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Grace Quigley (1984)
7/10
Right up there with the great "dark comedies" ...........
22 September 2019
Great "black comedies" have one thing in common, great acting. Bud Cort and Ruth Gordon in "Harold and Maude", Paul Bartel and Mary Woronov in "Eating Raoul", George Segal and Ruth Gordon in "Where's Poppa?", Frances Fuller in "Homebodies", and definitely right up there is Katherine Hepburn and Nick Nolte in "Grace Quigley." The deadpan planning of "helping" the elderly "move on" is played perfectly, and Nolte finds Grace's business plan to be quite profitable. In order for "dark comedy" to work it cannot be mean spirited, and "Grace" handles all the arrangements in a very dignified manner. Also, this is the only movie on the Planet that has a car chase with four hearses. Recommended for sure. - MERK
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6/10
Here's what you get ......
22 September 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Gary Busey with lots of screen time in a "good guy" role for a change. Yaphet Kotto is his "Nam" buddy who can fly a bi plane. Seymour Cassel as a corrupt sheriff. Finally, William Smith sporting a mohawk as leader of the biker gang. Throw all these interesting actors into a plot that is so simplistic, it could easily have come out of a comic book. What you get is cartoon like violence that eventually brings Busey and Smith to a showdown. Good thing this final fight is memorable, because up to the finale, Smith has hardly been in the film. The "Shout Factory" DVD has four movies, "Cyclone", Alienator", Exterminator 2", and "Eye of the Tiger". Most definitely, "Eye of the Tiger" is the "cream of the crap", and is recommended as mindless entertainment. - MERK
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Knight Moves (1992)
1/10
Worst of the worst ever ......
19 September 2019
I have no idea how much the shills on this site were paid to write positive reviews for this piece of debris, but believe me they had to be on someone's payroll. There is no story, the killings are totally redundant and create zero interest, and make zero sense. The acting is absolutely pathetic, especially by the Baldwin not named Alec. It's like lets try and wrap this ridiculous script around a chess tournament. Tom Skerritt should be ashamed for lending his name to something that could have been thought up in ten minutes, with flash gun killings, lipstick messages, and boredom beyond belief. I lived with the fast forward button, and still can't stand that I wasted any time on this worst of the worst ever. You have been warned. - MERK
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Crackerjack (1994)
5/10
Dumb but not dull .........
18 September 2019
Serious contender for the so bad it's good sweepstakes. "CrackerJack" is a cliche loaded "Die Hard" clone that despite the straight to video, low budget, bad acting, plastic model blow ups, zero logic script, instant romance, indestructible hero, and on and on, delivers some chuckles because everything is being taken seriously. Christopher Plummer probably wishes he never signed on for this bomb, but he plays his bad guy to the hilt. The rest of the cast appears to be walking through their lines wishing they were somewhere else. There is no point in doing anything here except sitting back expecting bad everything, and marveling at the total ineptitude on display. The film has a touch of gratuitous nudity, a cavern that looks like it was made out of PlayDough, exploding helicopters, exploding areal tram, and an avalanche. If you are in the mood for a good bad movie, you could do a lot worse. - MERK
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A Killer in the Family (1983 TV Movie)
7/10
Manipulation, tension, and tragedy ...............
16 September 2019
Robert Mitchum does an excellent job of manipulating his three sons into breaking him out of prison. Along with another murderer, Stuart Margolin, they follow their escape plan of sneaking into Mexico, using a hand car, on a long forgotten railway. Unfortunately for the fleeing five criminals, it turns out the tracks were long ago torn up for scrap. What follows is a prolonged desert road trip, with constantly changing cars, and constantly changing destinations. A cold blooded murder that is the consequence of one of these car swaps shows the siblings that Mitchum is nothing more than an escaped killer, and they realize their horrifying predicament. Because the sons are presented as sympathetic characters, despite their felonies, the film generates tremendous tension, and is recommended viewing. - MERK
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7/10
Billy Drago and John P. Ryan in the same film ..... Outstanding
14 September 2019
Although it is impossible to take "Delta Force 2 " seriously, there is a compelling reason to sit through the unrealistic mayhem. Actually there are two reasons, Billy Drago and John P. Ryan. Drago as the drug lord is at his whispering nastiest. Ryan meanwhile is the General in charge of a clandestine operation to bring down Drago. This is without question Drago's finest performance, and he has quite a bit of screen time. Ryan has never topped his terrific performance as the evil prison warden in "Runaway Train", but here he also has plenty of screen time, and it is fun to watch him take control of the assault on Drago's fortress. Lost in these two performances is the by the book script, Chuck Norris, and everybody else in the movie. - MERK
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7/10
Goatee or mutton chops ?
