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Laramie: Men of Defiance (1960)
Not bad, but not Laramie
This is not really a Laramie episode, except that it manages to cast Robert Fuller as Jess Harper in it. It may have been a test to see how well it would fare as a series (and for whatever the reason, it was dumped). Even the music and credits are not the same as Laramie. I suppose that the planned title of the new series was going to be Fort Defiance or even Men Of Defiance. Regardless, it was an odd way to introduce a new show. At least it included Fuller, who always elevated westerns to new heights, and he is great, as always as Jess Harper. It did include some favorites of the time, such as John Anderson, Edger Buchanan, Don Megowan, and Denny Miller, who would later co-star with Fuller, on Wagon Train. The story is rather pedestrian, but does feature some good performances.
I've seen worse....but
I've seen worse movies, and this one did keep my interest. The creature effects are great.....but I have many problems with it, such as:
SPOILER ALERTS.......SPOILER ALERTS.......SPOILER ALERTS....SERIOUSLY!
1. Nic Rhind is good in his role, but he hardly comes across as a bad boy....more like the boy-next-door. We don't for one minute think he's a bad boy. He doesn't drink, smoke or curse, but then I guess he does ride a motorcycle, and he's supposed to be an ex-con, so that makes him a bad boy.
2. Likewise, Robyn Ledoux is fine in her role, but the screenplay portrays her as the smartest girl on earth, as she scans old manuscripts and documents and in minutes finds out what they are dealing with and how to stop it. Not believable.
3. The hideous creature eats it's way into the victim's belly button, right through their clothes several times, without leaving a hole in the person's clothes or their belly. Huh? No scars left behind by that thing? Come on.
4. The first victim just disappears without a trace, as though his body is never found.
5. The real trackers are in town, but stay away from the investigation while two college kids do the real work. Why? They only show up to mop-up after numerous victims have died.
6. The victims spend about an hour with the creature feeding on their bodies, yet our college boy hero is compelled to pass it along after only a few minutes. I guess he just couldn't stomach the darn thing. His girlfriend knew that to remain safe, they both needed to drink lots of booze, but she didn't bother telling him? Poor guy gets a bad bellyache.
7. And of course, the sweet young girl comes to the rescue, fighting off that monstrous creature like Xena, The Warrior Princess.
In short, with some added scenes, and a few changes, it would have been much better.
Triple Crossed (2013)
Not bad at all
Quite frankly, I enjoyed this film. I've seen lots of gay oriented films, and most were a terminal bore.....written, directed and acted so poorly that I could barely get through them. Some viewers have had trouble with this one, but I think it has more to do with expectations than anything else. I went into it with low expectations, as a result, I was somewhat riveted at times. For a cheap film, it's well put together.....good story, some fine acting and directing.....kept me interested all the way through. In short, I liked it a lot. The two male leads are terrific, especially Jack Brockett, who plays Chris. He was always very believable, as the Gulf War vet. At times, early in the film, I said to myself, no he wouldn't do that, but by the end, the screenplay wrapped it all up nicely. I sure didn't see the ending coming, and that's saying a lot for a "B" movie. If all that weren't enough, the two leads certainly give us some fine eye candy along the way. I recommend the film, personally. ....and don't expect too much, people. It's really not bad at all.
Teenage Thunder (1957)
Typical teenage drag strip tale....
This is one of those post Rebel Without A Cause rip-offs, when not much happens and ends on a happy note. The big draw in this is an early look at Courtney and Fuller, who would go on to much better things, particularly in the case of Fuller, who's very effect here as the egotistical bully. Why they cast Melinda Byron in the lead female role is a mystery, as she is neither pretty nor sexy.....and not a very good actress either. It's fun to see all those old cars and trucks, but other than seeing that, and the two staring actors, there's no real reason to watch it. It's been mentioned that the actors looked much older than high school kids, but I disagree. At my school, some of the guys and gals looked like they were twenty-five or older, and a few even looked like they were pushing thirty. One six foot-two football player (and a freshman, at that) even won the beard growing contest his senior year.
What a mess this is!
