite what it looks like, no. Instead, his powers consist of making a constant "swoosh" noise every time he does something seemingly supernatural, and these things are downright hilarious. He sees a bunch of bums drinking wine bottles, which he turns into milk bottles. He sees teenagers getting high and wasting time, so he turns them into college graduates (complete with the outfit!). He sees a preacher get into his big shiny new car, which he turns into a horse and carriage (which the crowd outside with the preacher doesn't find odd at all apparently). He then causes grief for various bad whiteys around town. He does stop one crime - he makes a purse-snatcher keep running until he's exhausted and he returns the purse.
There is a downright hilarious scene near the end, where this mean 'ol (very attractive) white woman finally apologizes to the black family, only to then reveal a startling revelation!
The acting (especially the doctor) is totally abysmal (hilarious) and most of these people only appeared in this film. If you like movies that are so bad that they are good, this is definitely one to watch.