13 September 2019
If somehow you could take "Star Wars", and "Idiocracy", and put them in a blender, you would pour out ":Mom and Dad Save the World". Imaginative sets, creative creatures, and Tod Spengo, John Lovitz, are all there on Planet Spengo. Park your brain, and take a trip to the tiniest planet in the universe, ruled by idiots. If "The Rocky Hour Picture Show" could be in outer space, it would be the closest experience to "Mom and Dad Save the World". The outlandish costumes, musical numbers, and general mayhem immerse you in a realm of idiotic fantasy. Some great character actors, including Wallace Shawn contribute to the fun. Oh, and one more thing, never, never, never, never, pick up a light grenade. LOL . - MERK
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7/10
Warning !!! Female viewing is not recommended ................
13 September 2019
Creative deaths teetering on "dark comedy" permeate this Bronson outing. It's Kersey going bonkers after his girlfriend is murdered and her daughter "reunited" with her scumbag father, Michael Parks. Speaking of Michael Parks, he is his usual mumbling intimidating, evil self. In fact it is Parks who drives the film to above average territory, with his cartoon like henchmen buzzing around him. Of course the police are dumbfounded as usual, and of course, all of Bronson's mayhem goes unchallenged by the authorities, but that is what makes the "Death Wish" series so successful. A lone avenger that the average guy can associate with, dishing out his own justice. "Death Wish 5 The Face Of Death" . This movie definitely would not be a good choice for viewing with your wife or girlfriend. - MERK
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6/10
A mixed bag of torture and madness .......
12 September 2019
"Opposing Force", or "Hell Camp" can be divided in half. The first half is honestly quite boring as volunteers for a secret military experiment on P.O.W. torture are degraded and tortured like you have seen in dozens of war films. Only here it lasts for just short of an hour. Anthony Zerbe is the Commander running the "Hell Camp", along with Richard Roundtree. Until Zerbe completely loses it and rapes Lisa Eichhorn, nothing much happens except the usual P.O.W. stuff. The rape sets off a rebellion and escape that turns the movie into a chase in the jungle similar to any "Most Dangerous Game" clone. While the second half is definitely better than the first, everything about "Opposing Force" is so familiar, that it all becomes a "so what". - MERK
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The Late Show (1977)
6/10
Dated detective in a dated movie .....
12 September 2019
Mismatched senior citizen, Carney, and free spirit, Tomlin working to solve a case involving a stolen cat and a dead private eye. The interaction between the two is about what you would expect, in other words friction that wears thin as the film progresses. The real problem is not the acting, but the script. It is confusing, and other than the two leads, character development is lacking. Anytime a movie has to pause numerous times so that action the audience has not seen can be explained as things move along, it is merely a crutch for a weak script. The viewer then is not only grasping to understand, but is losing interest, due to the stopping and starting. "The Late Show" would have been far better if the script was more fully developed. - MERK
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6/10
It's as if the script was an afterthought wrapped around Rodney's one liners .....
11 September 2019
But who cares because, though hit or miss with the jokes, "Meet Wally Sparks" has enough laughs to fill several of today's lame comedy efforts. Rodney Dangerfield cannot be contained with his rapid fire comeback comedy routine, and a loud mouth talk show host suits him perfectly as the ideal outlet for his crass comments. Think adults doing "Animal House", and you will be close to describing this funny film. Lots of cameos add to the fun, with Burt Reynolds especially memorable as Wally's boss and old friend. One thing worth mentioning is that the movie moves quickly from one joke to the next, and thus there are few dead spots. It is also the type of film that gets better with multiple viewings. Recommended. - MERK
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6/10
Six stars for the two stars .... Sybil Danning and a French Poodle ........
10 September 2019
No question that "They're Playing With Fire" . has hot, hot, Sybil Danning at her sexiest of any movie she has done. While it's definitely a "B" movie, Sybil's acting is superior to any other humans in the film. Second place goes to a little white dog. The rest of the cast and especially Eric Brown are simply awful. In order to appreciate what is going on here, the film has to be dissected into parts, rather than judged as a whole picture. The sex scenes are terrific, as Sybil seduces Brown, who just lays there like a dead fish. The Mother / Grandmother scenes are fine, with some welcome humor their strongest point. The dog is cute and way smarter than the script. Speaking of the script, it wanders badly from crime drama, to slasher, to ridiculous. If this had been written as black comedy, and the casting of Eric Brown changed to any functioning actor, the film could have become a "B" movie classic. - MERK
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2/10
Bad , unbelievably bad .............
