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Birthdate: September 25
I bid you...velcome.
I'm a shameless movie fanatic who especially favours the following genres:
Favourite directors include:
George A. Romero
Slumber Party Massacre III (1990)
While the parents are away, the kids will play. And the killer will slay.
Screenwriter Catherine Cyran isn't about to muck with the formula established in previous slasher flicks. So what we get is a pretty standard issue entry for the genre, but one that is still pretty enjoyable, because it gives the fans what they want. A bunch of incredibly hot young babes all come to party in their friend Jackies' (Keely Christian) house. Before the viewer has to wait too long, a sadistic psycho party crasher will come along and make mincemeat out of the gals and their male counterparts.
"Slumber Party Massacre III" does go on about ten minutes longer than the previous two flicks, with a tiny bit more story than usual. There might not be enough bare flesh to suit some people in the audience, but SPMIII makes up for that with its wonderfully tacky gore and reasonably high body count. Fortunately, it does also have decent enough characters. Sometimes, though, you can't help but want to yell at the screen for these girls to just HELP whoever's currently being threatened. Functioning as a whodunit, the movie does reveal its killer about a half hour before finishing. At that point, it pulls out all the stops.
The performances are certainly adequate for this kind of material. Christian is a personable heroine. Hope Marie Carlton and Maria Ford are among the hotties flaunting their bodies, getting annoyed with their guys, and being terrorized by our villain. Experienced horror fans will note the presence of people like Wayne Grace ("Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter"), as a desk sergeant, Yan Birch ("The People Under the Stairs"), as an obvious red herring, and Marta Kober ("Friday the 13th Part 2"), as a pizza delivery girl.
If you're looking for pretty straightforward slasher film style thrills, you could do a lot worse than this.
Seven out of 10.
Entertaining, as long as you don't care about authenticity.
The always rock solid Ed Harris shines as Demi, a veteran officer in the Russian Navy. His comrade Markov (Lance Henriksen, in a much too brief cameo role) sends him out to sea, as commander of a sub, and some last minute passengers tag along. One of them is Bruni (David Duchovny), a rogue KGB agent, and you just KNOW that his agenda is going to be dubious and scary. Tensions run high above the sub as the men are forced to confront the idea of going to war with America.
First, let's get to the debits. Going by other IMDb reviews here, it's clear that writer / director Todd Robinson either didn't do much research, or else he just didn't give a damn. There are a bunch of inaccuracies. We could start with the fact that we've got a largely accent-free American cast playing supposed Russian characters, but that's just stating the obvious. The special effects, admittedly, could have been better. Thankfully, they don't detract too much from the experience.
The story is set up as being inspired by a real life incident which could indeed have begun a nuclear war; to this day the facts of the matter are apparently kept under wraps by both the Americans and Russians. This does make for some reasonably watchable drama, action, suspense, and excitement, along with the appeal of a classic submarine thriller in the Hollywood tradition.
While almost everybody here is completely unconvincing as a Russian, you can see that the performances are still quite engaging - for the most part. Duchovny isn't enough of an actor to bring a lot of gravitas to his villainous role, but Harris and William Fichtner (as Harris' reliable XO) pick up the slack. Harris projects perfect authority and you do believe him as a leader of men. Johnathon Schaech, Jason Beghe, Derek Magyar, Sean Patrick Flanery, Jason Gray-Stanford, Julian Adams, Kip Pardue, and Jordan Bridges (son of Beau B.) co-star. By the way, Adams plays a character named Bavenod, which is close enough to (Boris) Badenov that you can't help but smirk every time his name is uttered.
Overall, a decent and enjoyable flick with a fairly clever ending. Just be prepared to suspend a sizable amount of disbelief.
Seven out of 10.
The Sisterhood (1988)
It's the end of the world as we know it, and the ladies look fine.
In this goofy, female empowerment, post-holocaust tale from director Cirio H. Santiago ("Equalizer 2000"), it's the future year of 2021. In the deserts of Earth, men hold all the power and have enslaved many women. It's up to the nomadic ladies known as "The Sisterhood" to restore some sense of equality. Two such Sisters that we meet are Alee (Rebecca Holden) and Vera (Barbara Patrick, the wife of Robert P.). They take under their wing a teen aged girl named Marya (Lynn-Holly Johnson of "Ice Castles" and "For Your Eyes Only"), whose kid brother (Tom McNeeley) was killed by one of the male antagonists, a warrior named Mikal (Chuck Wagner, "America 3000").
