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Woodyanders

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3870 reviews in total 
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Worthy episode, 17 April 2015
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Furill (Daniel J. Travanti, super as usual) seeks the truth pertaining to accusations made against some of his men being corrupt. LaRue's (a nicely smarmy Kiel Martin) ego gets bruised after Washington (nicely played by Taureen Blacque) is offered a job outside of the precinct as Chief of Security. Hunter (an excellent James Sikking) goes to the hospital for exploratory surgery. Hill (sturdy Michael Warren) busts arrogant councilman Arnold Detweiler (ably played to the obnoxious hilt by Michael Fairman) for driving while intoxicated.

The subplot about Detweiler gives this particular its strongest dramatic moments as it makes a valid and potent statement about how those in positions of authority abuse said authority in order to avoid being penalized for their infractions. Moreover, another subplot about a mentally ill man who thinks he's an alien is handled with admirable taste and wit -- and comes complete with a nifty surprise ending. Goldblume (a fine Joe Span) getting accused of being dirty gets resolved in a logical, albeit downbeat, manner. In addition, there are neat guest contributions from Leo Rossi as eager action move star Jon Gennaro, Trinidad Silva as swaggering street gang leader Martinez, David Caruso as the hotheaded Tommy Mann, and Jon Cypher as the slimy Chief Daniels.

The Canyon (2009)
Premise had potential, but it's undermined by shoddy writing and dumb characters, 16 April 2015
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Nick (a solid performance by Eion Bailey) and Lori Conway (a winningly spirited portrayal by the pulchritudinous Yvonne Strahovski) are a pair of newlyweds who decide to spend their honeymoon in the Grand Canyon. After their scruffy guide Henry (a colorful and engaging turn by Will Patton) dies from rattlesnake bites, the couple find themselves lost in the middle of nowhere and have to fight for survival.

Director Richard Harrah maintains a steady pace throughout, makes the most out of the gorgeous scenery, and vividly captures the hopelessness of the desperate situation. Nelson Cragg's breathtaking widescreen cinematography offers a wealth of stunning visuals. Heitor Pereira's harmonic score does the tuneful trick. Unfortunately, Steve Allrich's pretty blah script has the main characters do little more than squabble and walk around in circles. Worse yet, Nick and Lori become more annoying and less sympathetic as the story unfolds by making one idiotic decision after another that only worsens the severity their already dire ordeal while the threat to their safety from a pack of vicious predatory wolves comes across as quite contrived and implausible. The very frustrating and dissatisfying ending doesn't help matters in the least. A missed opportunity.

Sturdy episode, 16 April 2015
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Furillo (the always superb Daniel J. Travanti) finds fellow police captain Lou Hogan (an excellent performance by Robert Hogan) guilty of gross incompetence and negligence when it comes to running his precinct correctly. LaRue (Kiel Martin in fine smarmy form) and Washington (smoothly played by Taureen Blacque) apply for the same position outside of the precinct. Goldblume (a solid Joe Spano) and Belker (a pleasingly scruffy Bruce Weitz) work undercover as ice cream vendors. Furillo's moral dilemma with Hogan's ineptitude gives this episode considerable substance as the central story explores the necessity for a police captain to be on top of everything that happens in his station. Moreover, Hogan gets a remarkable scene in which he takes his fellow police captains to task for hanging him out to dry at a roast for Chief Daniels (Jon Cypher). Hunter (a deliciously droll James Sikking) has a hilarious altercation with a greasy spoon waitress and there's some really funny business concerning a cow trapped on the fifth floor of an apartment building. Larry B. Scott contributes a stellar guest turn as an underage robber who has a tense stand-off with Goldblume. And the closing line for this episode is a real shocker.

The Clones (1973)
Nifty 70's sci-fi flick, 15 April 2015
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Scientist Dr. Gerald Appleby (a sturdy performance by Michael Greene) uncovers a nefarious government plot to duplicate the world's top scientists in order to control the weather.

Directors Lamar Card and Paul Hunt, working from an offbeat and interesting script by Steve Fisher, relate the absorbing story at a snappy pace, do a solid job of crafting a suitably paranoid atmosphere, stage the action scenes with aplomb (the bravura wild climax set in an empty amusement park in particular seriously smokes in no uncertain terms), and cap things off with a quintessentially 70's surprise bummer ending. The sound acting by the able cast keeps the film humming: Gregory Sierra as ruthless hit-man Nemo, Otis Young as Nemio's easygoing partner Sawyer, Susan Hunt as Appleby's concerned wife Penny, and Stanley Adams as sinister scientist Carl Swafford. Gary Graver's typically proficient cinematography boasts lots of cool hand-held camera work and a few gnarly solarized visuals; the scenes with Appleby and his clone interacting together are especially well done. Allen D. Allen's lively and funky score hits the groovy stirring spot. A neat little movie.

