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97 reviews in total 
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Winning Ugly, 3 May 2014

Pretty amusing account of The Ugly Dog show competition that has for some reason become Top Dog. Deals with some of the issues raised by the event without getting too heavy. I might have liked this better as an hour cable special, it feels like there is a bit much of everything. Most of all, of course, the one owner who uses these events for bizarre self promotion. There is one in every crowd, as they say. But even the sympathetic owner of the dog who wins the contest near the end we might have enjoyed more without hearing her whole life story. An enjoyable little Doc though, to be sure. Any dog lover will enjoy it. The DVD contains some out takes for those who can't get enough.

Bluebeard (1972)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Blue Indeed, 23 April 2014

This stinker barely played in theaters, at least in Chicago, then was trimmed for late night TV, before vanishing until the days of DVD. The movie is caught somewhere between "what were they thinking?" and "Meh". Burton gives a few of the sketches his best shot, but the movie never more than scrapes up against funny. Burton would sink to even greater depths, and also come back for a few good moments.

The big story here is tragic sexpot Joey Heatherton, who gives it her all in what would be, really, her only shot at breaking into features. I'm almost sure She also did an early low budget feature IMDb somehow missed. A stunning beauty hampered perhaps by a chipmunkish voice, She looks stunning and hangs in there in shot after shot. Her amazing nude scene probably destroyed her chances of being taken seriously, but it does not rob her of her dignity. Showbiz is not for sissies, and She deserved a better break.

The movie redeems itself in the scenes where it really attempts to work as farce, it simply always falls a little short. Perhaps the bright colors and costumes actually work against it a little.

Overrated and shallow work from a Master, 9 April 2014

Poor Paul Mazursky. Hounded for life by portraying a rape as a somewhat ambiguous, even comic manner in "Blume In Love" he felt guilty for life and even made the film "An Unmarried Women" as a sort of apology to his critics. In "Scenes From a Marriage" Bergman has his sniveling hero lock his wife in a room and beat her before signing divorce papers. And She, of course, loves him all the more. I've never heard anyone object to this this, and the film is generally hailed as a classic. Well, an international rep as a genius has it's privileges.

Generally a big Bergman fan, with a couple of his films among my very favorites, I was surpassed how repellent I found "Scenes From A Marriage." Men are worms, and women love them for it, would pretty much sum up things here. The picture would be more offensive, perhaps, if it were more credible. It is said Bergman wanted to "stay with the couple" but the Husband's utter disinterested in the children, and his wife's indifference to said, is either not believable or marks the couple as such coarse dunderheads that it's impossible to care about them.

Or, it makes it fashionable with the era's feminism, or male bashing if you like. Either way, the notion that this women works with couples going through the agony of divorce but is oddly indifferent to the suffering of those going through the process is another salvo Bergman aims at contemporary life, but another oddly vacuous one. There is an element of snobbery here, Bergman seems to view these people as empty middle class mediocrities with pretensions to Art they are unworthy of. No wonder Woody Allen loves this movie. In terms of executions, the movie is all you could as for-it's unsloppy Cassavettes. In terms of ideas, however, it's even lower than Cassavettes.

Roadhouse Blues, 19 January 2014

Even the Grindhouse, I guess, can be a grind. I have to agree with the house here, this is a roadshow movie about brothels that manages to be a little dull. The great thing about this out of bounds genre of film is that in the case of, say, a "Maniac" it delivers something totally odd and out of left field. Here, with the production values at least up around the quality of the better poverty row, we get tame and very conventional fare, still a long way from conventionally good. For hard core students of this kind of thing only. IMDb want me to say more about it, but that pretty much tell the tale. Don't waste your time. It's bad.

Wild 90 (1968)
The Naked and the untalented filmmakers, 15 November 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Basically unwatchable nonsense, which should prove to confuse Mailer's already confusing legacy. Just total garbage, perhaps interesting as an attempt at "punk" cinema. Mailer's wife at the time, Beverly Bentley, somehow emerges with her dignity and a suggestion of real talent. Otherwise it might have been better if this was totally lost. Not everything is worth saving even as a curio. Oddly, this was made when Mailer was at the height of his powers as a writer. The movie seems to want to prove that writing is not important. It fails. What was he thinking?Well, onto "Beyond The Law." How long do I have to write about this? There is nothing to say, it is an hour and a half of stupid improv by people who for the most part cannot improvise.

