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Slapdash Video Euro Trash
27 August 2011
I pity the video rental store customers who, looking for something fun to watch on a slow night in the mid 80s, saw this sexy box cover with Sybil Danning holding a machine gun, got excited, read on the back that "the Panther Squad gives you non-stop action", and believed it.

Even connoisseurs of trash are likely to feel let down by this one. After a promising opening credits target practice montage set to a fun rock song called "Tough and Tender", Panther Squad goes limp and lazily smirks its way through a series of lame gags, sub-Dolemite fight choreography, and lifeless acting to a mildly amusing end sequence involving an easily whipped world takeover attempt and a cheesy laser that makes a Jeep disappear. A chintzy flick like this one really needs to slather on the exploitative elements in order to hold a viewer's interest, but Panther Squad is sadly and uninterestingly barren of any gore or nudity.

Danning lacks the charisma to carry such lackluster material, and Jack Taylor, a familiar face from European horror films like The Vampires Night Orgy and Pieces, looks bored throughout - though this is apparently intentional and supposed to be humorous - and his absentminded spy character effectively sums up the film's merits when he observes, "Things move pretty slowly around here." Panther Squad is clearly intended as camp, but at times one wonders where the winking, unfunny play ineptitude ends and the real lack of behind-the-camera talent takes over. Case in point: the villains are supposed to be wacko anti-pollution terrorists, but in one scene we see a group of them riding in a car that's putting out blasts of thick, black smoke. Is this a joke, or was the production just that cheap and shoddy? I'm still not sure.

Fans of filmmaking on the Mikels or Sloane level might be able to tolerate this, but all others are advised to avoid. As of writing, unloved VHS copies of Panther Squad are cheaply available.
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Colorful Kung Fu Noir
24 August 2011
The Green Jade Statuette, plotwise, seems to be a loose kung fu take on The Maltese Falcon, with various villains and fighters vying for the titular object. I'm only a casual martial arts fan, didn't know any of the actors going into this film, and wasn't initially excited, but found it rewarding viewing in the end.

Stylistically, The Green Jade Statuette is typical of old school kung fu films, but the more substantial plotting and character development distinguishes it somewhat from the run of the mill, with mysteries running the course of the film and enigmatic characters whose motives take shape only gradually.

While too many kung fu films feature fairly generic battles between hotheaded men who seem to break into furious violence for no particular reason, The Green Jade Statuette boasts fights which will increasingly matter to the viewer, rather than simply being gratuitous. The final three-way duel at the Buddhist temple is especially involving and picturesque.

The previous reviewer's complaint about the merciless cropping at the sides of the Ocean Shores video also goes for Tai Seng's DVD release, unfortunately. Still, I would recommend this film to old school kung fu fans who are willing to sit through a little more plot than usual.
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6/10
The Chongfather
11 May 2011
Kung Fu Executioner is one I sought out after seeing two other Billy Chong vehicles, the must-be-seen-to-be-believed gonzo horror oddities Kung Fu Zombie and Kung Fu from Beyond the Grave. Kung Fu Executioner is much more conventional and has nothing of the insane feeling of those, but remains a decent showcase for Chong's boyish charm.

In some ways, this is a silly chop socky remake of The Godfather, with a family receiving an unwelcome offer to buy into a drug importation scheme and suffering the consequences of refusal. Other parallels include an attack on the elderly patriarch in an open market, followed by a further attempt on his life in a hospital.

This family, however, instead of an Irish consigliere, has adopted a black kung fu fighter, played by the able Carl Scott. Also, while all of this is apparently supposed to be taking place in the 30s or 40s, any illusion of this is destroyed from the outset by the 70s flare collars and other anachronistic fashions.

Fans of schlocky martial arts films of this period will no doubt find themselves at home. Men get angry and punch and kick at the drop of a hat or sometimes even fight with their friends for fun. I don't know the name of the man playing Shima, but he seems to be the villain in almost every kung fu movie I see. There's also a fair amount of gore for this genre, though it looks more like the sweet and sour sauce at your local Chinese buffet than anything that would ooze out of a human being.
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6/10
Smolders and Fizzles
27 April 2011
The problem with The Last Grenade isn't so much that it's bad, but that it disregards audience expectations. It isn't unreasonable, after all, to expect a movie about mercenaries to contain a fair amount of action. The Last Grenade, however, devotes at least as much attention to a none-too-convincing romantic subplot as to the central rivalry between the characters played by Baker and Cord.

Cord's slightly mad villain is more charismatic than the decidedly unheroic hero, but receives too little screen time to keep the tension going. Even his demise is somewhat of a letdown, with the viewer unaccountably robbed of any explosive, bullet-riddled showdown between the rival groups of mercenaries, so that instead we're given an almost mannered climax that's more of a joke than a catharsis, dramatic music cue notwithstanding.

