Reviews written by registered user
|32 reviews in total|
...and mix with one part Ursula K. LeGuin. I viewed "IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS" this afternoon because we had a rainstorm and I couldn't get outdoors to do anything productive. Shortly after the beginning of the film, I realized I was watching a story crudely cobbled together from elements of H. P. Lovecraft's "The Cthulu Mythos" and Ursula K. LeGuin's "The Lathe Of Heaven". Needless to say, I was very disappointed in this blatant example of plagiarism from John Carpenter, whose past work has generally been very enjoyable. The title is even a direct steal from Lovecraft's "At The Mountains Of Madness". Mr. Carpenter, shame on you. You didn't even have the courtesy to credit the two real authors of your film.
A bored and listless viewer sat through a boring and listless movie today. As others before me have said, I waited in vain for the Monty Python troupe to come charging out of the bushes and breathe a little life into the proceedings. GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT is, I suppose, an honest attempt to portray the legendary exploits of a Knight of the Round Table, however it fails to generate any excitement or even any interest in the characters. Badly acted and unconvincing combat scenes, dreary scenery and a vastly overblown musical score become tedious rather quickly. Overall, this is a real yawner by any standard one cares to apply.
THE GREAT AMERICAN PASTIME is a mild, pleasant comedy from 1956. Tom Ewell portrays a lawyer in small-town America who reluctantly lets himself get maneuvered into becoming the coach of a little league baseball team. His wife is portrayed by lovely Anne Francis, and the equally beautiful Ann Miller (in an atypical non-dancing role) plays a single mom whose son is on Ewell's team. Complications arise when Ewell begins to believe that Miller is making romantic overtures toward him in an effort to win him away from his wife. There are also various influential townsfolk who attempt to apply social and political pressure in the interest of making their sons the stars of the team. Raymond Bailey (familiar as banker Milburn Drysdale in "The Beverly Hillbillies" TV series) and Dean Jones (who appeared in numerous Disney films) are in supporting roles. Overall, it is a well paced, enjoyable film with a simple plot and gentle humor spread evenly through its running time. Viewing may prove a refreshing relief from the comedies being produced in the present day.
ON THE LOOSE is a relatively unknown but watchable film dealing with the alienated youth/juvenile delinquency theme that was popular in the 1950's. It predates the blockbuster "Rebel Without A Cause" by four years, and could have been a great influence on it. The main themes of the two films are very similar, but in the case of "On The Loose", the story is told from a female point of view. The film is well-paced, well-acted, and it held my interest throughout its brief 78 minute running time. The young star Joan Evans is gorgeous, looking very similar to Anne Francis and with an acting style similar to Lauren Bacall. It is unfortunate that her career as an actress remained so obscure. Parents played by Melvyn Douglas and Lynn Bari are typically (and convincingly) self-absorbed and detached from their daughter. A youthful Hugh O'Brian has a small part as an emergency room doctor. Overall, an enjoyable film that deserves more frequent showings.
WAR OF THE ROBOTS is a total waste of film, not to mention the viewers time. Made in 1978, this Italian space "epic" looks like it might have been produced 30 years earlier. Everything about this film is terrible, including an incoherent script, bad acting, horribly done special effects (the Flash Gordon serials from the 1930's were better, at least they were in focus most of the time), extremely bad sound effects and dialogue dubbing. If one took all the worst blunders found in the bad Italian and Japanese sci-fi flicks of the 1950's and 1960's and condensed them into one film, WAR OF THE ROBOTS would be the result. Utter trash, avoid at all costs.