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
There's no cleaning up after this Gorilla...., 9 February 2013

While Bela may have appeared in worse movies, he was never more embarrassed than in his work here. While a bit of the hijinks is good for unintentional laughs, this has less the fun tone of "The Devil Bat", and more the bone crushing boredom of "The Corpse Vanishes."

While it mostly served the purpose of cheap laughs, can we just note now that George Barrow's much employed suit did not look much like a real Gorilla?

Your heart also has to go to the excellent Wallace Ford, whose crack comic timing was often put to use in movies

such as this. The writers even seem to be halfway spoofing the tired, tired, "screwball" button of a dame trying to make it in a man's world. In fact, I sort of like the self referential gag of the films writer, a stammering dimwit, occasionally appearing to move the plot along. Obviously, however, the joke at the closing credits is whoever sat through this thing.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Bloodsucking Bore, 5 January 2013

This was a Spanish film, shot in Hungary, and it's such a blotchy mess you have to wonder if the original version featured the American actors at all. It's not the film has anything too annoying or lame, it's just bland. The good part of watching this movie is that you can start in as part of your own private Friday night horror fest, get up and make a sandwich and be sure you won't miss anything.

Andrew Prine is a really good guy I saw speak at the New Beverly in Los Angeles a couple of years back. I guess I can ask him next time what the deal was with this movie. Edward Walsh was in two excellent Hollywood Films ( "Hard Times" and "California Split" ) around the same time but you have to wonder if they would have flown him to Hungary for his role. Some of this was probably shot stateside.

Don't go out of your way, but like most people, if you get it in a cheap horror set with 200 other movies, go ahead and watch it.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Off White Slavery, 26 December 2012

I discovered "The Naked Road" as part of Something Weird's excellent "Weird Noir" collection.

Like everything in the set, it more than lives up to it's name.

Director William Martin, who made some other strange films around the same time, seems to have something, perhaps something feminist, on his mind. The film compares the casual exploitation by an of Ad Man of a beautiful young model (the lovely Jeanne Rainer) with out and out White Slavery. In fact, the ad man, who ultimately shrinks from his pangs of guilt, is no doubt intended to be the biggest sleazbo of them all.

Even considering that Martin had little time or budget, his approach to filmmaking is downright odd. He shoots every scene in a three or four shot with all characters in view, and just when the monotony becomes unbearable; he cuts to a close up at an utterly irrelevant moment. The actors seem to have been instructed to speak slowly and leave gaping holes between the lines. And none seem to be incompetents, tubby Ronald Long went on to a highly successful career, but his performance here is hilariously, well, odd. Martin may have been no worse or better than Ed Wood, but he had his own approach to making a terrible film.

The abrupt climax is probably all for the best, but I could have stood another 15 minutes or so of these strange goings on. And again, Jeanne Rainer, you could have been a contender.

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Nothing to get bent out of shape over...., 28 November 2012

There actually WAS an "Oblong Box" story by Poe, and in the time honored tradition of these things, it has nothing to do with the story in this movie.

This non-Coreman Poe looks a lot closer to Poe than AIP, with it's lingering gore and flashes of nipple. The Hammer style Blood, both highly fake and gratuitous, is really odd to see today. These great stars appearing in films happy to go low to appeal to the crowd.

Anyway, the sad thing about "Oblong Box" is that, like many a Hammer film, it starts promisingly enough, with some fine photography and nicely staged widescreen shots and a promising premise. As Price exits the story, however, things get absurd and tedious fast. By the time the silly shocker ending rolls around you are likely to have lost interest.

Price's butler is played by the guy who went on to be one of the Murderers in Polanski's great "MacBeth", nice to see him again.

Too little, too soon...., 21 June 2012

"The Premature Burial" was Poe's only story with a happy ending, as the tormented narrator decides to write off "bugaboo tales, like this one," and stay on the sunny side. Might he have also said "no more mediocre movies?"

Ray Milland made his great contribution to shlock movie culture with this hilariously grouchy performance in "Frogs," he does what he can here but it does tend to underline how important the presence of Vincent Price was to these Poe films. Poe's interesting tale ( the title phobia was already a horror cliché by the time he got to it) is turned into a rather overwrought revenge saga with too much phony smoke. Though Floyd "David's dad" Crosby does his usual excellent work.

All in all it's an O.K. time if you like this sort of thing.

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