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The Big Bird Cage (1972)
Utter trash but fun!
Utterly stupid film about a bunch of women (all young and beautiful of course) trying to escape from a Philippine prison camp.
Full of gratuitous female nudity and campy dialogue--but it's impossible to take it seriously. Director/writer Jack Hill made it as a spoof and it works. Even an attempted rape was shot as funny! There's even two gay male prison guards which leads to plenty of homophobic jokes and incidents but it was hard to be offended. Also we have the wonderful Pam Grier and Sid Haig playing a loving couple. Stupid, exploitive and chockful of bad acting...but I liked it! Understandably this is a cult movie. NOT for everybody.
King Kong vs. Godzilla (1963)
A STUPID movie! Not even good for laughs!
A pretty laughable movie about Godzilla being released from hibernation and ready to demolish Tokyo. Meanwhile King Kong (who is considered a god on a remote island) is (sort of) recruited to battle him and save Tokyo.
It starts off OK but quickly gets dumber and dumber as it goes along. It has the expected atrocious dubbing which doesn't help matters much. Even worse is King Kong. It's some joker in what has got to be one of the WORST ape suits I've ever seen! I saw it with a friend on TV and were both laughing out loud at how terrible the suit was! When it wasn't laughable it was boring with bad over and under acting! The only real fireworks happen at the end when the two duke it out--but that's only about 10 minutes out of a 96 minute movie. This was aimed at kids and they'll probably love it. All adults stay away!
High Anxiety (1977)
Mild but funny
Mel Brooks' parody of Alfred Hitchcock films. Mel Brooks plays a psychiatrist who goes to work at an institution where the doctors seem crazier than the patients. Then he meets a mysterious woman (Madeline Kahn) whose father is supposedly in the institute but Brooks can't find him.
A tribute to Alfred Hitchcock films with tons of verbal and visual references to them. It's funny and I got a kick out of all the references to Hitchcock films. It's not suspenseful but the jokes were funny and I got a kick out of it. Worth catching if you're a Hitchcock fan.
Kiss Me Kate (1953)
An husband and his ex-wife (Kathryn Grayson, Howard Keel) agree to star in a musical version of "Taming of the Shrew". Naturally everything goes wrong.
A great musical that was (for some reason) a failure at the box office. It was originally in 3-D and has music and lyrics by Cole Porter. The songs are great and the dancing is incredible! Grayson and Keel can sing and are great in their roles and Ann Miller is on hand doing some jaw-dropping dance numbers. The script is sharp and funny and it's all shot in bright Technicolor. I was lucky enough to see this in 3-D multiple times in the 1990s. It's great in 2-D but in 3-D the dance numbers are just unbelievable.
A wonderful unjustly neglected musical.
Indestructible Man (1956)
Not bad combination of police drama and horror movie
Lon Chaney Jr. Plays Charles 'Butcher' Benton a criminal who is double-crossed by his lawyer and others after a robbery where a man was killed. He's sentenced to death but, after he's executed, he's brought back to life. He has superhuman strength and bullets don't hurt him. He sets out to kill the men who double-crossed him. Detective Dick Chasen (Max Showalter) goes after him...but how can he stop him?
Interesting combo of police drama and horror movie. Chasen narrates the entire movie so it seems more like a documentary than a movie. It was made on a very low budget and it shows. Most of the acting is lousy but Chaney and Showalter are good. Also it's fun to see Joe Flynn in a rare dramatic role.
No great shakes but worth seeing.
GREAT ending to a wonderful TV show
The final episode of the TV series "M*A*S*H. The Korean War finally ends and we discover where the various characters are going afterwards. The TV series was a huge hit so they were allowed to have a big sendoff. This episode (with commercials) runs a solid three hours but it's absolutely needed to tie up loose ends and reconnect one last time with the characters. The script is great, the acting on target and despite the length its never dull. I also admit to getting a little misty-eyed at the end. Well worth seeing.
Oscar's Greatest Moments (1992)
Back when the Oscars were FUN!
GREAT documentary showing clips from Oscar telecasts from 1970 to 1991. I started watching back in 1976 when I was 14 and caught every year up until about 2010. The show is now boring and bloated but back then it was fun. Sure it was long but full of great songs, singing, dancing and jaw-dropping costumes! There's lots to like here but my favorite was when Sean Connery, Roger Moore and Michael Caine were all together on stage! Just sit back, relax and enjoy!
Munster, Go Home! (1966)
Silly but I enjoyed it!
Feature film spinoff from the TV series. Herman Munster (Fred Gwynne) finds out he's become lord of Munster Hall in England. Him and the family go to the Hall and have a series of amusing adventures.
VERY silly and G-rated but I enjoyed it. With the sole exception of Debbie Watson as Marilyn all the acting was good and I was giggling at it nonstop. I was a fan on the TV show so seeing the cast in color was a treat. Perfect for kids. So again--silly but enjoyable.
