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B.S. I Love You (1971)
With so much denigration by those who've posted comments, I felt it was time for someone who likes the movie to post something.
I saw it in the theatre in 1971 and came away feeling like I'd seen something special. Now, I was already quite a fan of Peter Kastner for his wonderful performance in 1966's 'You're a Big Boy Now', so it's quite possible my liking of him coloured my critical thinking.
But I don't think so. I liked it a lot - in fact, I like the counter-culty free-sex vibe of so many movies from those magic years 1970 and 1971. And apparently there's a reviewer with the New York Times (Howard Thompson) who found it to be as delightful as I did.
Peter Kastner was a very likable young man. He was capable of expressing many emotions in a really charming way. He should have become a better-known actor.
The Pit and the Pendulum (1991)
Why Was the Baker a Super-Hero?
Torquemada and he Spanish Inquisition. Okay.
We have here a story of a baker and his wife who have the bad fortune to be noticed by the Torquster. But, the baker? It seems a little odd that he'd be impervious to the pain of torture (the fire chair scene), not to mention being capable of taking on a whole host of guards in true Batman style.
On a slightly different topic, how come the witches turned out to be actual witches with the power of telepathic communication?
For a history-based horror movie, it's got a lot of modern nuance, know what I mean.
Freddy vs. Jason (2003)
Um, about the concept....
Freddy Krueger is a cruel clown and is always a ton of fun to listen to. Jason Vorhees is a personality-less, lumbering death dispenser in the Michael Myers mold. So, as Freddy is the more imaginative and entertaining of the two it's not surprising that he would be the instigator of their return to active status or that he would assume the bossy position.
This assumption of the position of boss and the casting of Jason as a mindless assistant of sorts sets up the inevitable clash indicated in the title. But there's one huge problem right from the start - we are told near the beginning that Jason's strength is that he cannot die. No matter how much slashing, slicing and dicing, eyeball ripping, heart tearing Freddy lays on - and he does - the victory cannot be won. Half way through the movie we're reminded of that very notion by Freddy himself when, after thrashing Jason severely, Freddy utters the frustration "why won't you die?".
This removes all interest in the conflict between the two. It's boring when you know that one of the two can't die and therefore there can only be one outcome - Freddy will lose in spite of being the greater evil. And make no mistake about that, he is the greater evil. Jason may kill teens without hesitation but he's almost merciful in his quick dispatchings compared to the tortures in which Freddy relishes.
I had the same bored sense of futility when I watched Superman II many years ago and Super was battling the three Krypton criminals. No matter how many buildings they'd drop on each other's heads, nobody was gonna be hurt by any of it. And so all that action was boring.
However, this movie does have some nice reminiscent set pieces - lots of homage-ey representations of the two series, so if you're a fan of either you should enjoy those.
But there's no real sense of wonderment or anticipation. The action between the two monsters becomes flat and unexciting because of the parameters revealed to us.
That Freddy, though. What a hoot. He does love to talk, doesn't he.
Hot Rods to Hell (1967)
Republican Family Harassed by Republican Punks
Clearly, everyone in this is a Republican. Republicans aren't cool. They're even less cool when they think they're cool. The dangerous youths of this beauty are clearly that. Lots of money for souped up wheels and Today's Teen clothing.
I was an 18 year old usher when I was forced to watch this every night for a week at work. I'd just turn my head and look incredulously at my co-workers night after night. What the hell is this? I'd say. We're supposed to be afraid of these kids? In the past year we'd run 'The Wild Angels', 'The Devil's Angels' and 'The Incident'.
Stupid, stupid presentation of menace. A Republican presentation. Should have starred Ozzie and Harriet - now that would have given the movie something to really enjoy. I loved those Nelsons.
The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996)
Critically Pummelled Entertainment
Most people seem to dismiss it, if not hate it. Certainly the critics. But. really - we get a Brando performance that again displays his long-held dismissal of Hollywood-ism, we get Val Kilmer hamming it up joyously (even to the point of repeatedly doing Brando impressions), we get David Thewliss (a damn fine actor) actually playing the most important character with admirable commitment, we get cat-eyed Fairuza Balk (yum!), we get the great Ron Perlman, playing a beast yet again, pretty much stealing the movie, we get something that is Dr. Moreau's constant companion, becoming a pop-culture icon thanks to South Park - as Chef puts it "what the hell are you supposed to be? You don't look like anything". Outstanding photography, effective tropical suggestibility (you can almost feel the humidity), excellent animal make-up, some truly memorable scenes (the birthing scene, the Hyena-Moreau confrontation) and even a sense of philosophical examination. And though the story of this insane scientist attempting to humanize animals has been done several times, only this one goes to the extreme of showing us that he's even created a bunch of tiny rat people! What a loon. Too much enjoyment for a movie so slammed.
