Reviews written by registered user
|264 reviews in total|
Wow, this film could really have been something special, if it wasn't for the unfortunate, fatal error in casting the lead. The story of a 19 year old sociopath who takes his 15 year-old girlfriend on a wild killing spree circa 1950's, complete with vintage cars and 50's fashions; it could be a cult film today. Why they cast this actor, Russ Fast, to play the lead, is a complete mystery. The actor is easily in his 30's, and his attempts at acting like a teenager come across as clumsy and silly. He's not particularly good looking, and has zero charisma. How is an audience supposed to believe that this beautiful and smart young girl would be swept away by this loser? It wouldn't be a problem if he wasn't the MAIN character, who is in EVERY frame of the movie. It's a real missed opportunity, because most everything else in this film works really well.
Another reviewer complained that this wonderful, moody and atmospheric film about heroin addiction was too "dreary.." I have to laugh at some of the comments I read here. New York City, circa 1958; a heroin kingpin sets up shop, and sets himself up in a posh penthouse apartment on Riverside Drive. His customers are mostly kids, many of them Puerto Rican immigrants looking to find their place in a new city, and they get hooked on the smack that Mario supplies them. Things start to get out of control when a Police Lieutenant's daughter gets hooked, while working at a shady nightclub in Midtown. The pusher himself, played by Felice Orlandi, is suitably sleazy and heartless, as he feeds off of the young people in the area, making himself rich while destroying their lives in the process. This film is remarkably realistic in it's depiction of both the business aspect and the addiction aspect of the drug culture. Beautifully filmed in shadowy, stark black and white, with New York City on display in all it's old time glory. Of course it's "dreary," and seedy, and downbeat. This title is very rare and i imagine a copy must be a real collectors item. It reminded me of the New York beat/jazz scene described in Kerouac's "On the Road," so much so, that I half expected William Burroughs to appear in one of those seedy Times Square bars shown in this film. This is a wonderful, lost movie that should be easier to find. Similar to "Hatful of Rain," another early 60's NYC heroin movie, although this one is better. "The Pusher" would make a great double feature with "Who Killed Teddy Bear," which is another 1960's study of the seedy underbelly of New York's times Square scene. A lost gem...
This is not the hilarious, silly exploitation freak-show that the distributor of this decent crime thriller would have you believe. The actual title of the film is "Gun Fighter," and not the silly "Mr. No Legs." The story involves a drug smuggling ring down in Florida, where corruption and disloyalty runs rampant. There is a guy they call 'No Legs,' who is anything but a clown being played for laughs. He is actually a sadistic assassin, who seems to derive great pleasure out of torturing and killing whoever gets in his way. He has these automatic machine guns built into the arms of his wheelchair, and the whole thing is quite surreal and over-the-top. The guy reminded me of Dennis Hopper as Frank Booth from "Blue Velvet;" yes, he was that ruthless and deranged. In fact he is kind of a sick bastard. I notice a lot of people search out this oddball film, hoping for some laughs, but it isn't nearly as silly as the packaging suggests. What you will get instead, is a mildly interesting crime thriller about a drug smuggling deal that goes wrong. Most of the acting was pretty decent, and it was nice to see the familiar faces of Lloyd Bochner and Beau Hopkins in such an obscure production. I do think it's a shame that the distributor felt the need to re-name it with such a silly title. If they used the real title, "Gun Fighter," it might have reached a larger audience. Recommended for fans of 70's crime films and oddball Grindhouse productions..
Although made in 1977, this turgid mess of a film has the look and feel of a cheap, Golan Globus or Cannon movie from the cheesy 80's. We get a tired revenge tale, that is mind-numbingly boring and convoluted, and it seems like whoever made this thing was aware of that..so they added a lot of cheap, bloody violence in an effort to keep up interest. The look of "Sudden Death" is ugly and amateurish as well, and time has not been kind to this deservedly forgotten drivel. But I must give it credit for featuring the absolute WORST acting i have EVER seen in a movie before, and that includes the indie Blaxploitation movie "The Man From Harlem," which is honestly a MUCH better film than this one. At least that movie is fun to watch. Everyone involved in this mess looked absolutely mortified to be in it. I don't usually trash movies, but when i saw all the people actually PRAISING this crap, i had to even out the scales a bit. If you want to see a GOOD revenge thriller, skip "Sudden Death" and search out "Get Carter" starring Michael Caine; trust me, your brain will thank you for it...
