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|204 reviews in total|
Very little is known about the famous Greek hetaera whose only rival is Pericles' Aspasia. She was the wealthiest woman in Athens of her day and the model for a Praxiteles Venus and probably his lover. She was put on trial for sacrilege, nearly convicted and executed but due to the eloquence of her defending orator and the display of her beauty was acquitted. Most, if not all, of the surviving history written years after her life are almost entirely apocryphal and legendary. "Phyrne, Courtesan of the East" recounts the tale, piecing it together in a coherent and interesting fashion with her trial being the focal point at the end. Not your average peplum film and quite a tribute to the woman who succeeded in capturing the imagination of men of her day and still does so centuries later.
A major disappointment and a waste of a big budget....three better films could have been made instead of this clunker. Lutz was a terrible choice...his pit bull looks and dullard acting made him an unlikely hero. Even the cheaper embodiments of Hercules such as Dan Vadis and Reg Park in the 60's Italian films were far more credible. And compared to this film, Steve Reeves, the greatest Hercules of all was Oscar worthy... Only the two Liams and Adkins were memorable in their roles. The unconvincing and jerky CGI in the action sequences was very annoying and if it isn't skillful enough to be undetectable it should be reserved for cartoons only. The older films that used real actors and sets are far more realistic, naturally. I wish 300 had never been made, it was bloated and idiotic and has apparently had the undesirable effect of making shoddy, unrealistic epics acceptable. Take a look at the Richard Egan film "The Three Hundred Spartans" for a more believable treatment.
Like its predecessor, this second Hobbitt film is visually stunning,tells a good tale, but is so protracted that the enchantment inevitably becomes tedium. The original LOTR trilogy was handled much better, in that the theatrical releases were mercifully edited of at least half an hour each of running time, with the protracted lengthier versions released as extended cut for those who just can't get enough and have to beat a good thing to death. Both of these films would be improved by that method, being shorn of at least a half hour each of unnecessary footage. And it could well begin with cutting much of the dragon dialog...there isn't much point in threatening to burn all the little buggers into oblivion if you're going to talk them to death first! What nonsense! All we should hear from the dragon is the pounding of his heavy footfalls and the beating of his leathery wings or scorching breath. I rather liked the character of Tauriel and the budding attraction to the dwarf she healed. Also Richard Armitage became more important, who was so wasted in Hobbit 1.
"Vampire at Midnight" is an American horror story worthy to be ranked with British Hammer films. Most attempts at transposing Gothic material and themes of the 19th century into contemporary settings fail miserably, but this one succeeds on many levels, even invoking the eerie sense of atmosphere necessary to facilitate the chills. There is more outright gore, violence and nudity than usual, but not so much that it spoils the effect. A mature and still hunky Jason Williams is quite good as the typical macho detective, relieved of duty on the case who persists in investigating regardless. The minor characters, particularly the female cop who fancies him and the stand-up comic who pulls him into the case and becomes a victim, are well portrayed by the actors. I can't understand why this film is so downgraded by its detractors...it is far better than 90% of comparable films in the genre, with bigger names and budgets involved. A very competent film which deserves a wider audience.
"Lost Youth" is not merely a sociological study of the post-war crime rise in Italy among the young middle-class, it is also a study of how family and friends can be completely blind to a sociopathic killer in their midst. The then new young actor Jacques Sernas (forever under-rated thereafter) garnered deserved critical praise for his chilling portrayal of the young 20 yr old criminal pursuing his agenda with enough sang-froid to freeze Europe. The bleak story gets a slight lift from young Massimo Girotti's performance as a tyro police inspector who unfortunately becomes involved with the sister of the perpetrator he is seeking. The black and white cinematography is pure classic noir cinema.
Low budget but ambitious all-male porn film with its most effective scenes at the beginning and end, which are set in ancient Egypt. There are segments following the curse in Roman empire times and later in Victorian archeology times, and also in the present day which are less effective. The real standouts in the cast are Rick Allen as the Pharaoh's chief attendant and Blake Harper as the abducted and enslaved peasant. You don't find out why these two thwart and defy the Pharaoh until the very end, which explains the reason for the curse. The story would have been much improved if it had stayed in ancient Egypt and included possibly a jealous wife of the Pharaoh, or perhaps a frightened and worried sister of the peasant. Not recommended if your threshold for male porn is non-existent, or only if you are a nut on depictions of ancient Egypt and Rome such as myself.