"The Sisterhood" is good, light entertainment for sci-fi lovers who favor the cheesy and silly side of post-holocaust cinema. It does earn some points for portraying its women as strong and independent, but not invulnerable. It also gives Alee and Vera special powers - Vera is telekinetic and Alee has healing abilities. Our three heroines generate sufficient rooting interest, and all of our grunting pig villains are appropriately odious. Mikal is an exception, proving to be more than one-dimensional.
Fine use is made of locations. The sets, costumes, and vehicles look decent enough for whatever minimal budget "The Sisterhood" had. The music score by Jun Latonio is variable: sometimes it's passable, and at other times it is just *awful*. It's all pleasantly cheesy, with a little bit of gore (there's a few close ups of sword wounds) and a fair amount of action. The performances are actually not too bad - Robert Dryer, the main baddie in "Savage Streets", as the creepy Lord Barak, Anthony East as Lord Jak. The female cast is very attractive, and there are adequate doses of bare flesh throughout.
Watching this one is a harmless enough way to kill a little over an hour and a half.
Seven out of 10.
Terminal Velocity (1994)
"Pack the bags, we're going on a guilt trip."
Charlie Sheen stars as "Ditch" Brodie, a daredevil and skydiving instructor whose latest student is the eager Chris Morrow (Nastassja Kinski). He's horrified when she seems to perish on her very first jump, and he's soon plunged into international intrigue. Proving that he wasn't neglectful and that he didn't let her die will not be his main worry. He will have to dodge attempts on his life by crazed goons who are former members of the KGB.
The screenplay by David Twohy (future director of such things as the "Riddick" film series) is patently ridiculous. You have to shake your head and laugh, but the good thing is that Twohy and director Deran Sarafian ("Death Warrant") are clearly never taking themselves 100% seriously to begin with. It's too bad that Sarafian, the son of cult filmmaker Richard Sarafian ("Vanishing Point"), didn't enjoy more commercial success in Hollywood, because here he proved that he had the chops to handle a mainstream action thriller. The airborne stunts and various set pieces are quite fun, and there's always plenty of gunfire and explosions to ensure that attention spans are maintained.
Sheen is decent enough as our hero, a more or less average Joe obliged to help save the day. Part of whatever strength the movie has, though, rests on Kinskis' capable shoulders. She really gives it her all. (And, of course, looks very sexy throughout.) James Gandolfini has an early role here, showing off that screen presence that helped the late actor to become a star a few years later. Christopher McDonald is fun as a psycho villain, although he does admittedly look rather silly with that bleached blonde hair. It's also nice to see Melvin Van Peebles and Rance Howard in small roles. Margaret Colin appears unbilled as Jo.
This is the kind of thing that does entertain the viewer provided they don't want to think about it too much. It's basically B fare with an A level budget.
Seven out of 10.
The Sin Syndicate (1965)
As long as there are men, there will be zero girls.
Passable skin flick stars the quartet of Yolanda Moreno (as Dolores), June Roberts (as Candy), Darlene Bennett (as Monica), and Judy Adler (as Lorna). Fate has turned these ladies into "zero girls", or "party girls", used and abused by "the Syndicate". The story set-up has them testifying before a Senate committee, where they each spin a yarn describing their journeys to their present situations.
The prolific Michael Findlay strikes again with this watchable trash. Attempts to be somewhat arty mix with some utter crudity, such as the incredibly poor dubbing. The music and the stark black & white photography help to make it reasonably atmospheric. One very amusing thing that Findlay does to pad the running time is to utilize copious stock footage of the Cuban Revolution, the London Blitz, and the bombing of a battleship. The movie only runs an hour and five minutes even with this padding, so it could have been quite brief indeed.
"The Sin Syndicate" is really all about the girl watching, and our very attractive cast indulge in some protracted dance routines. There's also some very uncomfortable scenes of torture, and, blessedly, a gratuitous lesbian shower sequence right near the end that makes it all worthwhile. "Does this make us lesbians?" "No, we're just tired of men."
Six out of 10.
Soylent Green (1973)
The 1970s was another mighty fine decade for science-fiction.