This movie is simply horrendous! From start to finish, I had trouble staying focused on what was going on. The dialog, and the story in general was boring and unbelievable. Add that to the fact that the actors were terrible, and you get a real mess. James Preston, while handsome, was no James Dean, by any stretch of the imagination. His hair is too long, he looks nothing like Dean in the face, and his mannerisms are deplorable. And it is not sexy, if that was the intent. The movie features long lustful looks at naked and half naked men and women, but hasn't one ounce of sensual appeal. A waste of 93 minutes. You've been warned. This movie is not recommended by me.
This movie is incredibly underrated. The performances are all top notch, from Peppard and Seberg down to the smallest role, though Seberg's part is short. In my opinion, Madeleine Sherwood and Robert F. Lyons deserved Oscar nominations for their performances. They were flawless and mesmerizing as the white trash woman and her psycho son. I couldn't take my eyes off them when they were on screen. I so wish the movie was available on DVD! This film should have made a star of Robert F. Lyons. I have no idea why it didn't. It's well-written and believable, nicely directed. Someone please put this out on DVD! I want to watch this again and again.
Billy the Kid (1941)
Pedestrian fluff with a terrible screenplay
The best thing about this movie version of Billy The Kid is the color photography. Taylor looks good (he was in his prime at that time), but he's horribly miscast....too old to play the part. There's no Tunstall, no Pat Garrett....and both actors playing the changed parts are far too old. It reminds me of Howard Hughes' The Outlaw, except that the actor who played Billy in that film was much better cast (closer in age, but not much of an actor). There's lots of music, romance, and talk, talk, talk. In short, it becomes extremely boring after awhile. May be worth watching once, but hardly worth a second look. Despite the views of Arizona and Utah, most scenes are obviously shot on a sound stage.
Across the Plains (1939)
Better than average "B" western
I really liked this movie, mostly because I'm a big, big fan of Dennis Moore (Denny Meadows). He's great here, as the Kansas Kid. This is a step above the usual "B" westerns of the time in that it features a nice story (touching at times) about brothers reunited later in life. One had turned out bad, the other good. The story plays out well and believable, for the most part. A case in point is near the end when Buff shoots young Jimmy. He grabs his shoulder and falls. After the bad guys have been taken care of, Jack asks his brother where he's been hit and he moans "all over". Huh? Did I miss something? Last I saw, he didn't have a fatal wound. That said, this is a good film, with good acting, good direction, and exciting action. Well worth watching. I just wish I could get all of Denny's movies on DVD.
Cowboys & Aliens (2011)
Very Good Film
I rented this film when I had nothing else of importance to do. That said, I really enjoyed it. Sure, it's silly on so many levels, but what the heck. I put myself in a "relax, and don't think too hard about it" mood, and the end result was that the film was very enjoyable.
I had grown somewhat tired of watching Harrison Ford on screen, so I was not expecting him to be worth seeing. That's not the case here. He's perfect for the role he plays.
I wasn't at all prepared for James Bond...uh, I mean Daniel Craig in a western. Again, I was quite surprised to find that he was perfectly cast as the not-so-good hero. In fact, I can't imagine any other actor playing the role better than he did. I should have had more faith in him, as he is one of our finest actors.
The special effects, photography, directing, dialog, and acting are all much better than I would have expected in a film like this. It's not for everyone, certainly, but I got my money's worth.
After watching Hunger and Shame, I am more and more convinced that Michael Fassbender and Steve McQueen two of the most talented men is show business.
Both men seem to get overlooked at awards time here in the U.S., and that's a shame.
Shame does not disclose enough information about the brother and sister relationship to get a complete idea of what has gone on in their lives before they are reunited, but instead lets the viewer fill in the pieces. What happens when you do that is that you get a mix of ideas, and perhaps that's what McQueen was after.
Of one thing there is no doubt....brother and sister are messed up mentally and emotionally....and the end result is tragic and sad. Watching a human train wreck is very difficult to do, and I felt somewhat relieved to find that I could manage to get through it.
Shame is no feel-good movie, so be forewarned, but the performances of the two leads make this one well-worth the watch.
If Shame does nothing else, it makes me wonder what theme Steve McQueen will hit us with next, and that's a positive statement on my part. In other words, I'm looking forward to his next film.
Once again (after losing the bid for Hunger), Michael Fassbender will probably not get nominated for an Oscar, which is a big mistake. He's every bit as exceptional here as he was in Hunger, and I'm looking forward to his next film.