Scary and entertaining
Reporter Carl Kolchak discovers a killer who only kills woman in Chicago may be the original Jack the Ripper recreating his original murders.
Fast, funny and scary. The murders are tame--not shown and no blood or gore. Still the show does its job. Darren McGavin is great as Kolchak and Simon Oakland matches him as his long-suffering boss. I remember seeing this as a kid on TV when I was 12 and having the stuffing scared out of me. As an adult now it doesn't scare me that much but it still works.
Halloween Kills (2021)
Direct sequel to "Halloween" (2018). Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) is in the hospital sufferi0ng from a stab wound she received in the previous film. She believes she has finally killed Michael Myers...but he's alive and slashing his way through Haddonfield.
Good but VERY gory sequel. There are tons of vicious killings that I think went a little too far. On the other hand I liked it. It was great to see some of the original actors back in their roles. Especially fun was seeing Nancy Stephens who was killed by Michael (here and in H2O). Also the acting was great especially by Curtis and Anthony Michael Hall. A worthy if needlessly gory sequel.
The Twilight Zone: Night Call (1964)
Downright terrifying TZ episode
An elderly wheelchair bound woman (Gladys Cooper) on a dark and windy night receives strange and scary phone calls. She soon realizes they're from her boyfriend. The problem is he's been dead for years!
Starts off with a bang with one of the phone calls and slowly builds after that. The phone calls are horrific, the direction assured and Cooper was GREAT in her role! She was a wonderful actress who (sadly) is forgotten today but she was always fantastic in everything she did. This is no exception. It all leads to a tragic ending. I wish they had kept the original short story ending but that was probably too extreme for 1964 TV.
Dark Intruder (1965)
OK movie...but WAY overpraised
This takes place in 1890 San Francisco. A series of vicious murders has been happening with a mystical statue is left next to each of the victims. The police call in Brett Kingsford (Leslie Nielsen) an occult expert to help them. This was originally a pilot for a TV series but no one bought it. So they added some footage to make it a short (59 minutes) but feature length movie and released it theatrically. It LOOKS great--beautiful sets and costumes and plenty of eerie atmosphere. Also Nielsen is great in his role. However the script is heavy-handed and convoluted with some truly questionable plot twists. However it's been praised to the high heavens by many critics. Use your own judgment.
Horrifying Spanish horror film
A beautiful female TV reporter and her cameraman follow a group of firemen on a call. They go to an apartment building where loud screams are heard from an elderly woman's unit. The fireman break into her apartment. She's bleeding and screaming nonstop and attacks them. It seems she's infected and the other residents might be too. Authorities seal off the building allowing no one out and they all have to deal with each other...and the infection.
VERY bloody and gory with good acting. Even better it moves quickly (it's only 78 minutes) and never stops. Very scary and unsettling. It was remade in the US as "Quarantine" in 2008. That's good too but this is better!
La residencia (1969)
Despite the title not really a horror film
Headmistress Madame Fourneau (Lilli Palmer) runs her French boarding school with an iron fist. Her students are going missing one by one. Did they run away or did someone kill them?
Done on a large budget with beautiful settings and costumes this is not really a horror film. It's a strong drama of how the girls in the school cruelly treat each other. The script is good and the acting great. It DOES end on a horrific note which makes little sense but is shocking. So it's a good strong drama.
La isla de la muerte (1967)
Silly but watchable
A group of tourists vacationing in the Mediterranean visit an island occupied by botanist Baron von Weser (Cameron Mitchell). They decide to stay for a few days unaware that the baron has carnivorous plants that feed on blood. It all comes to a bloody end on a dark and stormy night.
It's cheaply done with bad dubbing, a lousy music score, terrible acting and poor special effects but it moves quickly and (for 1967) it's pretty bloody. Also Mitchell's OTT performance is amusing. Worth a look at least once.
Le voyage dans la lune (1902)
Historically important but boring
I saw the color version of this on TCM. A bunch of people go to the moon in a rocket and fight creatures living there. That's it for plot. There are no title cards, everyone wildly overacts and I was bored silly. I'm glad this is available and I realize its historical importance but it's still a dull film.
Guyana: Crime of the Century (1979)
This is a review of the 115 minute directors cur not the 90 minute American cut.
This is a (supposedly) accurate version of the Jonestown tragedy of 1978 where Jim Jones got his followers all to drink Kool Aid spiked with cyanide and commit a mass suicide. This movie changed the names--JIm Jones is now Jim Johnson--who starts his own congregation in the US. He is deeply distrustful of the US and the CIA in particular and moves everybody to Guyana to start a utopian paradise. Unfortunately he treats his followers like slaves and subjects them to mental and physical torture and prevents them from leaving. The US government hears of this and goes to investigate. It all ends tragically.