The Twilight People (1972)
Before Anyone Had A VCR
It's hard to imagine a world where all the stations you could watch would 'end their broadcast day' if you're too young to have lived it. That's the world where this movie was great as a late-night treat that aired very rarely. I only saw it the one time and forget the story completely but its images remain in my memory. I knew it was a cheap, bad movie when I was watching but my reaction ranged from bored to bemused to fascinated. Additionslly, there was invoked a sweet nostalgia from seeing John Ashley headlining a movie. I'd watched that guy battle mostly black and white monsters since I was 8 years old. I saw this movie when I was 26.
It's a new world now and there's no reason to recommend this movie anymore. But I liked it and would sit through it again.
The Plunderers (1960)
Juvenile delinquency was a very hot topic in the late fifties and early sixties. The new scourge of civilization, rock and roll, had transformed the younger generation into rebels who wanted to cast off the repressive rules by which they were expected to conduct themselves. The burgeoning post-war economy was removing the fear that had formed so much of the older generation's embracement of responsibility and the ever-quickening pace of materialistic progress was making any prospect of boredom anathema to the young.
This certainly didn't go unnoticed by the establishment who were understandably alarmed by what appeared to be a rise in youthful disrespect and hedonism and the war of the generations was taken fairly seriously for a while. Hollywood quickly realized that this was a very sexy and saleable topic for entertaining the masses and began churning out dramas of rebellious youth by the boatload. By 1960 (the year this film was released) these rebellious youth movies were becoming pretty repetitive as far as contemporary settings went, so it was a darned good idea to take the issue and transfer it to a different time - the old west.
It worked rather well, I think. Westerns tend to be fairly simple story lines for the most part anyway, so bringing an aspect of modern juvenile delinquency into the western was novel enough to spice up both tired genres a little. I watched it on the late show when I was on a baby-sitting gig and it made my night. Held my interest all the way and I enjoyed repeated viewings of it over the next couple of years.
It's well acted by all. John Saxon has a great time playing the quietest but most dangerous gang member and Jeff Chandler gets to be a bad-tempered hero. As a small and relatively simple movie with a social message geared to the time of its release it's not really an 8 now, but I think it deserves a little better rating than it has here so I've given an extra point or two to help raise the average and I don't think that's the wrong thing to do at all. It's a decent piece of entertainment.
Dances with Wolves (1990)
Not A Second Time
I first saw Dances shortly after the academy bestowed it with honors and I enjoyed it very much. I've long been aware of the shameful history of the raping of the indigenous peoples. Read many books on the subject. So, this movie touched me where I lived, and it was easy for me to relate to the Costner character and the sentiment expressed. I thought it was an excellent movie.
Problem is, I tried to watch it again a few years back and I couldn't. Had to turn it off. When Costner spreads his arms out wide and prances back and forth, eyes closed, before an array of rifles firing at him and not able to hit him the thought came to me that 'this is bullshit'. Why didn't I notice how bogus this was the first time I saw it? (Actually, I did but kept watching as I'd paid good money). I guess it's supposed to signal to the viewer that this is a very special man - protected by some mystical force.
Then, a while later in the film, Costner is living alone on the frontier and along comes a wild wolf that, again I guess drawn by some mysticism inherent in Costner's character, doesn't remain true to its wildness but becomes a playmate (pet) to Costner. And again came the thought 'bullshit'.
Now, I know that the movie is gonna get better (I have seen it before and there's 'indians' coming) but I'm out of the film now because, apart from these incongruous scenes, Costner is boring me to tears. The fact is, he always bores me to tears. He's a very boring actor. A boring personality with a bland look. Why isn't this movie in the top 250? I think I know why.
No point in going on about it. After reading four solid pages of 'greatest movie of all time' comments this one's bound to go to the back with lots of 'no' votes and I'm sorry to offend, but:
good movie once - stupid movie twice. Kevin Costner is an overblown bore of an actor and his continually declining popularity is due to people realizing it as they revisit his filmography.