9 September 2019
Obviously Matt Dillon and James Caan only wanted a vacation in Cambodia. The insurance scam being parlayed into a casino plot is murky and confusing. There is a tremendous language barrier every time a local opens their mouth. The entire film feels like it is covered in dirt from the seedy locations depicted. Throw in some repulsive violence, a romance that goes nowhere, and a parade of quirky characters. I can't believe how many times I wanted to simply give up and hit the eject button, but managed to hang through the surprise ending that made zero sense. You have been warned, "City of Ghosts" is one to avoid, even for fans of Matt Dillon or James Caan. There are much better choices for both actors. - MERK
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5/10
Push a button .... blow it up
8 September 2019
This movie makes very little sense, with it's brainless script. The revenge plot has been seen a thousand times and then some. The big difference is instead of guns to bring down the bad guys, here we have cartoon like explosions. If it weren't for James Woods, Eric Roberts, and Rod Steiger, "The Specialist" would be complete refuse. Woods especially, carries the film, as the smarmy evil enemy of Stallone. Speaking of Stallone, both he and Sharon Stone have a believability factor deficiency of monumental proportions. In fact the entire movie has a believability factor of less than zero. I've seen cartoons that made me think more than this does. Push button, blow it up, push button, blow it up. That's all there is to this "bomb". - MERK
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5/10
A whole lot of holes .....................
6 September 2019
OK, I can tolerate red herrings and plot twists that at least make a little bit of sense. "The Naked Face" plies them higher than a corned beef special, leaving the viewer with a terminal case of indigestion and confusion. I'm sure you might be attracted to this by the cast, which does their best with a seriously disjointed script. Rod Steiger, Art Carney, and Elliott Gould manage to create interest in their characters. Roger Moore sleep walks throughout the entire film, and his performance is a real yawn. The music is one plus, but the bright spots are overwhelmed by gaping holes in the script, especially regarding motivation for all the mayhem. Unless you are a serious admirer of Steiger, Carney, or Gould, do yourself a favor and skip this one. Bottom line, "The Naked Face" has a whole lot of holes in the script. - MERK
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Quicksand: No Escape (1992 TV Movie)
7/10
Donald Sutherland shines in a clever script ....
4 September 2019
Like a giant leech, blackmailer, Donald Sutherland, latches on to Tim Matheson, sucking him dry of cash. Seems Matheson's wife had hired private eye, Sutherland, to spy on her husband, and when Matheson accidentally kills a crooked cop things rapidly spiral out of control. The clever plot is easy to follow, and piles on layer after layer of misery for Matheson. Eventually, he can't take any more and hatches a plan of revenge. "Quicksand No Escape" is a true hidden gem of a film, with it's devilishly intriguing plot, strong despicable villain, and sympathetic hero. I am definitely pounding the table for this rarely seen movie, as it is "pure gold" for fans of either actor and those that admire a script that will keep you guessing. - MERK
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6/10
Do not try and find meaning in this totally bananas film ....
3 September 2019
Because there is none. "Seven Hours to Judgement" is a completely off the rails nightmare, and if you had dreamed this, you definitely would have awakened in a sweat. Beau Bridges is constantly running away from a nice assortment of seedy characters, as he to obtain evidence that could save his kidnapped wife. The kidnapper is a totally unhinged Ron Leibman. The movie moves so quickly, you might be tempted to overlook the disbelief factor, but I doubt you will. There are so many lapses in logic that they completely swamp any sense of reality or meaning . Nevertheless, any Ron Leibman performance is worth seeing, and this is certainly Ron Leibman's most bizarre character of all time. The film would best be described as a blend of "After Hours", and "Frauds", and is entertaining enough as long as you cast logic down the drain. - MERK
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The Seven-Ups (1973)
8/10
Roy Scheider and Richard Lynch = Great movie ......
2 September 2019
Something different in an action movie, nice character development, exciting story, fine acting, and best of all, Roy Scheider and Richard Lynch in the same film. Rarely do the stars come together where you get not only a tough as nails detective in Scheider, but one of the all time nasty villains with Richard Lynch. Even if "The Seven Ups" didn't have the greatest car chase ever, the movie would still be cinema gold. Holding Mafia types for ransom is an original idea, and when one of the kidnappings goes terribly wrong, and one of the "Seven Ups" is killed, this unleashes Scheider, and his manic pursuit follows. There is no distracting romance, just solid action, and the film delivers entertainment in spades. Highly recommended. - MERK
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6/10
Woody Allen's influence is obvious ......
