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Woodyanders

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4519 reviews in total 
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Passable episode, 23 January 2017
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Diplomat Laurie Morton (lovely Barbara Kellerman, who tries hard with her thankless part) and her workaholic scientist husband Terence (a solid performance by Gary Bond) adopt a strange boy named James after their son William dies. Odd and troubling things begin to occur soon thereafter.

Director Francis Megahy not only relates the reasonably engrossing, yet derivative "Omen"-esque story at a plodding pace, but also crucially fails to generate much in the way of either tension or spooky atmosphere. Moreover, this episode further suffers due to the key miscasting of Matthew Blakstad, who alas comes across as dorky and annoying instead of creepy and menacing. However, Norman Warwick's serviceable script manages a few decent twists and turns before reaching a genuinely chilling and surprising conclusion. In addition, there are some nice bits of nasty gore concerning mangled rabbits peppered throughout. Both Norman Warwick's sharp cinematography and John McCabe's spirited spine-tingling score are up to par. An okay episode.

Nice darkly comic episode, 20 January 2017
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Real estate broker Norman Shenley (marvelously played by Denholm Elliott) suffers from a series of odd and disorienting dreams in which he murders his wife on Friday the 13th that are so real and intense that he starts to wonder if they are indeed true.

Director Peter Sasdy keeps the engrossing story moving along at a brisk pace, adroitly crafts an intriguing mysterious atmosphere, and maintains an engaging tongue-in-cheek tone throughout. Gerald Savoy's witty script mines a wickedly funny line in alternately saucy and pitch-black humor while making its way to a neat surprise conclusion. Moreover, it's acted with zest by a tip top cast: James Laurenson as the sinister Mr. Rayburn, Pat Heywood as Shenley's shrewish wife Lolly, and Eleanor Summerfield as the dotty Lady Strudwick. Special kudos are in order for the lovely Lucy Gutteridge, who portrays Shenley's sexy secretary mistress Lolly with deliciously sultry aplomb and appears throughout sporting a diverse variety of outfits and hairstyles. Frank Watt's crisp cinematography and Paul Patterson's moody score are both up to snuff. A real hoot.

Fat farm from hell, 19 January 2017
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Eager reporter Ruth (a winningly spunky portrayal by Julia Foster) discovers that the weight loss organization Think Thin are using brutal and degrading methods in the implementation of their agenda and in turn are a harboring a dark secret concerning their ulterior motives.

Director Peter Sasdy keeps the entertaining story moving at a snappy pace and adroitly crafts an intriguing sinister atmosphere. Jeremy Burnham's smart script not only offers amusing touches of witty humor and lots of zingy dialogue, but also delivers one doozy of a ghoulish surprise twist at the end. The sound acting by the sturdy cast keeps things humming: Dinah Sheridan as hard-nosed editor Gwen, Richard Pearson as amiable host Sir Humphrey Chesterton, Norman Bird and George Innes as a pair of pernicious body snatching undertakers, Warren Clarke as the hapless Ben, Gerard Kelly as the suspicious Andrew, Barbara Keogh as the chatty Joan, and, in a memorably nasty turn, James Cosmo as vicious physical education instructor Willis. The sharp cinematography by James Watts provides a nice bright look. John McCabe's shuddery score hits the shivery spot. A worthwhile show.

A post-apocalyptic movie with a refreshing difference, 18 January 2017
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Determined drifter Eli (a strong and credible performance by Denzel Washington) fights his way across a harsh and hostile post-apocalyptic world to protect a book that could save mankind from complete ruination. Eli faces fierce opposition in the form of ruthless mobster Carnegie (ably played to the wicked hilt by Gary Oldman).

