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I want my 78 minutes back
Wind. Clouds. Nameless actors. Lighting. Thunder. Lighting. Wind. Coffin. Eyeball. Hotel. Lighting. Clouds. Hippies. Thunder. Gamblers. Thunder. Cheaters. Eyeball. Clouds. Lighting. Wind. Lovers. Gamblers. Wind. Clouds. Eyeball. Stupid Dialogue. Clouds. Lighting. Thunder. Eyeball. Hippies. Gamblers. Fake alcoholic. Lovers. Eyeball. Clouds. Lighting. Hotel maid. Mindless drivel. Thunder. Clouds. Cars. Motorcycles. Hippies. Gangsters. Clouds. Thunder. Wind. Hotel. Candles. Naked boobies. Eyeball. Wind. Hotel. Hotel maid. Gamblers. Lovers. Eyeball. Guns. Fireworks. Thunder. Fake blood. Eyeball. Thunder. Clouds. Hotel. Wind. Lighting. Naked Boobies. More fake blood. Stupid Dialogue.
You have just seen the movie.
The Law vs. Billy the Kid (1954)
How bad is it?
This movie is bad. And not in an Ed Wood way kinda bad. No, No, No. This movie bites so bad that if you left it along it would run off and howl at the moon and eventually deliver a whole flock of mindless look-a-likes to your front door, which is where this cur came from in the first place.
The script, such as it is, moves the plot line along at the break neck speed of a depressed three-toed sloth. The cast was assembled much the same as Frankenstein's Monster was. The set looks like it was all borrowed from a dream sequence of Gilligan's Island, which makes sense being as how Alan Hale Jr. appears as one of the baddies.
Hale chews up the scenery like a crazed beaver, spitting out the most atrocious dialog like so much sawdust and toothpicks. His character meets his much needed end in quite possibly the most unconvincing, unrealistic death scene ever to grace a western.
Best viewed with several friends, an endless bowl of popcorn and the mind altering drug of your choice.
Man of the Century (1999)
Lost in the 20's
I stumbled on this little gem a few months ago on IFC, and just watched it again today. If there was an Academy Award category for "Best Modernistic Recreation of Classic Hollywood Styles" this film would have won hands down. Gibson Frazier is amazing, channeling the spirit of Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd with a script that reads like a Robert Heinlein short story. (Or perhaps Harlan Ellison...) Hang your belief at the door and flow with the fantasy. You are not going to learn any deep truths here. Except perhaps how to make a really snappy film on small change. The plot (what there is of it, and be fair, not many reporter/gangster film from the 20's and 30's did either) moves Frazier from the clean black and white world of New York to its darker underbelly without once getting dirty or losing the starch on his Herbert Hoover collar. Worth you 80 minutes. More so if you love old 'B' movies.
Warriors of Virtue (1997)
Alright, I admit going in that I was predisposed to dislike this movie. I have studied Taoism for many years, and I guess I don't take kindly to it being reduced down to a 90 minute family friendly event. Although it came highly recommended to me, I was put off by it's kid friendly approach to something as complex as Eastern Philosophy.
Through out the film, I could not shake the vision I had of a Roos vs Turtles sequel.
Although not as bad as I feared, this film looks for all the world like it was edited by a Cuisinart. The over extended climatic fight scene had so many different editing styles present that it nearly gave me an epileptic fit. Either that, or my digital TV is on the blink.
I really cannot recommend this film to anybody except possible a few hard core gamers who would get off on the cartoon-like action sequences.
Double Harness (1933)
A Little Gem
This movie is an example of the kind of film that just can't be made anymore. At least not from a major studio. A compact, fast paced script that is based totally on character interaction. Ann Harding is cool as ice. Beautiful and smart, her character Joan Colby carry the film. William Powell doesn't have much to do except react to her, but he does it splendidly. He plays love interest John Fletcher with a world weary yet charming air, as only he could do.
The relationship between the two is introduced to the audience as a thinly veiled roll in the hay, interrupted by a father figure. Pretty racy for 1933 standards. From there, marital relations under the strain of a worsening economy drive the story. All very relevant today 70 plus years later. Even the quaint idea of "tricking" someone into getting married seems to fly here.
Well cast from top to bottom, each player does well to move the story along. The production value is somewhat above normal "B-movie" standards, with a few minor outdoor shots.
Watching this movie was almost like watching a ballet dance, with Ann Harding moving between each scene with so much grace she fairly shimmers. The other characters swirl around her, each flying by barely grazing her, in a well choreographed, almost clock like, movement. William Powell stays out of her way, literally and figuratively, till the end of the film.
If you love old movies this one is worth your 67 minutes.
Mark of the Vampire (1935)
Old and Dusty From Any Point Of View...
This movie is "classic" only in that it is dated. In all fairness, it holds up somewhat well in comparison to other movies released that year. (1935) However, this movie IS a "classic" in its representation of what happens to a film that the artistic rights are held by studio bosses interested in only numbers. At 60 minutes running time, I am sure that this film would be greatly improved by the replacement of its lost 27 minutes.
Beyond that, this is an early remake of the lost film "London After Midnight" with all of its absurd plot twists and much discussed "surprise" ending. (Which in my book really stank.) If old fashioned B/W Hollywood Gothic is your thing, then this one is a 8. Other wise, its a 1. That's a 4 1/2 average. (But its a LOW average.)