Nowadays, it's easy to suspect governments and big corporations of just about any nefarious doings. And there's a sinister plot afoot here to deal with an Earth of a future year (2022, just five years away in reality), where the "greenhouse effect" and over population have turned the planet into a portrait of Hell. For example, the opening text tells us that there are 40,000,000 people in NYC alone. A hard-driving NYPD detective, Thorn (Charlton Heston), stumbles onto something big when he investigates the murder of Simonson (Joseph Cotten), a corporation bigwig.
Partly because this movie has been in the public consciousness for so long, it's hard to imagine many people not knowing what the story's big reveal is. You of course won't hear it from this viewer, but it's not hard to figure out. Still, the plot constructed by novelist Harry Harrison (originally titled "Make Room! Make Room!") is intriguing enough to pull you in, and keep you entertained. It might not be quite meaty or involved enough for some "tastes", mind you. Part of Thorn discovering the big secret involves our wrongdoers not seeming to go to great lengths to keep it hidden.
One of the most impressive marvels is the use of extras, as MGM and director Richard Fleischer (of the classic Disney adaptation of "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea") give us an amazing depiction of overcrowding. For instance, every day, on his way to work, Thorn has to clamber over dozens of bodies filling the corridors and stairways of his run down building. Excellent use is made of classical music, both pre-existing and new stuff composed by Fred Myrow ("Phantasm").
The cast is full of reliable, familiar actors: Chuck Connors, Brock Peters, Paula Kelly, Stephen Young, Mike Henry, Lincoln Kilpatrick, Roy Jenson, Leonard Stone, Whit Bissell, Celia Lovsky, Dick Van Patten. Leigh Taylor-Young is beautiful and endearing as Shirl, a young woman living in a future where a young woman can be referred to as "furniture" and simply come with an apartment. Heston is solid as usual, but "Soylent Green" really belongs to the wonderful Edward G. Robinson, around 80 years old at the time and making his 101st feature film appearance. Sadly, it would turn out to be his last, making his final scenes even more poignant and powerful.
This is definitely striking entertainment, even more when one considers the ending.
Eight out of 10.
Il pianeta errante (1966)
Best left to die hard sci-fi lovers.
"War Between the Planets" is the third film in the Spaghetti Sci-Fi series known as "Gamma One". It stars Giacomo Rossi Stuart as the ramrod-straight commander Rod Jackson, just one of a handful of astronauts who will be called upon to save the day. Various natural disasters are plaguing the Earth, and it would seem that a newly discovered rogue planet is the culprit. Rod and company have to destroy it before it collides with our planet.
If you're like this viewer and enjoy this sort of thing to begin with, "War Between the Planets" yields adequate entertainment. It's pretty colorful, like the other films in the series, with so- so direction by Antonio Margheriti, who guided most of these features. The problem is, it threatens to choke on its dialogue, with not enough incident to sustain it through a fairly uninteresting first sixty minutes. It only starts getting fun when our heroes land on the planet, and find that it has a life of its own. It's even got arteries and lungs! The landscapes on this planet are pretty cool, as is the creation of some enjoyable atmosphere. The special effects are very damn crude, but charmingly so. You can clearly see most of the strings used to manipulate actors and objects.
Rossi Stuart is a stiff plank of wood in the lead role. Ombretta Colli is appealing eye candy as his leading lady, Lt. Terry Sanchez. Series regular Enzo Fiermonte is fine as the concerned General Norton. And Goffredo Unger and Pietro Martellanza are acceptable as other key characters. You do miss the presence of the almighty Franco Nero, who co-starred in the first two films.
Entertaining enough but also rather forgettable.
Six out of 10.
Celtic Pride (1996)
What would YOU to ensure your teams' success?
Farcical sports comedy about the outer limits of rabid sports fandom stars Daniel Stern as Mike, a Boston Phys. Ed. teacher fiercely devoted to the Celtics basketball team. As our story begins, the Celtics are facing off against the Utah Jazz for the championship, before Boston Gardens is due to be demolished. One night, Mike and his tagalong pal Jimmy (Dan Aykroyd) encounter Lewis Scott (Damon Wayans), the selfish, egomaniacal star player for the Jazz, in a bar, and the three of them get just drunk enough that Mike and Jimmy are able to successfully kidnap Lewis. They figure they'll hold on to him long enough to ensure that the Celtics win, but naturally things go completely awry.
