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Barefoot in the Park (1967)
I adore this movie
This is just one of those movies that can make you feel better if you've had a bad day. Honestly, it's charming, funny, light and I don't know, just the right amount of comedy and romance. Redford and Fonda are perfect together. This is a truly great comedic performance by Jane Fonda, she's amazing in this movie. Then again I am a stickler for her lighter, funnier work from the 60s. But this one stands out as being genuinely funny and well made. I love all the funny little details, like the tuna fish cans, Robert Redford's comment about "a big cat with a can opener", Jane Fonda's mother, Jane Fonda doing a "Cambodian fertility dance", etc. It is all just too classic for words. Buy this movie if you love 60s cinema and/or its two stars, it's too good.
Les félins (1964)
I love Jane Fonda and Alain Delon, and have seen several of their movies, so I just HAD to seek this one out. It was interesting enough, thankfully not too overlong, at just a little over 90 minutes, but dear god, that plot! I really tried to follow it but after awhile just kind of gave up. It's a ridiculous story but still intriguing enough if you like these 60s French gems. Delon's performance isn't great but who cares, he's Alain Delon, just look at his face. And Jane Fonda....oh wow, I believe this was the beginning of her journey into making sultry French films. I love Jane but this isn't her best performance or French movie. Check out "The Game is Over", it's much better than this and Jane sparkles in it. But you should have fun with this one. Now all they need to do is release "Circle of Love", the only one of Jane's French films that isn't available.
The Wrecking Crew (1968)
Catchy tunes & swingin' chicks
I have not seen any of the other Matt Helm films, first off. My main reason for getting this film was that Sharon Tate was in it. I think it's safe to say that, out of her very brief acting career, her role in "The Wrecking Crew" is her best out of all her films. In all her other roles she played the blonde sex kitten with little to do but smile pretty for the camera. In this film, however, she gets the chance to shine as a tough yet sexy, red-haired secret agent who assists Dean Martin's Matt Helm in apprehending a group of gold thieves. The plot is ridiculous, Dean Martin looks more than a little out of it, and the sets and music are bursting with such an infectious '60s vibe that you just have to love it in all of its corniness. That title song is stuck in my head for weeks after I watch the movie - and I love it! Don't miss the catfight between Sharon and Nancy Kwan, as well as Sharon's jaw-dropping booty-shake dance sequence. Oh man, what a babe.
Les femmes (1969)
BB goes Zzzzzzz....
I love Brigitte Bardot, but out of the handful of films I've seen of hers, this one bored me to death. She is the only redeeming feature of it, of course. It was dull, had an uninspired script, and really didn't go anywhere. Bardot isn't really given much to do either, as a secretary named Clara. I'm not familiar with Maurice Ronet but I can say that I really didn't care too much for his character in the film. I actually liked "Don Juan: or if Don Juan were a woman", which is simliar to this film in a few ways, a lot better - even though that one is still pretty corny. And what a coincidence, that film also features Maurice Ronet. Anyway, I'm getting off topic. Basically, "Les Femmes" is good for Bardot fans or insomniacs. Bardot looks adorable, strutting through the streets of Rome, her blonde hair wild and free. Her character is pretty ditzy - she says random things like, "Oh, I love smoking in the dark, but I hate the taste of tobacco!" and "I just love the countryside! It's so big!" and so forth. If they were trying to put forth some sort of message through this movie, I didn't really get it. All I got was that Bardot looks very sexy taking a bath.
La bride sur le cou (1961)
Brigitte, Brigitte, Brigitte...
I adore Brigitte Bardot. Yeah, she didn't star in the best films. You know what, I don't really care! Some of them, like this one, known in the U.S. as "Please Not Now!", are very silly and/or dumb, but BB is so beautiful and has such charisma that they're fun to watch. Of course, fans of Brigitte will enjoy them more than anyone else. I have only seen a few of Bardot's films, but out of all the ones I've seen, this is the most ridiculous. C'mon - a swami that can make people float in mid-air through the use of hypnosis! What?! And there's barely a plot - Bardot plays a model who is very klutzy/dizzy who wants to make her ex-boyfriend jealous in an attempt to win him back, so it's at that point that the "action" shifts to a ski resort. Who cares - it's light, goofy fun. From what I've read about Bardot this was her "comeback" film. Hmm...I've yet to see "The Truth" or "Contempt", but those look like Bardot's best films/performances. The Brigitte Bardot collection vhs or dvd set is highly recommended if you are a Bardot fan.
12 + 1 (1969)
The lovely Miss Tate shines...