2 September 2019
There is no denying that Robert Sacchi has his Humphrey Bogart impersonation nailed cold. He was outstanding in Woody Allen's "Play it Again Sam" (1972), and I believe that experience has carried through to "The Man With Bogart's Face". (1980) . There are some one liners in "The Man With Bogart's Face" that sound very "Woodish". The movie itself features Sacchi and his wonderful Bogart impersonation as private eye Sam Marlow, He is involved with at least a bunch of shady characters and cases. There is no shortage of beautiful women however, buzzing around the "bogus Bogart". Perhaps the weakest part could be the storyline, which is confusing at times. Nevertheless you will be so fixated on all the perfect Bogart mannerisms, that you will hardly notice. - MERK
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5/10
Monster Zero isn't the only zero in this film. .....
29 August 2019
This Godzilla film is a testament as to why the C.G.I. dumbing down of movie making is ruining creativity. The script, if you can even call it that is totally unacceptable from any angle. Zero character development, zero logic, zero interest, equals maximum indifference and boredom for the suffering audience. Characters we know nothing about in a cartoon like script that makes no sense. This movie is a perfect example of self indulgent mayhem that goes on and on and is meaningless. Unrealistic everything, with a truly annoying performance from fourteen year old Millie Bobby Brown. In short, this is well over two hours of punishment to watch a half hour of actual monster battles. A real zero of a film. - MERK
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Brubaker (1980)
5/10
Sometimes factual = boring ........
27 August 2019
As prison movies go, I'm sure "Brubaker" might have enough facts to make a compelling story. Unfortunately the execution borders on tedious. There are way too many trustees, and these characters are unsatisfactorily developed. Robert Redford as the warden severely lacks excitement, and thus the main character's boring performance sets the stage for long periods of nothing much happening. For viewers seeking an action packed prison film, look elsewhere for certain. This might have played best as a docudrama on the "History Channel", but for entertainment it lacks impact. Liberals will undoubtably find something to like, but that's why "Brubaker" fails to impress, because it comes across more as a statement than entertainment. - MERK
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5/10
Lot's of problems ......
24 August 2019
A fine understated performance from Roy Scheider cannot overcome the plot contrivances that sink this pseudo Hitchcock murder mystery. The first three quarters of the film drag. One of those type movies where you hang around hoping for a bang bang conclusion. While the finale here is actually the best part of "Still of the Night", what precedes it borders on boring. This is brought on not only by the slow pace, but quite a bit of second hand explaining from the characters about how the past fits into the present. Might as well be reading a book if motivations are constantly having to be explained. Then there are the obvious plot holes regarding how someone knew that someone would happen to be at a certain place at a certain time. For Roy Scheider completests only. - MERK
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6/10
I have this theory about great bad pictures .....
23 August 2019
Everything has to go exactly perfect in the bad department to produce a true epic of bad. Such perfection obviously struck a home run with "Terror in Beverly Hills". Bad script, check, bad director, check, bad acting, check, over dub all dialog, check, washed up name actors on board, check, overkill Pepsi product placement to pay for the atrocity, check, gratuitous nudity, check. Now stir this awfulness up and hope what emerges from the cinema sludge is not just bad, but great bad. "Terror in Beverly Hills" hits all of the above great bad qualifications, and thus can take it's rightful place along side what I consider to be Oscar material bad cinema, "Mighty Peking Man". Pepsi must be extremely proud to sponsor such greatness, with product placements everywhere. Cameron Mitchell is a standout here, and acts like he never even read the script while he totally improvises his Police Captain character. It's also possible he was paid per F. bomb he drops, or the inept director just said "surprise me" with your performance - MERK
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6/10
Roy Scheider execution photographer .......
23 August 2019
When a death row inmate requests his execution be photographed, Roy Scheider as the chosen photo journalist uncovers incriminating photographs from the trial, that may prove the convicted man's innocence. The story line is somewhat confusing. This is probably due to the fact that most of the participants in the original crime are dead or missing. Thus a lot of the movie consists of speculation talking about characters that have zero development. There is also a totally unnecessary romance between Schneider and Bonnie Bedelia that slows things to a crawl on several occasions. As usual Schneider is very good, but the story lacks impact because of all the second hand talk regarding a seven years ago event. - MERK
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Watchers (1988)
6/10
Fast moving with a deranged Michael Ironside ........
22 August 2019
I have not read the book, nor do I care to. What I like about "Watchers" is that it's different from the usual slasher, doesn't lose momentum by over exposing the bigfoot, and is for the most part good entertainment. Michael Ironside is his wonderful deranged self, and the Golden Retriever is very lovable. There are a few nice surprises and although logic does fly out the window, things move along at such a frantic pace, plot holes be damned. There is also a nice assortment of peculiar characters among the victims. I found the story to be intriguing, and way beyond the common horror script. I say this, compared to most, "Watchers" is not only different, it is above average entertainment. Oh yes and it most definitely has the Ironside factor going for it. - MERK
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