The Fastest Gun Alive (1956)
Today Gandolfini Would Play Crawford's Part
So many complaints about Broderick Crawford being too fat to be a fast gun. Common mistake. People always underestimate just how quick a large man can move in short bursts. While admittedly looking a little too well-fed for an outlaw constantly on the run, Broderick Crawford plays Vinnie Harold as belligerent and humourless a personality as has ever existed and is a delight to listen to in the role. His gruff, no nonsense barks make the movie. From his very first scene, the similarly hefty and frightful Tony Soprano was brought to mind.
Along with 'The Blackboard Jungle', this mid-fifties feature captures Glenn Ford at the peak of his form and popularity. He's well built for this part and has a convincing walk and stance when wearing his gun. Generally a lightweight actor, this was a good vehicle for him and was probably one of his fondest professional memories.
As for the film itself, it's fairly entertaining though the morality play aspect of it and the somewhat overblown pontificating in the church is a little tiresome. The gunfighting scenes are the second best content (after Crawford's nastiness). The most convincing acting is the short sentence spoken by Jeanne Crain - 'I've seen them before'. Russ Tamblyn's dance is a very impressive thing to see but shouldn't be in the movie. It really dates the film and pretty near takes you right out of it.
So, a mixed bag - but I've seen it 3 times now, twice as a young teen of about 14 and today as an old man of 59. Give it a try at least once
Revenge of the Creature (1955)
Expendable Chapter - for kids only
Yes, I liked this movie as a kid in the mid-fifties. What's not to like about a monster movie when you're a kid? But, as an adult, I have to appraise movies with a little more honesty in terms of overall artistry as well as entertainment value and this one is painfully short of either. The original feature to which this sequel pertains - Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954) - holds up wonderfully well to this day. In addition to originality of both creature and story, it has going for it some beautiful photographic moments that seem to remain in one's mind forever; a lot of true suspense in the story-flow; believable acting with acceptably intelligent dialogue; and perhaps most importantly, dream-inducing Freudian undercurrents involving males, prehistoric creatures and the delicious Julia Adams (who, for my money, remains one of the most entrancing beauties in film history - in that movie!).
This sequel attempts to hit the marks of the first while adding a couple of pat b-movie clichés (parked necking teens, stampeding frightened people with your standard fallen child, sacrificial canine protector, fainted carried in arms beauty). But it's just weak. No Adams, Richard Carlsons or Dennings, no Whit Bissels in this one. John Agar never could act his way out of a paper bag and Lori Nelson is as gifted as he in that respect. The trite, contrived script shows little imagination. Even the ending shot of the creature is taken from the first movie - how cheap can ya get? The creature is always kind of fun to watch of course, and when he's on-screen we tend to be happy about it. His struggles with his leg chain is perhaps the most worthy use of underwater photography, as is the completely-copied-from-the-first-film swimalong. But there's just no suspense this time. The humans are unconvincing and utterly boring - as is their dialogue. Their 'scientific' motives feel completely false (ostensibly capturing the creature to 'study' they immediately turn him into a seaworld attraction and begin training him).
And then there's the creature himself. He sounds the same as before but something has been lost in his ferociousness from the original - and that something is SIZE. For example, in the scene of walking the creature around to revive him, the guy doing the walking is as big and maybe bigger than the monster. Or so it looked to me. The legs of the thing are positively skinny to boot. When one thinks of the hulking example he'll be in the next chapter (when he becomes 'humanized') this incontinuity of appearance is a real weakness. Another thing that struck me wrongly was the way he was repeatedly fought off by his human combatants under water while being strong enough to almost effortlessly flip over an automobile. You'd think he'd be weaker out of the water (where, we're told, he can live only a few minutes) and much tougher than humans when in his natural environment. But I guess I'm just a spoilsport.
It's unfortunate that the next chapter in the series was a box-office dud undoubtedly due to viewer disappointment with this well-attended sequel. 'The Creature Walks Among Us' (1956) is a thoughtful (and thought-provoking), imaginative sequel (no carrying around of women in that one). This chapter can be dispensed with completely and the story arch loses absolutely nothing. A double feature night that comprises 1 and 3 is all the creature you need and all that really deserves to be libraried