9 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
Not very good
17 February 2010
If a community theater group from a small town got the money to make a movie, I can only imagine it would turn out like this. Family Secrets is an embarrassingly earnest costume drama with sets and costumes that look like they came from the neighborhood goodwill store.

The story, what there is of it, is about a family who hire a young widow to work as governess for their out of control young son. The two form a close bond. The governess is then fired, with tragic consequences.

I made it through 48 minutes before I started fast forwarding. I would have just given up on it entirely, but I was curious about what the family secrets would turn out to be. The secrets aren't very surprising or scandalous - even for 1910.
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A hilarious parody of 80's post -apocalypse movies
6 June 2009
I caught this film at a midnight show here in Seattle. I didn't know anything about the movie - but I love crappy post-apocalypse films from the 80's (Such as Deathsport - or Roller Blade Warriors) and I had heard that Steel of Fire Warriors was along the same lines.

I didn't expect much from this ultra-low budget homegrown movie, but I ended up falling in love with it. The dialogue is hilarious, the performances are just bad enough to be endearing, and you can tell that the movie is a real labor of love. Other than a few problems with the pacing toward the end of the film, Steel of Fire Warriors 2010 AD is lots of fun and a loving tribute to a nearly forgotten genre.
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AM1200 (2008)
A great little horror/suspense film.
5 October 2008
I recently saw 1200 AM at the H.P. Lovecraft film festival and was absolutely blown away by it. Although it is based on an original story (rather than being an adaptation of one of Lovecraft's works) it fit perfectly into the genre.

When embezzling businessman Jonah Henry (John Billingsley)begins driving cross country his greatest fear is that he will be captured by the police. A mysterious radio broadcast from an isolated radio station, a few wrong turns, and car trouble on a lonely country road are just the start of his troubles. Forced to take shelter in the nearly abandoned radio station Jonah comes into contact with a far greater horror than he could ever have imagined.

Although the story is fairly straightforward, this short film really packs a wallop. Suspenseful, gory, and with a nasty surprise at the end, 1200 AM is hands down the best horror film I've seen in quite awhile.
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Dragonard (1987)
Trashy to the core
21 July 2007
You don't see many sexplotiation films in which the men are as exploited as the women, but Dragonard is a rare exception. Based on a popular series of bodice-ripper novels of the era, this film spends as much time lovingly displaying the young Patrick Warburton's muscular (and furry) torso as it does advancing its laughable plot.

The plot (what there is of it) deals with the mistreatment and eventual uprising of slaves in Jamaica. The audiences is treated to lots of slaves being whipped (both male and female). Dragonard features every romance novel cliché you can think of. Bright eyed upper class ladies lusting over supple male slaves, whores in powdered and ren-faire style corsetts,etc. Eartha Kitt seems to enjoy growling her way through every scene, and Oliver Reed shows up every once in awhile to shout drunkenly at the other actors.

As for Warburton, his main job in the film seems to be looking pretty, his character is supposed to be Scottish, but he hasn't bothered with an accent. Fortunately for him film is light on dialogue, preferring instead to focus on the sort of fake sex which was the stock and trade of the 1980's softcore T&A movie.

As a lover of trashy movies I was kind of hoping that this one would be a little more exploitive, insead it's not much more than a standard issue romance movie targeted (I think) to bored suburban housewives. If it were remade today Warburton's role would probably be played by Fabio.
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Mommy (1995)
Well, what did you expect?
29 May 2007
Yes, it is low budget, and yes it is shot on video for the direct to DVD market but I've seen much, much, worse. I can only imagine that the critics of this movie went into it with the wrong expectations.

Patty McCormack is great as the deranged Mommy, her performance is definitely over the top, just as it should be in this kind of movie. She's acting as hard as she can and it is not a role which calls for subtlety. Rachel Lemieux may not be the most accomplished actress in the world - but she's less annoying than most children in low budget films. It's also nice to see Brinke Stevens in a (more or less) dramatic role.

If you are looking for a high quality movie with lots of drama, gore, and topless Brinke Stevens, this is definitely not it. However, if you're looking for something kind of campy which you can enjoy making fun of (in an MST3K kind of way) then you could do a lot worse than this.
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A dark steampunk fantasy
28 December 2006
As short horror films go, this is one of the best I've seen in recent years. The story is genuinely chilling and the cut-out animation style is a perfect fit for old-fashioned narrative. Capturing the creepy essence of classic writers like Blackwood, Lovecraft, and Poe, this film is a mini-masterpiece and well worth tracking down. Fans of animation may notice a slight stylistic resemblance to some of the works of the brilliant Karel Zeman, although Zeman's work was seldom as intense or scary. The only problem I have with the film is that the disk is PAL encoded and won't play on standard North American DVD players.
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Spectacular and polarizing
20 June 2006
Visually lush, and cinematically breathtaking, Velvet Goldmine is a remarkable film that seems to polarize viewers into two groups. There are those of us who love it - and those who despise it.

Those who love it tend to be fascinated by the beauty of the film as much as by the story. For me, the splendid visuals are only part of the attraction. The real magic of this film comes from the hundreds of cultural references hidden throughout it. As an avid student of both Wilde and Bowie it feels as though this film was made especially for me. It isn't very often that a movie rewards you for being literate.

Those who hate the film usually cite the complex and admittedly hard to follow plot which moves back and forth through time, and passes between several narrators. There are certain types of viewers who need to have things spelled out for them in a linear, easy to follow, fashion - this isn't the film for them.

The other complaint that I hear regularly is that it is an inaccurate biography of David Bowie. I think that the mistake they're making is in expecting a biography. Velvet Goldmine is about Bowie in much the same way that Citizen Kane is about William Randolph Hearst. This isn't a film about the real David Bowie - it is a film about what Bowie symbolized, its about his archetype.
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Late Bloomer (2004)
Twisted Fun
20 June 2006
I had the good fortune to see this film at the H.P. Lovecraft film festival a year or so ago when it was presented by the writer, who also performed the monologue on stage. Although it probably isn't for everyone, this is a fun little movie which explores sexual horror in an original and (disturbingly) funny way. The director has done a marvelous job of working with a group of very young actors and really getting good solid performances out of them. I do regret not having purchased the DVD when I had the chance. Late Bloomer is a rare film which manages to horrify us, fascinate us, and make us laugh all at the same time.
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Favorite bad musical
22 November 2005
Strangers in Paradise is a lost classic which deserves its place in the pantheon of B-grade musicals right next to Can't Stop the Music and The Apple! The film is about a Wiemar era hypnotist who goes into cryogenic suspension in order to escape Hitler only to be thawed out by an ultra conservative political party who use him to further their own agenda.

Most of the story is told in musical numbers, and no 80's genre is left unsullied! Devo style art-rock, hair metal, and pretty much anything that was on MTV in 84' is trotted out, often with unintentionally hilarious results. My VHS copy of this is the pride of my bad musical collection.
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