In less British hands - say, Don Siegel's or Sam Peckinpah's - or maybe John Boorman's or David Lean's, this might have been an unqualified winner; as is, however, it's only a minor, watchable, but ultimately disappointing and mostly actionless actioner.
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Mutant Hunt (1987 Video)
5/10
Hunt for This One at Your Own Risk
15 January 2011
Mutant Hunt is a movie I've wanted to see ever since learning of its existence - admit it, the title is irresistible - only, of course, to be disappointed by what a turd it inevitably turned out to be. From Tim Kincaid and the team behind Breeders, this follow-up fails to live up to the already low expectations aroused by that tacky but fun exercise in sci-fi cheesecake. Where Breeders was dopey, decently paced, and filled with quality nudity, Mutant Hunt is dopey, dull, and just barely weird enough to keep it from being a total waste of time.

The script is lame, the fights are drab, the heroes have all the charisma of musclebound Ben Steins, and after the goofy energy of the opening scenes, Mutant Hunt sags into an apparent indifference to itself, droning along and tugging at the poor viewer's patience until the 76 minutes feel more like 120.

Saving this one from utter abomination, thankfully, are the unintentional humor and gooey effects attendant upon the pack of cheap, zombie-like titular creatures, who are actually lumbering Terminatoresque cyborgs on dope that supposedly makes them sex maniacs, though this aspect of their villainy is never really exploited. They're slimy and fairly disgusting to look at, which is nice, but I did find myself wishing the plot and porno-level budget had given them more in the way of havoc to wreak.
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Breeders (1986)
8/10
Copious Nudity, Campy Screams
11 January 2011
If that's what you're looking for, you'll find it in Breeders, a classic of oozy 80s video sleaze. Turning on its head the horror convention that sex means imminent death, the title creatures here target virgins only for their jollies. Luckily for them, New York City seems to be populated pretty plentifully with model-quality maidenheads.

Director Tim Kincaid previously made gay pornographic films, but here displays a welcome and unashamed willingness to linger over the female form (just wait until you see the breeders' Alienesque love nest at the end, with several naked and moaning victims wallowing in white slime). Charmingly cheap as the monster effects are, and however shoddy the script might be, you have to give the people who made this credit for added production value in gourmet flesh - even if the alleged virginity of most of it is dubious.

Breeders moves along at a fairly nice pace, doesn't overstay its welcome, and gives trash lovers what they want. Go in without overly high expectations and have fun with it, maybe as a solid second-rate second feature on a late night double bill with C.H.U.D. or Syngenor.
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Tou qing ke (1985)
8/10
Superior Ninja Kicks
29 August 2010
Although the opening prologue sequence seems incongruous with the rest of the film, City Ninja doesn't quite fit the profile of the typically abominable cut-and-paste Godfrey Ho style ninja Frankenstein product with Caucasian actors inserted later. It's actually fairly decent, with fast pacing, respectable fight choreography, and relatively coherent storytelling.

The two heroes, if that's what they are, are boxers involved with Chinese and Korean gangsters all seeking a necklace with a Swiss bank account number on it. No character in City Ninja emerges as a clearly defined hero, however, and almost every man seems to be out for his own personal gain. The ending, consequently, lacks the upbeat feeling and payoff accompanying most kung fu climaxes, and is actually somewhat of a downer.

While Richard Harrison is nowhere in sight, devotees of bad ninja movies shouldn't be bored, as City Ninja offers its share of treats in that department, with ninjas exploding, flying up out of the ground, swooping from trees, attacking from underneath a bridge, and lobbing colored smoke bombs. There's also a lot of melodrama, funny bits of dialog, and fun and generous sexy scenes.
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The Master: Max (1984)
Season 1, Episode 1
10/10
"A ninja does not betray his destiny. You will die."
28 August 2010
These are lines uttered by the antagonistic ninja played by Sho Kosugi (Revenge of the Ninja) in this episode of The Master, a dose of classic television kitsch from the 1980s, that golden decade of ninja schlock.

Western star Lee Van Cleef is miscast but still cool as the only occidental American ever to be trained as a ninja. He's returned to the U.S. to locate a long-lost daughter and along the way he meets freewheeling, van-driving Timothy Van Patten (notable as the scariest punk in Class of 1984), joining him in combating an evil real estate developer (Clu Gulager from Return of the Living Dead) looking to put up a mall on Demi Moore's father's land.