Tasty World War II era-set hardcore noir winner, 14 April 2015
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Lusty private detective Nick Popodopolis (an excellent performance by John Leslie) finds himself embroiled in a complex murder plot after he agrees to take on a case involving former major Hollywood cinema siren Dixie Ray (voluptuous redhead Lisa De Leeuw in fine deceitful, yet still tantalizing form). Nick relates the whole sordid affair to a boozy police lieutenant (a marvelously weary portrayal by Cameron Mitchell).

Director Anthony Spinelli does a masterful job of crafting a flavorsome 1940's period setting while keeping the engrossing story moving along at a steady pace. The smoldering presences of several sumptuous Golden Age favorites provides extra sizzle: Juliet Anderson as brash and predatory bisexual Adrian, Kelly Nichols as Dixie's lascivious estranged daughter Leslie, Hillary Summers as Nick's horny and insatiable secretary Carol, and Veronica Hart as saucy moll Sherry. Moreover, the raunchy dialogue and hot sex scenes ensure that this honey delivers the scorching goods, with the strenuous lovemaking session between Leslie and Nichols rating as a definite arousing highlight. The sets, costumes, and vintage automobiles are all quite impressively lavish. The convoluted script by Dean Rogers offers a few neat twists and turns. The crisp cinematography by Fred Andes and Daryll M. Keene's supremely smooth jazz score both further enhance the overall sterling quality of this superior outing.

Excellent start for the third season, 14 April 2015
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Furilo (Daniel J. Travanti, splendid as ever) finds himself caught in a fierce public maelstrom after two men rape a nun during a robbery at a church. Meanwhile, Belker (essayed with trademark growly gusto by Bruce Weitz) goes to bat for gay prostitute Eddie (a touching performance by Charles Levin) and Calletino (a fine Rene Enriquez) frets over a tax audit. Director Gregory Hoblit, working from a strong and riveting script by David Milch, builds plenty of sweaty tension -- the story occurs during a heat wave -- and maintains a quick pace throughout; the central plot about the nun proves to be quite potent and gripping, with the chaos created by the incident especially well captured. Hunter (a delightfully droll James Sikking) has a funny scene with Furillo in the men's room and Esterhaus (a marvelously vibrant Michael Conrad) delivers a hilarious roll call spiel about the unnecessary use of excessive profanity. Moreover, there are stand-out guest turns by George Wyner as shrewd D.A. Bernstein, Allan Rich as the no-nonsense Judge Schiller, Maurice Sneed as despicable hoodlum Gerald, and Silvana Gallardo as the distraught Mrs. Rodriguez. Best of all, this episode doesn't pull any harsh dramatic punches with Furillo being forced into a real moral tight spot that finds him bending the law out of brutal necessity in order to see that justice gets served in a swift and satisfying way.

Zombiethon (1986)
Enjoyable zombie horror compilation, 13 April 2015
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Made up of nothing but the "good stuff" (i.e., gore and nudity) from a handful of mostly European drive-in fright flicks, this perfectly entertaining compilation breezes along at a zippy 73 minutes and hence doesn't overstay its welcome. The wrap-around segments feature various attractive young ladies being chased into the Del Rey Theater in Los Angeles where a gaggle of undead folks played by people in lovably cheap, yet still funky rubber Halloween masks are watching zombie horror pictures on the big screen, thus giving director Ken Dixon an excuse to show clips from Lucio Fulci's "Zombie" (the underwater shark sequence and the legendary splinter through the eye set piece are naturally shown, plus nudity), "Zombie Lake" (lots of naked chicks), "The Oasis of the Living Dead," "Dr. Orloff's Invisible Monster" (looks hilariously crappy, plus more nudity), "Fear" with Laura Gemser (no complaints about that), "A Virgin Among the Living Dead" (cue even more nudity), and the gloriously ghastly "The Astro Zombies." The scenes in the Del Rey Theater with the zombies engaging in dippy comedic antics are a hoot, with the sidesplitting highlight occurring when the bumbling zombie projectionist accidentally cuts off one of his fingers while trying to load a reel into the projector. Paula Singleton, Janielle Lewis, Janessa Lester, Tracy Burton, and Karrene Janyl Caudle are all quite fetching as the hapless lasses who serve as zombie magnets. Good trashy fun.

