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Essentially, actors that are more deserving of the recognition that is/was currently afforded them.
NTSC dvds not yet viewable in Europe...
20 mouth-watering flavours in no particular order:
Bed & Breakfast (1991)
The Award for Best Eyebrow in a Film goes to....
The look and feel of this straight-to-dustbin film is exceptionally poor at best; I'm pretty surprised an actor of Roger Moore's calibre agreed to this poppycock. If you are indeed looking to spend 1hr 37mins of your life watching a film with great dialogue; a slick narrative; subplots and defined characters, then good luck trying to find it in this garbage. It is however, very quickly, worth mentioning Roger Moore putting in a typically assured performance - playing Roger Moore. There is as well, I suppose, some slight titillation in the film for women of a certain age, as we see that famed brow raising far more than just a menopausal pulse or two.
The film also stars Talia Shire (better known as Burt Young's sister in the Rocky films) and some other people.
We start the film with Adam (Moore) taking a refreshing swim after being thrown from a yacht by a gang of unconvincing mobsters - all sporting regulation sunglasses, baggy suits, lacquered hair, and all providing limited acting ability. Moore, I mean Adam, is soon washed ashore a picturesque New Hampshire coastline suffering amnesia, and is taken in by three generations of women who live close by.
It doesn't take Moore too long to ingratiate himself with Grandmother, Mother and Daughter (Shire plays the mother); scoring free bed and board by doing jobs around their home, and standing around looking more tanned than usual. The three of them are soon under the spell of Adam (no surprise there) and the rest of the film meanders around his relationship with each of the women.
Although Moore takes a decent stab at trying to act his way through this tripe and elevate the tone of the film: with the odd one-liner here, and the slight baring of chest there. In spite of this, he is sadly let down by the rest of the cast, and this appalling script. Even the eyebrow was fighting a losing battle in this dross. As for the rest of the film, well the less said the better.
4 stars for Moore, and 2 for the eyebrow.
Skeleton Coast (1988)
A film of pure magic.
This film is one of the greatest illusions I have ever witnessed - It managed to make my interest disappear right before my very eyes. Astounding! The acting made my hair stand on end (without any wires) and at one point I must have been hypnotised, because to this day I still haven't been able to recall anything redeeming about this film. There was some discreet mind-misdirecting going on during the act, I mean film, because my mind didn't just begin to wander, it took a bus halfway through the film and didn't turn up until the next morning. Conjuring Oliver Reed up in this film was a pretty clever gimmick as well. The penultimate showpiece was a "sleight of hand" trick: where I gave 36p of my money (via Amazon) for this DVD and never saw the cash again - simply amazing! All these of were mere parlour tricks though, compared to the final, and best trick of all... the one where I sawed the disc in half!
Il fiume del grande caimano (1979)
A film of considerable repute, about a substantial latex newt.
Mama mia! I'm still trying to catch my breath after just viewing this edge-of-your-seat action/ horror flick from Italian B-Movie auteur Sergio Martino.
Where to begin. This masterpiece starts off with a photographer(nicely played by Claudio Cassanelli) and his fashion model arriving by helicopter at an island resort - with the remit of taking some promotional pictures for the island. Cassanelli barely has time to adjust to the (lack of) pace, before he is quickly introduced to the resort's owner (Mel Ferrer) and his assistant (Barbara Bach) who whisk him off on a tour of the resort, and we are soon presented with the island's selling point... alligators! Before long, a live animal is being fed whole to the snapping reptiles in the resort's alligator farm - a briskly edited scene; and duly carried out by the resort's alligator wrangler( Romano Puppo). A curt exchange between Cassanelli and Puppo eventuates and we now know where this film is heading. We are then subjected to a few obligatory scenes of Cassanelli taking location snaps with the model which add nothing to the film other than showcasing the actress' inability to strike more than two poses.
Twenty minutes or so later, we finally clap eyes on the 'Great (rubber) Alligator' attacking a boat mercilessly. Luckily for viewers though, the hapless model is the unfortunate passenger and along with a member of the Island's local tribe; both make a reasonable snack for the crocadilian. So much for their passionless liaison on a nearby island. The boat eventually washes up on the shore - with neatly contoured 'teeth marks', leading a suspicious Cassanelli and Bach to spring into action and set about discovering the mystery of the abandoned boat and the perfect teeth marks.
Now the carnage begins...
The film really gathers pace, and we are inundated with boggy, barely visible underwater scenes; unspectacular set-pieces; bit-part actors coming to grizzly ends; poor dialogue; an alligator that's as rigid as the board it's made with, and a cameo from exploitation's favourite pimp/ gym instructor Bobby Rhodes!
