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Dollar for the Dead (1998 TV Movie)
5/10
Slow-mo spaghetti ........
20 October 2019
This "spaghetti western" wannabe is long on style, and short on story, with mixed up casting. The action scenes are so stylized with slow motion and cartoon like violence that any impact is completely lost. Emilo Estevez is severly miscast as the mysterious stranger. He certainly lacks the mystique of Clint Eastwood, and his sidekick, William Forsythe is no Eli Wallach. The greatest strength of "Dollar For the Dead" is in the supporting cast, but they are criminally underused, and barely have any screen time. Ed Lauter is a fine character actor, and he outshines Emilio Estevez in every scene they share. Jonathan Banks barely has any lines at all. When the only one in the entire movie who comes close to nailing true laconic "spaghetti western" acting is Howie Long, you know you have a problem. - MERK
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8/10
A freeeloader and a "Beaner" = best buddy cop film ever ..........
19 October 2019
Most buddy cop films are just that, a pair of mismatched boys in blue in pursuit of an evil bad guy. "Freebie and the Bean" has a bad guy, however he is neither important or particularly bad. What is important about this movie is not the story itself, it is all about James Caan and Alan Arkin's deadpan humor while crashing police cars . There certainly have been longer police chases. There certainly have been more crashed vehicles. There never has and never will be a more hilarious chase than in "Freebie and the Bean". The chemistry between Caan and Arkin seems so natural, that it can't all have ben scripted. So forget plot inconsistencies and take a ride with the best buddy cop film ever. Highly recommended. - MERK
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2/10
What a waste ..............
17 October 2019
Long and tedious would best describe this VIctorian caper film. Donald Sutherland and Sean Connery are trapped in one of the most boring scripts ever. It takes perhaps over half the film to secure the keys necessary for the train robbery. During all this tedium one has to listen to pathetic double entendres and endure endless trivial conversations to set up the scam. Once finally on board the train things do not improve, unless watching Sean Connery crawl along the top of a half dozen or more cars while constantly laying flat to avoid countless low bridges is something that excites you. I give this two stars one for Donald Sutherland and one for Sean Connery who at some point probably became aware that they were in a boring bomb of a film. - MERK
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5/10
If you want to be a brain surgeon this is your movie .......
12 October 2019
Terminally boring for two thirds of the film would be an understatement. Watching a tedious operating room procedure would not immediately bring to mind the word entertaining. George Segal tries his best with a weak script, but to no avail. "Terminal Man" is a victim of the "message movie" seventies, where an abstract idea that is sorely underdeveloped is wrongly believed to be able to carry a feature film. Although this is well acted, the concept of trying to control violence with brain implanted computer chips, is merely an updated version of the "Frankenstein" story with modern technology substituting for bringing a dead body back to life. Thus, what is left is a "monster on the loose" that has been seen way to often to be anything but tedious. - MERK
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Deep Cover (1992)
4/10
Disappointing, unrealistic, forgettable .................
10 October 2019
See a Jef Goldblum total transformation from meek family man to a total nasty. See Laurence Fishburne drive a limo like a Lamborgini and outrun a flotilla of police cars. Hear Fishburne describe what you are seeing on screen, because of the weak script. Now make the photography as grimy as possible, and throw realism out the window. Let's not forget Charles Martin Smith, who sits in one room for most of the film, with occasional visits from Fishburne. If all this sounds pretty boring, you would be correct. Eventually as the nonsense is piled on, I couldn't take any more, and hit the fast forward button. Everything in a movie should attempt to make at least a little bit of sense. Unfortunately "Deep Cover" misses the sense meter by a wide margin. - MERK
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Grand Slam (1967)
7/10
Sometimes the best surprise is no surprise .....
8 October 2019
"Grand Slam" is a nice heist film, in search of an ending that makes some sense. The cast includes Janet Leigh, Klaus Kinski, and Edward G. Robinson, so the acting is totally acceptable. The intricate diamond caper is also depicted quite well, and the Rio locations another plus. What seems like an endless build up to the actual heist pushes the film into too long territory at just over two hours. Despite the length, interest is maintained until the startling surprise conclusion, an ending that will leave the bewildered audience gasping in disbelief after all that has preceded it. I defy anyone to explain the logic behind the ending of this film. To put things in perspective, even if things did take place off screen to support such a finale, it is far from believable, and leaves a very bad taste that is likely to linger for quite awhile. - MERK
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The Banker (1989)
6/10
Derivitive but entertaining .......