Directors Albert and Allen Hughes relate the arresting story at a measured pace, vividly depict an incredibly dark, grim, and godforsaken landscape rife with peril and despair, maintain a grim solemn tone throughout, bring a soulful humanity to the compelling premise, and stage the thrilling action set pieces with ferocious flair and skill. Gary Whitta's thoughtful script not only intelligently explores the central themes of faith and redemption, but also makes a potent and provocative point on how religious beliefs can be used for either good or bad depending on their specific implementation. Washington and Oldman both do sterling work in their roles, with sturdy support from Mila Kunis as the naive Solara, Ray Stevenson as shifty lackey Redridge, Jennifer Beals as Solara's sweet and vulnerable blind mother Claudia, Evan Jones as the antagonistic Martz, Tom Waits as a jittery engineer, and Joe Pingue as the doltish Hoyt. France de la Tour and Michael Gambon are total hoots as a dotty old cannibal couple. The haunting and moody score by Atticus Ross, Leopold Ross, and Claudia Sarne further enhances the brooding atmosphere. The stunning widescreen cinematography by Don Burgess provides a beautifully bleak bleached-out look. A nice change of pace survivalist sci-fi outing.

Under a witch's spell, 18 January 2017
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Hard-working, but burnt-out composer David Winter (a fine performance by Jon Finch) lives in a secluded farmhouse located in rural England. Things go awry after David falls under the sinister spell of evil witch Lucinda Jessup (a lively and alluring portrayal by Patricia Quinn), who's managed to travel from the 17th century to the present. It's up to David's adulterous wife Mary (well played by Prunella Gee) to save his soul.

Director Don Leaver relates the enjoyable story at quick pace, ably crafts a dandy macabre atmosphere, sprinkles in a bit of tasty female nudity for some extra sizzle, makes nice use of the remote rustic location, and pulls out the stirring stops for the exciting fiery climax. Anthony Read's clever script offers a neat send-up of slasher horror fare in the opening scene and gets a good deal of amusing comic mileage out of Lucinda's fish out of water status when she's introduced to such modern conveniences as electric lights and a flushing toilet. Ian McCulloch provides solid support as concerned shrink Charles. Both James Bernard's spine-tingling score and the polished cinematography by Frank Watts are up to speed. A sturdy premiere episode.

Riding the early 80's slasher rails to certain death and doom, 17 January 2017
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A vengeful mysterious killer (an effectively creepy portrayal by Derek McKinnon) bumps off various medical college students who are celebrating New Year's Eve on board a train.

Director Roger Spootiswoode, working from a compact script by T.Y. Drake, keeps the absorbing story moving along at a snappy pace, builds a good deal of tension and spooky atmosphere, makes excellent use of the novel and claustrophobic train setting, and stages the rousing climactic chase set piece with skill and flair. Moreover, the sound acting by capable cast keeps this movie on track: Jamie Lee Curtis once again registers strongly as a personable final girl as the spunky Alana, Ben Johnson adds a touch of class as amiable and easygoing conductor Carnegie, Hart Bochner smarms it up nicely as obnoxious frat boy ringleader Doc, David Copperfield handles his red herring role as a slightly sinister magician quite well, and Sandee Currie contributes an appealing turn as Alana's perky best gal pal Mitchy. John Alcott's stunning cinematography works wonders with the cramped confines of the train and offers several striking shots of the bleak wintry Canadian landscape. John Mill-Cockel's spirited shivery score hits the shuddery spot. A worthwhile slice'n'dice item.

Lackluster 70's porn clunker, 17 January 2017
3/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A young woman (poorly played by some annoying gal with an irritating whiny voice) stumbles across a sinister sex cult made up of people sporting scorpion tattoos while searching for her missing half sister.

Sound good? Well, it just ain't. This barely hour long hardcore grinder strikes out something fierce due to flat direction (although there are a few laughs to be had from the director giving audible instructions to folks while they go at it hot and heavy!), badly dubbed in groaning and moaning, crude cinematography, rank amateurish acting by a lame no-name cast, and a meandering and uninvolving story that unfolds at a sluggish pace before finally reaching its less-than-stirring conclusion. Worse yet, the women for the most part with the notable exception of a foxy black lady and the slender blonde at the very end are extremely homely and unattractive while the sex scenes are explicit enough, but are crucially devoid of any essential heat and tend to go on for an agonizing eternity. Only the right-on bluesy score and some nice footage of a squalid urban red light district manage to make a favorable impression. Otherwise this one qualifies as a total slog to sit through.