...in an incredibly goofy, obscure, guilty pleasure of a film! I must say I have been entranced by the beauty and mystery of the gorgeous Sharon Tate for a while now, so her presence was what initially led me to seeking out this rare gem. I saw it under the title "12+1", and I must say, if you are a Tate fan this is well worth seeking out. The movie itself is a fast-paced, slapstick comedy set in swinging London and various European countries. Vittorio Gassman plays Mario, a man who sells thirteen antique chairs bequeathed to him by his late aunt to an antique shop in London, where he meets the groovy, blonde-haired honey known as Sharon Tate. However, the catch is that Mario's aunt has hidden a fortune in one of the chairs, and he, along with Sharon Tate's Pat, sets off on journey throughout Europe to find the fortune, all the while a string of mishaps and misfortunes befalls him and his smashing partner in crime. The movie itself is interesting to watch, for its incredibly dated but very amusing sixties atmosphere, corny music, dialogue and the overall goofiness of what Mario and Pat experience while searching for the chairs. Miss Tate seems to be enjoying herself here, and I found her to be incredibly witty and sexy in what would sadly be her last motion picture appearance. Highlights, besides Miss Tate's delightfully comical performance: Miss Tate's breasts popping out unexpectedly in several scenes, Miss Tate having a wet t-shirt contest, a screeching uber-queen named Jackie frolicking through a field of flowers singing, "I've got the chairs, I've got the chairs!", the Jekyll and Hyde play sequence with Orson Welles as Markau, with Vittorio Gassman hamming it up while trying to get his hands on one of the chairs: "I'm JACK THE RIPPER!", plus, Mario paying money to "have sex" with one of the chairs, among numerous other moments of hilarity in this obscure classic. This is one of those numbers that is likely to never receive a DVD release, so get your hands on the ultra-rare VHS as soon as possible!
The Haunted House of Horror (1969)
Don't miss this beauty - she's a trip!
Wow, how did I manage to go so long without seeing this wonderfully corny '60s title, lost among thousands of other obscure, late-night drive-in classics? I had heard about it many years ago, just a rough plot outline, and always thought it sounded like cheesy fun, but I never had the chance to see it. However, I managed to view the film recently, under its alternate title, "The Haunted House of Horror", and I must say that I enjoyed every minute of it! Where do I begin? Well, first of all, those amazing '60s fashions! Go-go boots and mini-skirts haunt this picture more than the house itself does, and it must be said that throughout the entire movie the curvaceous Jill Haworth looks absolutely stunning (and yes, in many scenes she is wearing mini-skirt). Basically, the plot revolves around this girl Sheila (Haworth), her swinger beau Chris (Frankie Avalon!) and all of their groovin' swinger friends who get bored with the usual Friday night party antics in swinging London and decide to go "ghost-hunting" at an old deserted mansion in the countryside. Well, what follows is that someone ends up dead (in a murder scene which is surprisingly bloody for a PG-rated film) and the kids try to figure out whodunit! I guess one could describe this little number as a more mature, live-action British version of "Scooby Doo"! It's an absolute hoot, and I really enjoyed it. The plot was really nothing special, but from beginning to end I was hooked on this movie, and I was surprised at how ahead of it's time it was, and of course by the bloodiness of the killings. There is one killing at the climax of the film that will surely make your eyes pop out of their sockets - unbelievable! I won't give anything away, you'll have to see for yourself, but this baby is just amazing, from the corny dialogue: "Sheila, the way you dig blood, people'd think you're a vampire!", "You'd better watch out, darling, next time I give you a love bite!", to the swingin' sixties fashions, to the Scooby Doo antics and gory knife murders, plus a very downbeat, disturbing ending and a creepy atmosphere - you can't go wrong with this one. Unfortunately it's pretty hard to find, but it has found a cozy little home on cable, so if you get the chance, give it a look!
The Rules of Attraction (2002)
Twisted, strange and oddly fascinating slice of cinema...