This sequel to the amazing 1979 prison drama "Penitentiary," is so
unbelievably bad, that it damages the integrity of the original.
"Penitentiary 2" has none of what made the first movie so good.
Character development has been replaced with cartoon caricatures, smart
humor has been replaced with toilet jokes, and any serious dramatic
elements have been completely removed. Even the title is ridiculous;
"Penitentiary 2" makes no sense because this is not even a prison film!
It's just a cash-in on a very successful cult classic, that was loved
both by audiences and critics.
This movie has Martel "Too Sweet" Gordone out of prison, and back on the streets. His parole requires him to continue boxing, as well as to stay out of trouble. That's not happening if "Half Dead" has anything to do with it. Too Sweet's nemesis from the first film has broken out of prison, and is on a mission to kill Too Sweet at any cost. Unfortunately, the characters that were so likable in the first film, are the opposite here. The original actor who played "Half Dead,", Badja Djola, had moved onto bigger productions, and smartly decided to stay far away from this mess. Actor Ernie Hudson takes on the role, and he plays the character as a one dimensional bad guy and it's boring. There isn't even an attempt at continuity with the writing; director Jamaa Fanaka replaces the likable, unforgettable character of "Seldom Seen" with a different actor, who portrays him as a gold chain-wearing jerk, who is only concerned with getting pussy. Any fan of the first film knows that character as a refined old guy, who listened to jazz and had a collection of classic literature in his prison cell..and that he had NO interest in the shallow, base vices of the outside world. In this way, P2 actually insults the first film. Aesthetically speaking, the difference is also extreme. While the first film had a nice, 70's vintage, independent movie style, this one looks like a cheap, tacky 80's nightmare. It's really amazing how different things looked in 1982, from just 3 years earlier. I think one problem comes from both the director, and Leon Isaac Kennedy, having become a bit jaded from their success. The innocence and humble, down to earth feel of the first movie has been replaced with an obnoxious, pessimistic energy. I love "Penitentiary" and think of it as one of the best prison movies of all time. That is why I hate this sequel. It is an insult to something great..
You will never see a more realistic portrayal of life in prison, than in this absolutely brilliant film from 1979. Raw, gritty, seedy, violent and desperate; this is the world that Martel Gordone (Leon Isaac Kennedy) is thrown into when he is caught in "the wrong place at the wrong time." In an environment of violent, and sometimes insane men, and no women, the new inmates must prove themselves quickly, or become someone's "boy." Prison politics are explored realistically in this unbelievably entertaining prison tour-de-force, as we get to know some unforgettable characters; 'Half Dead,' the insane alpha monkey, missing half his teeth and half his mind, with a desire to dominate everyone around him. He is the cellmate of Martel "Too Sweet," who must fend off this human tornado in a jaw dropping, claustrophobic fight to the death in a small prison cell. In order for Too Sweet to survive, he joins the prison boxing club, and meets up with 'Seldom Seen,' a white haired old-timer who, after spending 50 plus years inside, has completely given up on the outside world. 'Seldom' becomes his trainer. Too Sweet also befriends Eugene 'Genie' Lawson, a younger "newbie" whose integrity is also threatened, and who must also prove his strength and worth. This boxing club and this prison is filled with some of the most unforgettable people you will ever see. The character development in "Penitentiary" is so strong, that you will feel like you know these guys personally, to the point where you care about their fates. Director Jamaa Fanaka achieves a perfect balance of jaw dropping action/fight sequences, hilarious comedy, drama that is sincere and realistic, and then adds an element of surreal atmosphere that is hard to describe. There is another great prison film that is considered a genre classic; Jonathon Demme's WIP outing "Caged Heat." Well, "Penitentiary" is the "bastard half-brother" of that movie. It is also one of the finest independent films ever made; this is true, renegade film-making. I cannot recommend it enough, to fans of prison films, cult films, art-house or movies in general.
What a shame that the distributors billed this fascinating Grindhouse
classic as a splatter film; "I Dismember Mama" is not the original
title of this obscure gem, and it is a misleading title as well, as
nobody gets 'dismembered.' This is the story of a paranoid
schizophrenic, who has been committed to a private asylum. Albert is
convinced that all women are whores, and that the world must be
cleansed of the evil that they bring. After sexually attacking a nurse
and cutting the throat of an orderly, Albert escapes and returns to his
childhood home, in search of his mother, who is his main obsession. He
doesn't find her. He does find the 12 year old daughter of his mother's
friend, and becomes convinced that little Annie should become his
bride, as she is the only truly "pure" female left in the world.