8 October 2019
Some "B" movies just deliver the goods, and "The Banker" is just such a film. Anyone who has seen any of the numerous "Most Dangerous Game" type clones, will definitely feel on familiar ground. The main difference being that the "hunter" uses as crossbow instead of a rifle, and the stalking takes place in the city instead of the wild countryside. One thing "The Banker" has going for it is a competent performance by Robert Forster. Shanna Reed and Jeff Conway seem pale by comparison, and Duncan Regehr over acts, while Richard Roundtree is mostly wasted in a no name type role. The film does generate some tension, and thankfully there are no car chase time fillers. Definitely worth a viewing by "B" movie admirers. - MERK
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5/10
Unfortunately underdeveloped script .........
8 October 2019
What you get with "Black Ice" is Michael Ironside, one hot sex scene, and some "Fargo" like weather. What you don't get is a script that could be believed. There is absolutely no police action, although there is at least a bunch of dead bodies. Ironside seems to show up with no logical explanation of how he got there at just the right place, at just the right time. Essentially this is really a road trip to nowhere, since the audience is kept in the dark as to motivation . Michael Nouri is the innocent cab driver who is along for the ride with the long suffering audience. Even for Michael Ironside fans who like his evil bad guy performances, this will test your patience. Also, I was completely underwhelmed by the big reveal ending. - MERK
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Chained Heat (1983)
7/10
The only W.I.P. movie you will ever need .............
7 October 2019
"Chained Heat" is the women in prison film standard, by which all others must be compared. The story is the familiar innocent ( Linda Blair) wrongly imprisoned. The evil prison warden (John Vernon). The brutal head guard ( Stella Stevens). The queen bee inmate (Sybil Dannning). Throw in Henry Silva and Tamara Dobson, and you have the greatest "B" movie cast ever assembled for a W.I.P. film. The movie's greatest strength besides the cast is that it over delivers in the expected nudity and violence. The greatest weakness is the script which really is nothing more than an add on to get to the nakedness and brutality. Acting by anyone not named above is totally pathetic, but that is more or less a given in this type film. - MERK
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The Cat Creature (1973 TV Movie)
6/10
Intriguing, mystical, and strange ..........
3 October 2019
An Egyptian mummy protected from reincarnating as a vampire with eternal life is set free. Mysterious deaths follow, with bodies drained of blood and claw marks on their throat. The police are mystified, but with the help of a professor, things begin to crystalize. The movie is extremely atmospheric, especially in regards to a mystic, Gale Sondergaard, who owns a magic shop. She absolutely is the best thing in "The Cat Creature" and steals every scene she is in. The story itself does hold a surprise, once the police figure out the significance of a solid gold amulet. Creepy in a way that doesn't rely on C.G.I. or jump scares, the movie can be enjoyed for it's mysterious storyline and the significant presence of a great actress from the past. - MERK
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5/10
First the bad news .......
2 October 2019
First the bad news. "Jungle Warriors" has about as much realism as a rat f...ing a grapefruit. More bad news, for a women in prison type, this seriously lacks skin. Still more bad news, Sybil Danning is basically wasted with not much screen time, and very little to do. She is however boldly featured on the DVD cover. The plot revolves around an uneasy alliance and drug deal between cocaine producer, Paul L. Smith, and Mafia kingpin, John Vernon. Drop into this jungle stew, seven no talent actress beauties led by Nina van Palandt who suddenly morph into jungle warriors, and that about wraps up the bad. Now for the good. The final showdown between Paul L. Smith and one of Vernon's goons is quite brutal and was for me the highlight of what must be considered bad news cinema. - MERK
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The Choirboys (1977)
6/10
Boys in Blue behaving badly ........