OK...OK, so the science is wacky (a shower of omega particles???) and the photographic effects look pretty bad when compared to the CGI of today. No matter. I enjoyed it when I first saw it in 1957 on the big screen, and I still enjoy it today on DVD. KRONOS has a unique appeal compared to its contemporaries. One must remember that in the mid-1950s most science fiction films (especially low budget ones) featured a guy running through the bushes in a rubber monster suit. KRONOS gave us a giant, mighty electromechanical robot with a mission, that got right down to business. The script is deadly serious and the actors play it straight. A minor point: I found it interestingly quirky that an obviously sexless machine was referred to as "he" throughout the film. With a bigger budget and some fine-tuning in the science department, this film could have proved to be stiff competition for THIS ISLAND EARTH or FORBIDDEN PLANET. It has all the ingredients of a true classic from that era, the only thing that holds it back is the execution. Thankfully it has been released in its original widescreen format on DVD. It is a must-own film for '50s sci-fi fans.
HOT RODS TO HELL should be in the running for the worst film ever made. It is a true embarrassment for formerly decent actors Dana Andrews and Jeanne Crain, and surely signified the "last gasps" of their careers as credible performers. The entire cast delivers performances so wooden that they resemble Howdy Doody or Al Gore. As others have said, Jack Webb would be proud. The preachy script resembles an elongated episode of "Dragnet". It's too bad that there is no "Bad Actors Prison" to put these people in. There are so many terribly done scenes that it is impossible to describe them within the 2000 word limit of this posting. Suffice it to say that unless you appreciate truly bad films, or enjoy watching actors make fools of themselves, don't waste your time on this incredible train wreck.
ONE, TWO, THREE is now historically dated but it is still a barrel of
laughs. Almost every subject lampooned here no longer exists (I believe
that the only icon to survive the passage of time is Coca-Cola!), but
those familiar with the Cold War era will find that it remains
entertaining in the present day. James Cagney delivers a powerhouse
performance as Coca-Cola's "man in Berlin", C.R. MacNamara. It is a
marvel to watch him in action, rattling off dialog at a machine-gun
pace. Horst Bucholz is great as the scruffy East German intellectual
"beatnik" Otto Ludwig Piffl, who is determined to beat the Capitalist
system but ends up succumbing to it. Pamela Tiffin has never been
better as the air-headed but beautiful Scarlett Hazeltine. Add a great
supporting cast (Standouts: Hanns Lotharr as Schlemmer, the
long-suffering office assistant with a dubious past history as a German
soldier, Lilo Pulver as secretary Fraulein Ingeborg (mit der umlaut!),
and Leon Askin as Comrade Peripetchikoff, overweight representative of
the People's Soft Drink Secretariat.).
I did spot one possible error during a recent viewing. When Scarlett and Otto display their steel wedding rings ("Forged from the brave steel of a cannon that fought at Stalingrad!") to MacNamara, they are both wearing the rings on their right hands. I'm not sure if this is an actual error or a hidden swipe at the inability of the East Berliners to do anything correctly. Either way, it doesn't detract from a great film that has stood the test of time and is as lively and entertaining today as it was 42 years ago. Bravo!
I usually enjoy anime, but could make no sense out of this confused, muddled mess of a film. Things explode, characters are hacked to pieces, blood flies everywhere, buildings collapse, the scenario switches from reality to a dream state and back again with no clear delineation. The English dubbing is terrible to the point of distraction, with many "huh?" exclamations eminating from the characters, interspersed with a lot of yelling and grunting. I was strongly tempted to switch it off after the first 15 minutes, but hung on until the end in the hope that it would get better. My mistake. By the time the end credits rolled, I was numb to the whole thing and did not have any idea what I had just watched. "X" is a terrible film, and a gross waste of time.
It's amazing that audiences of 1956 didn't riot after being charged admission to watch this excruciating exercise. I have never seen Andy Warhol's "Empire" (1964), but I have read that Warhol placed a stationary camera aimed at the Empire State Building and shot eight hours of film. I cannot imagine what Warhol was trying to accomplish, but viewing "Empire" must be a similar experience to sitting through "The She Creature". I made the mistake of starting to watch rather late one night, and found that my eyelids were drooping so badly that I had to stop the tape halfway through and continue the next day. Boring and dull, with leaden performances from cast members whose careers were all in severe decline. It is a sad thing to see previously successful and talented performers end up like this. As others before me have said, this is the absolute pits, to be used as a sleep aid only.
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