Despite its reputation for being graphic and gory this film is really tame. How this got an R rating is beyond me--it's PG-13 all the way. No blood, gore or nudity. That doesn't make it a great movie though. Stuart Whitman plays Johnson and he's pretty good. They also got some respected actors--Gene Barry, John Ireland, Joseph Cotten, Yvonne De Carlo, Bradford Dillman--in major roles and they're all pretty good. It's kind of slow and the DVD transfer is crappy with bad sound and faded color. Still it is respectful and scary story of a tragedy that should never have happened.
Family Game Fight (2021)
On one hand I like it--on the other I hate it
Real life married couple Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell each help families compete against each other for cash prizes.
On one hand I like the show. Shepard and Bell are great hosts and the show moves at a quick pace. On the other hand I hate it. The families are TOO energetic--always screaming and yelling. Also most of the games are mean-spirited and seem designed to humiliate the families. One game has the losers continuously being hit in the face with pies. Another has freezing cold ice and water being poured on the losers. One had them all dressed in banana suits! I keep watching because I like Shepard and Bell but the mean-spirited games get on my nerves.
Lesser A&C comedy but OK
In 1920s London two bumbling policeman (A&C) try to capture the evil monstrous Mr. Hyde (stuntman Eddie Parker). In reality he's kind Dr. Jekyll (Boris Karloff) who injects himself to become evil Mr. Hyde. Jekyll also has a young beautiful ward (Helen Westcott) he's watching over and secretly loves. However she meets hunky newspaper man Bruce (Craig Stevens) and plans to marry him. Jekyll gets angry...
OK comedy. The mostly physical slapstick had me smiling and the horror--while REALLY mild--had me spooked a little. It looks great and moves quickly. A&C are OK, Karloff is fantastic, Westcott is beautiful and Stevens is tall, handsome and hunky. Mild but engaging. Perfect for kids. I give it a 5.
VERY disturbing especially for 1963 TV
A young couple (Bradford Dillman, Diana Hyland) move into a big beautiful house in the suburbs. Next door to them is a family with one boy named Eddie (Mickey Sholdar). Turns out Eddie is a seriously disturbed kid who proceeds to terrorize Dillman and Hyland.
I'm really surprised this was made and released to TV in 1963. It's not graphic but the subject matter was pretty strong stuff for its era and at one point an adorable dog is murdered (not shown but you see Dillman's horrified reaction). The psychology behind the boys actions are never fully explored but there's only so much you can do in an hour long TV show. The acting is great especially by Sholdar. Also it's interesting to see a young Ed Asner as Eddie's father. The only debit here is the ending which was way too pat and didn't really resolve anything. Still it's well worth seeing.
War of the Colossal Beast (1958)
Pleasant time waster
Sequel to "The Amazing Colossal Man" (1957). It seems the colossal man (Duncan 'Dean' Parkin) was not killed as believed. He's alive but disfigured, brain-damaged and dangerous. His sister (Sally Fraser) want him captured and rehabilitated...but is this possible? The story is interesting, the acting by Parkin and Fraser is good and it only runs a little over an hour. The special effects are terrible but amusing and the final minute or two are in full color. Fast and fun.
Black Widow (2021)
It was OK--nothing more
Black Widow ( Scarlett Johansson) must deal with a villain from her past and her long-absent family.
LOUD, confusing and far too long. It starts off OK but quickly falls apart and becomes confusing and convoluted. The film is also way too long--it doesn't need to run over 2 hours. There's also tons of CGI at the end--way too much. The acting is OK. In short a long forgettable MCU movie.
Bobbie Jo and the Outlaw (1976)
Good cast but little else.
Bobbie Jo (a young Lynda Carter) is a car hop in a small town who's bored and unfulfilled. Then she meets drifter Lyle (Marjoe Gortner) and falls in love. They run away together and it leads to car chases, murder and shoot-outs.
OK exploitation film. The cast is attractive (and Carter bares her breast a few times), there's plenty of car chases and a few bloody murders here and there. Still I was bored. The film did the same thing again and again and I got bored. Utterly predictable ending too. So it had all the right elements but didn't work.
In the Heights (2021)
I wanted to love this but couldn't
Musical about a bunch of latinos trying to make it in Washington Heights NY. All the songs were great! Everybody could sing and the dancing was incredible full of energy and color. A big production number at a community pool is a jaw-dropper! However there were two big issues--it's too long at 2 1/2 hours and the two leads can't act. Their singing and dancing was great but str8 acting didn't work. That really lessens the film as a whole. So I sort of liked it.
The Undertaker and His Pals (1966)
Watchable but terrible
REALLY stupid horror/comedy. A gang of bikers break into apartments of beautiful young women. They kill them, dismember them and sell them to a local restaurant. Also a local funeral parlor buries the remains...for a price. The plot makes little sense, the acting is bad, the music even worse and it has dime store gore effects. Still it's only 63 minutes and I kept watching (in disbelief). Also the "comedy" in this is terrible. Still it's kind of fun to watch and I was never bored.