This movie is something that could have only been made in the glorious 1970's, cinema's most notorious decade for rule breaking and boundary pushing themes and images. "I Dismember Mama" aka "Poor Albert and Little Annie" is a must for fans of the "grindhouse" films of the 70's. It has it all; extreme fashions and hairstyles, bizarre music, and a truly twisted story. The seedy, low budget production is rich with atmosphere, and a feeling of dread permeates the film from beginning to end. The subject matter is sure to make certain viewers a bit uncomfortable, but then so do many of the best movies. Sadly it is very difficult to find a watchable copy of this movie, but it is worth tracking down. I'm kind of surprised that it doesn't have more of a cult following. Recommended; along the lines of "The Baby" and "Toys Are Not for Children," other films about bizarre sexual deviations.
Because of the subject matter, I was expecting an artless 'Made for TV'
cautionary tale on the subject of anorexia. But this is actually a
beautifully filmed, completely involving story about a 14 year old girl
who discovers an online site that promotes anorexia. Sadly there are
such sites on the internet, where anorexics and bulimics can chat with
each other, and "support" each others addictions. Annabelle starts to
unravel under the pressure of being class President, while maintaining
perfect grades. In fact, the girl seems to be obsessed with perfection,
and when her mother leaves her and her dad, who seems to have little
time for his daughter, Annabelle begins a dark and dangerous online
friendship with a girl named Aly. This girl runs a website that
promotes the slogan "Thinner is the Winner." Pushing such ideas as
"only empty is pure," and "not happy, not sad, just perfect," Annabelle
sees this as an alternate way to reach "perfection."
So what makes this movie miles better than some run-of-the-mill Lifetime TV movie? First off, the main actress, Karlee Roberts is mesmerizing as Belle; she has these huge, expressive eyes, and facial expressions that so perfectly translate all the terror and confusion in this girl's life. It's hard to take your eyes off her. She seems so frail that she might just break at any moment, but she continues her charade bravely, with this smile on her face that shows all the fear and confusion behind the mask. Also, the supporting cast is perfect as well; her friends and her boyfriend are all utterly believable as typical 14 year old kids. For once we have actors the same age as the roles they are playing, and not 18 year old's playing 14 year old's. For a film like this, using actors this young makes it so much more intense, and disturbing. Finally I have to mention the technical aspects. This movie is GORGEOUS. Shot in 2;35 widescreen, which is almost unheard of for a film like this, the director somehow achieves this amazing ethereal "glow" throughout the film. It looks like they used this 'vaseline-covered lens' technique that they used in movies from the 30's and 40's. Everything looks dreamy and has a gold tint. The wardrobe department even deserves a mention for the pretty clothes the girls are always wearing.
"Little Miss Perfect" at times borders on horror, when Belle begins to see herself as a kind of monster when she looks in the mirror. For some reason it reminds me of the film "Black Swan." There is even a shocking twist towards the conclusion that had my jaw on the floor. Anyway I'm so happy to have stumbled upon this powerful film, purely by accident. I absolutely recommend this for kids and parents of kids this age. I can't recall a better film on the subject of eating disorders.
I have seen other films of Teruo Ishii, including his torture films like "Orgies of Edo," which I liked immensely. This Yakuza genre film however, lacks the artistic merits of those other films. It also lacks a coherent or interesting story-line, offering only cheap and ugly gore effects. There are actually 3 stories told in one film, which is the same formula Ishii used for "Orgies of Edo." Unfortunately the stories were so insipid and uninteresting that I couldn't tell when the first one ended and the second began. This film really has nothing to offer, and it is the worst film of it's kind that I have seen. It is a waste of time.
Heavily influenced by the French New Wave in style, this is a sordid outing concerning a young ladies man, who is working as a pimp for a corrupt older woman, bringing her girls to use in her private sex shows. Incredibly stylish black and white photography elevate this film to art house status. Featuring an amazing late 60's jazz soundtrack, this strange film sometimes resembles early Godard, and it's dark, moody style at times brings to mind "Night of the Living Dead." Highly recommended for film buffs, and also for fans of late 60's 'Beat Jazz.' I was only able to find "The Bite" in an English dub, but even in this form, the movie retains it's haunting, hypnotic aura.
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