Eventually, the film comes to a head; with celebrations aboard a movable raft ala Castellari's "Last Jaws" being torpedoed by the lifeless alligator and left stranded in the middle of a lake; for numerous extras to form an orderly queue and jump off the raft to get picked off at will by the alligator. Exactly what happens to Puppo and Rhodes in the remainder film is a mystery...or maybe I just missed that bit.
I may sound dismissive of this gem, but in actual fact I quite enjoyed it. All the points I have made about this flick in my eyes are good things and If like me, you are a big fan of Italian B-movies and a fan of Sergio Martino, then I'm pretty certain you'll enjoy this too. It's certainly not in the class of other exploitation monster films: Devil Fish, Last Shark etc. But a good effort all the same.
Also, The location of the film is set on a costly looking island, somewhere tropical, and no doubt the outlay for the flights, hotels and booze, far exceeded the expense of the film's entire production.
La notte degli squali (1988)
Treat Williams is ineffectual pretty much throughout the film in a flick with little production value or any coherence, plot-wise. The film does however redeem itself with a typical assured John Steiner turn; making the most of a script - what at best can only be described as farcical and even Italian horror muse Janet Agren finds the task of adding some much needed glamour to the film a hopeless impossibility. But before I completely write off this film; hats off to the Tiger Shark's performance - which by the way, stole the show.
All in all, a Pulsatingly mediocre film. Good for comedy value.
5 stars for the Shark!
If like me you are an avid fan of sleazy and grubby looking flicks packed with sleazy and grubby looking characters, filmed in sleazy and grubby looking locations then this is the film for you. The film is essentially a revenge thriller, which tips an over sized Barbisio hat to the Italian Euro-Crime flicks of the 1970s: A bitter protagonist; middle-aged hoodlums(who should know better at their age); corrupt judges; a car chase(or three); clichéd dialogue; mindless- slaughter, and Fred "That Man Bolt" Williamson. The film stars Robert Forster playing an unremarkable factory worker whose life is suddenly beset by an inconceivable tragedy and (without giving too much of the plot away) he finds himself requiring little encouragement in joining a group of vigilantes led by his co-workers Williamson and two other colleagues. The film certainly doesn't pull any punches with the protagonists dispensing some reasonable savagery on any wrongdoers along the way. Some class acting from Forster and Williamson keeps the viewer interested throughout and the climactic fight scene at towards the end of the film, wouldn't look out of place in an Enzo Castellari or Umberto Lenzi flick. This is a well paced, well acted and thoroughly engrossing '80s exploitation film, with a compelling soundtrack and a nice little cameo from Italian director's favourite Woody Strode.
Watch at (almost) all costs!
Paura in città (1976)
Merli the Magician.
Euro-Crime can be an acquired taste at the best of times - bad dubbing; senseless killings; one-dimensional plot lines, just some of the gripes levelled against this genre of film. However, if you are looking to watch a film that is rather sparing on subtlety, pathos and seriously lacks any kind of pacing(choppy editing issues), but excels with well-choreographed action sequences; ultra- violence; over-the- top silliness and an easy-to-follow storyline, then this is another Polizio film worth casting a keen eye over.
Maurizio Merli plays a cop forced into retirement by his superiors due to a fondness in the past, of taking matters into his own hands and meting out his own brand of justice to any wrongdoers who have the temerity to commit a crime in his neck of the woods. This exile doesn't last too long however, as he suddenly finds himself recalled to duty by the very same superiors, who believe utilising his brutish methods is just about the only option they have of putting a stop to a gang of nefarious criminals who have just escaped from the clink, and mean BUSINESS! Cue exploding cars; a spectacular motorcycle chase; a one-sided dust-up where Merli teaches four(middle-aged)hooligans some manners on a public bus and plenty of gratuitous shoot- outs(endless bullets entering endless baddies chests).
All in all, an enjoyable 89mins, that's not going to tax the mind and will entertain you from start to finish. Oh, and watch for an unusual turn out for James Mason, playing an Italian Police Commissioner with a clipped Yorkshire accent. Fascinating!
A Touch of the Casanovas (1975)
Short on minutes...not short on titters!
First aired on New Years Eve 1975, this pilot episode was to be made into a series at Howerd's behest, but having received nothing bar apathetic reviews; subsequent episodes were canned and only this 40 minute episode was ever made. "A Touch of the Casanovas" is for all intents and purposes the same programme as pretty much all of Frankie Howerd's other sitcoms "Up Pompeii", "Whoops Baghdad" and "Up the Convicts"; only this time moving the location( jokes, scripts and even set, probably) from Ancient Rome, Baghdad and Colonial Australia respectively - to Italy and the time of Casanova. Essentially though, this is just one episode and may not seem worth bothering with. But if you are an avid fan of "Pompeii", then just over 40 mins of this will certainly sate your appetite!