Ever since Mark Twain's stories of "A Connecticuit Yankee in King Arthur's Court" and "The Mysterious Stranger", mass audiences have been entertained by fantasies of time travel to bygone eras. As in books of fiction, this is certainly true of motion pictures and television. Notable examples are Eddie Cantor's "Roman Scandals" and "Ali Baba Goes to Town", as well as the British "Fiddler's Three." This anachronistic frolic through ancient Rome and Egypt from the golden age of the Mexican film industry is solidly in that musical comedy vein. Viewers who enjoy this genre which includes "The Boys from Syracuse", "a Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" and "The Three Stooges Meet Hercules" will want to give this one a look...Luis Sandrini is every bit as comic as Cantor, and the leading lady (Maria Antoneta Pons) does a mean rumba and conga while throwing a party for Marco Antonio.
Without a doubt this is the most unusual and intriguing mummy movie you are ever likely to see. His doting father, the high priest refused to have his evil son's internal organs removed, or his body embalmed and wrapped after the obligatory tongue removal. Instead he put an occult spell on him after having him sealed intact in his sarcophagus and hidden. About three thousand years later, Lord Dartmoor, an eccentric antiquarian dilettante buys the still sealed sarcophagus and discovers the intact body when he opens it in his castle. He stimulates it back to life with a strange electric device, only to be enslaved by the mummy's strange hypnotic powers. The powerful mute Egyptian must drink fresh blood daily to remain living and so begins his demonic reign of vampiric terror in the surrounding countryside with many young women victimized to slake his thirst and lust. It's quite an effective film with many startling, imaginative sequences and a worthy competitor to the better known Hammer lexicon. The real surprise and standout is the striking actor who plays the mummy (Michael Flynn?) who certainly looks the part with expert make-up, despite the disappointing costume....its silhouette is correct, but the kilt should have been pleated white, nearly sheer linen and the collar beaded instead of both being cheap looking gold lame cloth. A few faults like these mar the total effect but overall it is in many ways as good or better than other films of this genre. Recommended if you enjoy vampire or mummy films.
"Ecce Homo" (Behold Man) aka "The Survivors" is a thought provoking, downbeat well acted tale of the last survivors of a nuclear holocaust. At first it seems that only one family of three, the husband (LeRoy) slowly dying of radiation sickness, his earthy wife (Papas) and pubescent son are the only survivors on a small coastal pocket of the Mediterranean. But soon two men find them and join them...they are the only ones left that escaped the widespread contamination of fallout. That is when the trouble starts...the younger and more virile of the two men (Tinti) easily makes friends with the wife and son and has no intention of taking orders from the jealous, dictatorial and moralistic husband. The neglected unsatisfied wife is soon driven to open rebellion against him, his constant negativity and selfish demands drive her into the arms of the handsome lusty man who treats her as the desirable partner she needs to be....tempers and hatreds soon grow to alarming degrees that jeopardize their very existence. The passions and drama draw the viewer in and you will watch spellbound as the final denouement unfolds. This is one of the few intelligent treatments of the post-apocalyptic theme, more stirring and elemental than "On the Beach"
A formerly heroic air force pilot, now an alcoholic loser with a failed marriage, is appointed by his older brother in the Ministry of Commerce to investigate a tragic plane crash that killed 28 people. As he goes through the motions in an alcoholic daze, he gradually comes to realize that the wreck was due to criminal negligence and failure to follow mandatory safety regulations. Powerful commercial and political interests expect him to routinely gloss over the fault of the wrongdoers, and when he balks at falsifying his report a great deal of money is offered him. Refusing this, he is beaten and threatened with financial ruin of himself and his family. He has one material witness who observed details that prove his case, the sole survivor of the crash, and this young woman is threatened as well. Well acted, especially by Nikos Kourkoulos, vivid cinematography and brisk pacing make this a very watchable noir drama.
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