The atomic bomb is our friend, 10 April 2015
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Comprised of extraordinary newsreel footage, propaganda movies, classroom scare films (the notorious "Duck and Cover" with Bert the Turtle rates as an absolute riot of jaw-dropping idiocy), and military training pictures from the 1940's and 1950's, this genuinely alarming, yet still absorbing and often darkly amusing documentary paints a damning portrait of government duplicity and civilian complacency as Uncle Sam and the media alike spoon feed the gullible American public all kinds of gross misinformation about the severe after effects of the atomic bomb as well as go out of their way to present the communist nation of Russia as a dire threat to the American way of life in order to justify the necessary existence of nuclear weapons. The chilling footage of the actual devastating consequences of radioactive fallout offers a startling contrast to all the outright lies told by assorted cheery authorities and so-called hopelessly clueless experts throughout. Further galvanized by a neat array of catchy'n'jaunty songs, with a wondrous wealth of dark humor bubbling just underneath the deceptively merry surface, and an admirable dearth of narration (the numerous clips tell their own frightening story about the shocking uneasiness and irrationality beget by rampant paranoia all too well on their own), it's both hilarious and horrifying in equal measure.

Nifty making of documentary, 9 April 2015
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This thirteen minute documentary offers a pretty interesting and illuminating peek at the making of the slasher horror opus "See No Evil." Director Gregory Dark reveals that wrestler Kane did his own stunts as well as designed Jacob Goodnight to be a real disgusting character with no sense of personal hygiene. Screenwriter Dan Madigan praises Kane for his subtle facial expressions and notes how he meant several of the deaths to be ironic, with Zoe's demise by having a cellphone rammed down her throat rating as a definite stand-out example. Cinematographer Ben Nott discusses Goodnight's distorted perspective on the world. Some of the best stuff in this doc concerns the make-up work done for both Goodnight and the various murder set pieces; actress Christina Vidal admits that the exceptional quality of the prosthetics creeped her out. Moreover, there's also some compelling material about how CGI was used for all the additional floors for the rundown Blackwell Hotel in the exterior shots of the place and Goodnight's fatal fall to his death at the very end. Loaded with plenty of choice clips and behind the scenes footage, it's worth a watch for fans of the film.

Sure, it's total trash, but still quite enjoyable in its own rubbishy way, 8 April 2015
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Eight petty criminals are assigned to do community service by cleaning up a filthy and dilapidated abandoned hotel. Unfortunately, said hotel proves to be the stalking grounds of vicious reclusive psychopath Jacob Goodnight (enormous professional wrestler Kane).

Okay, the premise alone is pretty damn silly and preposterous, what with a small handful of folks selected to clean up in a mere three days (!) a massive dingy hotel with multiple floors which somehow still has electricity and running water despite having been ravaged in the past by a fire. Then there's the way director Gregory Dark, a fellow whose previous credits include hardcore porn, 90's soft-core erotic thrillers, and music videos for people like Britney Spears, Vitamin C, and Mandy Moore, goes gloriously whole hog on the flashy pyrotechnics replete with rapid-fire editing, shadowy lighting, black and white freeze frames complete with text explaining the specific offenses of each criminal, sepia-tinged flashbacks, and hyperactive camera-work. Dan Madigan's leave-no-cliché unturned script likewise hits the hilariously cornball spot with jaw-dropping bluntness: Jacob naturally turns out to be the dangerously toxic product of childhood abuse and a strict religious upbringing while the obnoxious victims clearly mark themselves for doom by smoking weed and making out.

The acceptable acting by the competent cast holds the picture together: Rachael Taylor as snooty rich bitch Zoe, Christina Vidal as the sassy Christine, Michael J. Pagan as the smooth Tye, Luke Pegler as swaggering thug Michael, Samantha Noble as the hapless Kira, Craig Horner as the nerdy Craig, Penny McNamee as sensitive vegan Melissa, and Steve Vidler as rugged ex-cop Williams. With his bald head, evil leer, and hulking physique, Kane makes for a genuinely fearsome and intimidating horror fiend. The moments of gory and sadistic brutality pack a savage punch, with plenty of ugly eyeball violence and a memorably nasty cellphone-shoved-down-the-throat gag. Ben Nott's grayish cinematography provides an appropriately gloomy'n'grungy look. Fun slasher schlock.


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