Written by Judd Apatow, based on a story by him and Colin Quinn, this does take some pretty hard and amusing digs at sports fans. Not that it's an especially witty screenplay, though; it's really the cast, who give it 100%, that make it work as well as it does. Wayans is a hoot as the sports superstar who isn't exactly lacking insight into his schmucky abductors. Stern and Aykroyd are well cast; Stern is a comedic ball of fire as always. Gail O'Grady does alright with a clichéd role as a fed up wife. Paul Guilfoyle is entertaining as a Boston cop. Christopher McDonald has some funny moments (especially "I hate my life.") as the coach of the Jazz. Darrell Hammond has a small role, while various real life basketball celebrities have cameo roles. (The cameo by a certain football star at the end is hilarious.)
Speaking personally, I didn't feel that the pacing was all that bad. At least this watchable if uninspired movie only runs about an hour and a half.
Six out of 10.
Cat People (1942)
"You cold?" "A cat just walked over my grave."
Nice guy marine engineer Oliver Reed (handsome Kent Smith) meets a very intriguing woman one day in the zoo. She's Irena Dubrovna (absolutely gorgeous Simone Simon), a Serbian émigré who's come to NYC and works as a sketch artist. In no time, they're married, although she does trouble him. She's afraid to get intimate, because she suspects that it will unleash the feline within her. Also, she places a lot of stock in the legends of her homeland. Jealousy rears its ugly head when Irena realizes that Olivers' co-worker Alice Moore (Jane Randolph) is in love with him.
"Cat People" was the first in a line of low budget black & white horror films produced by Val Lewton for RKO Studios. They gave him the pre-selected titles, and from there he and his regular collaborators came up with some generally interesting stories. They wouldn't appeal to some of the genre fans of today, because they mainly dealt with horrors of the mind, and were never very explicit. But they hold up quite nicely over 70 years later, because Lewton and his stable of directors - Jacques Tourneur guided this film - crafted some intoxicating atmosphere.
There are two "stalking" sequences that are now legendary, and for good reason. Lewton and Tourneur do impressive things with sound, completely putting you on edge. Another individual who plays an important part is the cinematographer Nicholas Musuraca, whose use of light and shadow is excellent.
The acting is sincere and believable. Rounding out the quintet of main players are Tom Conway as the skeptical psychiatrist Dr. Louis Judd, and Jack Holt as The Commodore. Appearing uncredited are Theresa Harris as Minnie, Alan Napier as Doc Carver, and Elizabeth Russell as "the cat woman".
Written by DeWitt Bodeen, this is a good tale about the power of belief. And like all of these Lewton productions, it wraps up in a reasonable amount of time, running a scant 73 minutes.
Eight out of 10.
Equalizer 2000 (1987)
It's garbage, but at least it's FUN garbage.
B movie perennial Richard Norton ("Force: Five") stars as a hero named Slade in this little epic, just one of many grungy post-apocalypse features to pattern itself after "Mad Max" and "The Road Warrior". Slade is out to get revenge on a military unit dubbed "The Ownership", who are just greedy enough to want control of all resources. They meet resistance from Slade and other rebels, "mountain people", and a sexy as Hell warrior woman named Karen (Penthouse hottie Corinne Wahl). But Slade has an ace up his sleeve: the sleek and massive weapon of the title, which ensures its owners' survival.
Fans of derivative future set schlock won't mind that the story (written by co-star Frederick Bailey, who plays Hayward) is practically non existent. It's all about non-stop (and I do mean non-stop) gunfire, explosions, and setting people on fire. (This is the kind of movie where nobody ever seems to run out of ammo.) While it's hard to give much of a damn about any character here, the actors do what they can with limited material. Norton is fortunately one very badass hero; he can shoot at the bad guys while perched on the hood of a car, and not lose his balance. Wahl isn't much of an actress, but it's doubtful that many people will care when she looks so fine. William Steis (as Lawton) and Peter Shilton (as MacLaine) are adequate villains. Any fan of Filipino exploitation cinema will be happy to see Vic Diaz here, as he portrays one of those "mountain people". But the most fun is in seeing future star Robert Patrick, in his second feature film appearance, as a mangy weasel named Deke.
Passable direction by Cirio H. Santiago and amusing electronic music by Ding Achacoso help to make this an okay diversion.
Five out of 10.