Stryker (1983)
Dumb, but immensely fun 80's post-nuke sci-fi action junk, 16 January 2017
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The beautiful Delha (luscious Andrea Savio) holds the secret to the location of a spring of water in a bleak and violent post-apocalyptic world plagued by drought. It's up to rugged loner Stryker (beefy Steve Sandor in sturdy stoic and two-fisted form) to protect Delha from a bunch of vicious thugs led by the ruthless Kardis (a nicely hateful portrayal by the chrome-domed Mike Lane).

Sure, this flick hasn't much of a plot and the characters are wafer thin, but fortunately director Cirio H. Santiago keeps the enjoyably mindless story moving along at a zippy pace, makes neat use of the desolate desert locations, and stages the lively and exciting action set pieces with considerable go-for-it gusto. Moreover, lots of stuff blows up real good, Savio bares her fabulously full breasts once during a nasty attempted rape scene, and both a tribe of helpful chattering dwarfs and a band of formidable warrior women in leather hot pants are tossed in for good goofy measure. The decent acting from the game cast keeps this movie humming: William Ostrander as the valiant Bandit, Julie Gray as the perky Laurenz, Monique St. Pierre as the fierce Cerce, and Ken Metcalfe as friendly old-timer Trun. Ed Gatchalian's funky-thudding score hits the stirring syncopated spot. Entertaining schlock.

Neat interview, 13 January 2017
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Ian A. Stewart candidly discusses writing the script for the horror cult classic "The Pit." Stewart reveals that he got the idea for the story from two sources: One was a ventriloquist who was doing work with autistic children while the other was a friend who worked with disturbed kids. In addition, Stewart admits that the hole in the ground with the monsters in it came from "Alice in Wonderland." Stewart also points out that the movie's original title was "Teddy" and that the main character was supposed to be eight or nine years old. Stewart further talks about how he thought Sammy Synders was way too old and mature for the role of Jamie and how he had to step in to direct all the scenes involving nudity. Stewart goes on to note that in the original ending certain events in the picture were to be revealed to have taken place only in Jamie's mind and that the movie was initially intended to be an authentic portrait of the mind of a psychotic kid instead of a trashy Grade B horror flick. Worth a watch for fans of the film.

Nunsploitation winner from the ever-twisted Jess Franco, 12 January 2017
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Innocent virginal teenager Maria (an appealing and convincing performance by the comely Susan Hemmingway) gets sent to a convent as penance after she's caught cavorting with a young boy. However, said convent turns out to be a front for a satanic cult.

Director Jess Franco, working from a bold script by Erwin C. Dietrich, offers a flavorsome evocation of the period setting, astutely captures the oppressive atmosphere of the abbey, tackles the edgy blasphemous subject matter head on, makes terrific use of the gorgeously opulent locations, and handles the expected nudity and soft-core sex in a surprisingly tasteful and elegant manner. This film gains considerable dramatic impact from its powerful and provocative central message about the abuse of power and perversion of sacred religious principles. Moreover, the fine acting from the excellent cast further enhances this movie's overall sterling quality, with especially praiseworthy contributions from William Berger as the depraved Father Vincente, Ana Zanatti as the equally wicked Mother Alma, Jose Viana as the fearsome Grand Inquisitor, Herbert Fux as a memorably creepy Satan, and Patricia Da Silva as Maria's timid God-fearing mother. Walter Baumgartner's lush score and Peter Baumgartner's beautiful cinematography are likewise proficient and impressive. Definitely one of Franco's best films from the 1970's.


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