2 October 2019
This is a movie searching for an audience. Best bet would be the "National Lampoon" crowd. Essentially "The Choirboys" has no plot, and really is nothing more than a series of mostly tasteless skits strung together with the very thin thread of policemen pulling numerous pranks. Nevertheless, some of the nonsense is very funny. You also have a terrific cast pulling off this stuff. To say that the film is different than the usual buddy cop movies would be a real understatement. Think "Animal House" without the fraternity, but with cops behaving badly. Definitely not an endorsement for political correctness, but a throwback to a time when one didn't have to weigh every word for fear of offending someone. - MERK
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6/10
"Psycho" without Hitchcock but with two classy actresses ..........
1 October 2019
The influence of a Mother fixation a la "Psycho" is obvious in this intriguing horror film. The hatchet wielding psychotic is played, with a rather mundane performance, by David Garfield. Forget about him though and enjoy the great acting of Gale Sondergaard and Miriam Hopkins, who exude much class in their acting. The film is very atmospheric, has little blood, and is relentlessly downbeat from beginning to end. The clash of faded Hollywood with the psychotronic 60s/ 70s is used to great advantage, making this a treat for old film bluffs, but dubious entertainment for the slasher crowd. Though lacking "Hitchcock" caliber excellence, "Hollywood Horror House", is nevertheless an interesting relic that deserves attention. - MERK
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Nun of That (2008)
8/10
Tomorrow we go Penguin hunting .......
30 September 2019
Outrageous! Is not a strong enough compliment for this outstanding "black comedy." There are very few one joke "dark comedies" , that can sustain momentum for 90 minutes. Like the terrific "Poor White Trash" (2000), "Nun of That" is one of those rare films that succeeds, and thus takes it's rightful place among the better "black comedies." "Nun of That" uses the familiar female revenge theme, and wraps it around a landslide of tasteless, hilarious jokes. "How do you get a Nun pregnant? Dress her as an Altar Boy" . lol . No one is left unscathed, Catholics, Jews, Lesbians, among many are torn to shreds. Those easily offended should avoid this like you would a rabid dog, but if you dare, the right audience will be richly rewarded. - MERK
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Dillinger (1973)
7/10
I always wanted to be a bank robber "John Dillinger".........
27 September 2019
Exciting gangster flick with a terrific cast does not disappoint. Not only is Warren Oates great as Dillinger, but you also get Geoffrey Lewis, Harry Dean Stanton, Ben Johnson, Richard Dreyfus, and in a smaller role, John P. Ryan. Things move along at a swift and bloody pace, with some welcome humor, mostly supplied by Oates and Stanton. The carved gun scene is not easy to swallow, because it immediately brings to mind Woody Allen's "Take the Money and Run" lol . Historical fact be damned, "Dillinger" is is simply entertaining as Oates follows his dream of robbing banks. Some nice old cars and depression era scenery only add to the fun. An early encounter with an "old timer" gas station attendant is classic "dark comedy", and is memorable. - MERK
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The Great Houdini (1976 TV Movie)
7/10
Communicating with the dead 101 ........
26 September 2019
The film is more about seances, mediums, and communicating with the dead, than it is about great escapes. Under the influence of his overbearing Mother, Ruth Gordon, "The GreatHoudini", Paul Michael Glaser, has her shadow over him in both life and death. Once she passes on, Houdini is obsessed with trying to communicate with his Mother through seances and mediums. It is only after he is convinced that all efforts to speak with the dead are either through unhinged charlatans or out and out frauds, that he becomes a non believer, and sinks into the deepest of depressions. His long suffering wife, Sally Struthers, stands by him even as the religious right relentlessly attacks Houdini as a sort of anti-Christ. - MERK
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6/10
Gets better as it goes along .....
24 September 2019
What starts out looking like a vanity project for Thomas Ian Griffith, eventually morphs into a pretty good action flick. There are some pretty good actors that contribute mightily. Burt Young always delivers an interesting performance, with bad guys his specialty. Here he dishes out some out of the ordinary violence. For the first half of the film, I was wondering what James Earl Jones was doing in the movie? Only in the second half does his character gets more involved. Griffith high kicks his way through a nice assortment of bad guys who have zero character development. Towards the conclusion a twist is delivered that I did not see coming, and Lance Henriksen delivers the goods, as he too has little to do until the last part of "Excessive Force". Overall an entertaining film that delivers what it promises. - MERK
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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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