...that I absolutely adored after just one viewing. I avoided seeing this movie for a while, but I'm glad I finally had the urge to see it. It's a very dark, twisted, disturbing movie that for the most part follows Bret Easton Ellis' book (which I have also read and is excellent), and stands out among the crowd of movies dealing with the scenario of "high school/college students vs. drugs, sex, alcohol and the pressures of life." What makes this overlooked gem great is that it doesn't try to water everything down - it's very blunt and graphic and disgusting and brutally honest. It's a movie that doesn't give many answers and doesn't have a truly satisfying climax to it, because, like life, there isn't an answer for everything. There isn't a sugar-coated, happy ending to this baby. The movie in general is dark and broody, and Roger Avary has a great creative style with the camera that I also found very appealing. Van Der Beek wasn't bad at all, I mean, he's no Christian Bale in "American Psycho", but he does a good job for the most part. Sossamon as Lauren didn't really do anything for me, but the highlight of the film had to be the performance of the lovely Jessica Biel. As Lauren's promiscuous, coke-snorting whorish roommate Lara, Biel has an alluring screen presence and brings a feverish sexual intensity to her role that is impossible to ignore. I just love her, and can't wait to see her in the TCM remake coming out this October. The rest of the cast did well, and overall I'd have to say I admire this film for standing out from the pack as a dark, devilish guilty pleasure of a movie. Another highlight would be the soundtrack, which accompanies the various exploits of the drug and alcohol abusing students of Camden very nicely. If you're into strange, less-than-mainstream movies, this is definitely for you. I can't say how much I admire Lion's Gate, who distributed this film, for the great, cutting edge movies they have been releasing the past few years, the movies all the major studios were too wimpy to distribute.
This is one of those movies you don't hear about as much as "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" or "The Hills Have Eyes", and that's too bad, because I found this regrettably unknown little horror film from John Russo to be quite entertaining and seriously creepy. Yes, it's very, very low budget - the sound, camerawork, and acting/dialogue are all very sloppy and unpolished, but bear with it. The film takes a little while to start up, but once it does, if you're a true horror fan it will definitely hold your attention. The film's low budget at times makes it seem so realistic that I felt a creepy feeling, it's hard to describe. Even with his limited funds, you can definitely tell that John Russo was trying to make a good, creepy, hardcore horror movie, and he definitely succeeded. The plot basically centers around a girl named Nancy who runs away frome home, hitching a ride with two guys. The trio gets themselves into trouble after robbing a grocery store and find themselves hiding out in the sticks, where the locals have warned them against staying because of several murders that have been committed there lately. What follows is how the teens run afoul of a psychotic family of blood-drinking Satanists who worship their mother's corpse and kidnap and murder young girls to use their blood for a black mass. Again, bear with the somewhat slow first half - what you get in the second half of the movie is well worth the wait. It's well worth the rental or purchase if this type of gory horror is your cup of tea. By the way, the Savini makeups are good, though they do seem to be trimmed somewhat - what a surprise - but the film is still rather gory. It has its share of stabbings, slittings and gunshot wounds to keep the regular gorehound satisfied. All in all, if you're into the "backwoods horror" scene, check out "Midnight", a regular "backwoods massacre"!
Wrong Turn (2003)
Brings back memories of the good old days of horror...
This movie is one of the best slasher/horror films than years, and it is quite refreshing to see a movie like this after all of the watered-down teen-movie crap we've been seeing in the past few years. "Wrong Turn" is actually suspenseful and actually a hardcore horror movie, which is great. The atmosphere and the photography were great and the killings were unnerving enough, but not overly gory. The mountain men were a nice touch, and what made them scarier was that they weren't shown very much at all, at least not until the end of the film. This most reminds me of "Just Before Dawn", which is one of my favorite movies EVER and very similar to this movie. The actors were quite good actually - Harrington and Dushku made a good pair, and Zegers was cute in a small part. Again, a suspenseful, old-fashioned, scary slasher/horror flick. True, you know what will happen, for the most part. But if you love old-fashioned horror movies from the golden age of horror, you will definitely get into this. I had a lot of fun and will definitely buy it on DVD when it comes out. We need more horror movies like this!
House of 1000 Corpses (2003)
Wow - this movie made my life complete...
Rob Zombie is amazing for paying tribute to the good old days of horror. I was amazed by how much style and flair he exhibited in this movie, from the opening frame until the very end of the film. The movie is full of great music, flashing colors, creepy imagery, twisted characters, a jarring editing technique, a great backwoods setting, and just plain overall weirdness, and I LOVED IT! One of the main highlights was Karen Black. I love her and she's great here as the sleazy mother. Absolutely perfect. Other highlights besides Karen - the murder ride, Captain Spaulding, the scarecrows, the bunny suits, "Who's your Daddy?", dead cheerleaders, scalpings, stabbings, assorted slashings, a homemade cemetery, ghouls, and of course the big finale. I just loved it, and I don't care about what everyone else says or about the hype surrounding this movie, I saw it and very much enjoyed it. I just adore it because, while obviously inspired by movies like TCM and whatnot, it is so ORIGINAL in its style and I was just very impressed. I praise everybody involved with this movie. Rob Zombie is amazing, his music is amazing and his movie was great. And I can't wait for the sequel to this movie.