Fast-paced, easy-going viewing, and fun in innocuous 80s fashion, the show features exotic ninja weapons, the expected ninja wisdom, and the absolutely obligatory scenes of ninja martial arts training. For the curious, this episode is included in Mill Creek's Ninja Assassins DVD 10-Pack along with some other glorious ninja crapola.
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6/10
For Hardcore Bad Ninja Movie Fans Only
26 August 2010
There are more outrageously entertaining Godfrey Ho movies than Ninja Phantom Heroes, but those who have come to appreciate the man's unique vision will find more of the same to enjoy here. Mostly cobbled from a Chinese gangster potboiler, the movie's actual ninja to non-ninja screen time ratio is pretty paltry. Even the somewhat dull segments have a usually unintentional charm, however, with more than enough silly dubbing and odd dialog to keep bad movie warriors watching.

Among the highlights are a brief fight between a drunk white guy and three goofy Chinese guys; a guy throwing a cup of tea in his own face; any scene involving the characters "Baldy" and "Fatty"; gratuitous evil Chinese gangster chuckling; stick-wielding motorcyclists attacking a car; revenge accompanied by the line "You dirty rat"; and, of course, the obligatory disappear-and-go-poof ninja henchmen.

Potential victims, I mean viewers, should be aware that the version of this movie available as part of Mill Creek's Ninja Assassins 10-pack, confusingly retitled Ninja Empire (also the title of a different Godfrey Ho movie), is only 78 minutes long, whereas another version apparently runs 90 minutes. Frankly, though, since most people will be glad when it's over, it probably doesn't even matter.
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6/10
Flawed But Worthwhile Chinese Ghost Comedy
26 August 2010
More of a straight comedy than a horror comedy, Mad Mad Ghost is much more concerned with daffy laughs and social issues than with scares.

Lam Ching Ying is a Taoist priest who, along with his bumbling disciples, moves into a house haunted by a ghost couple: a meek, traditional woman and her abusive husband. Lam helps her rid herself of the brute, and takes her on as a sort of teaching aid in order to help develop his students' ghost-battling skills.

Meanwhile, the easily scared ghost lady works on becoming a more formidable ghost, and also emancipating herself as a woman. None of this is as serious as it sounds, however, with the students constantly behaving in ridiculous, unpious ways and the ghost lady going shopping, visiting a disco, and taking on a new Madonna-inspired persona.

Another current running through Mad Mad Ghost is Chinese patriotism. Lam, in some of his introductory lecturing, explains that the ancient Chinese view of the universe has a "scientific" basis equivalent to Einstein's Theory of Relativity. European chess, he later adds, also has its origin in a Chinese game.

There's also a definite anti-Western feeling to the film. Two woodenly villainous men posing as missionaries wanting to rent Lam's house are actually only interested in a stash of gold buried in the courtyard. At the end, when the two of them start blasting the house apart with machine guns and calling everybody "Chinese dogs", one of them remarks that it's "as exciting as the Vietnam War."

A sometimes awkward mix of several styles and thematic concerns, Mad Mad Ghost isn't completely successful. The ghostly spousal abuse, for instance, while played as comedic, comes across as overly brutal considering the tone of the film. The laughs are hit-and-miss and almost always of the dumb, mugging variety. There's also some cheap and very visual toilet humor, which may turn off some viewers. For the brave, however, Mad Mad Ghost ought not to be a complete waste of time, as it does have an often infectious energy and somewhat likable cast of characters.
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Nyi blorong (1982)
7/10
As Exotically Outrageous as World Cinema Gets
22 August 2010
"Surreal" is one of the most overused words in our language, and is frequently attached to things or experiences even mildly unusual. Consequently, I try to limit my use of the term; but The Snake Queen is one film I can definitely call "surreal" without hesitation.

Starring Indonesia's two most famous stars, Suzzanna and Barry Prima, plus other recognizable faces, The Snake Queen is concerned with morbid folklore that will be familiar to fans of Lady Terminator or readers of the indispensable Pete Tombs book Mondo Macabro.

For those who have enjoyed other Indonesian supernatural fantasies like Queen of Black Magic or White Alligator Queen, The Snake Queen is basically cut from the same cloth and offers more of the same colorfully cracked sensibility, with rough, handcrafted magic effects, gruesome imagery, and daffy humor of both the intentional and unintentional varieties.

Among the odd sights awaiting the viewer are Suzzanna's torso attached to a snake body, a dancing apparition with a detachable fireball head, a psychedelically rotating lovemaking scene, a maggot-riddled sinner's corpse, and a green-faced levitating victim of possession.

The other reviewer wrote that this movie was "beautiful and well done". More accurate, I think, would be to say that The Snake Queen is beautifully bizarre and that, after you watch it, your brain will probably be well done.
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8/10
Early Tsui Hark Winner
19 August 2010
A hundred and eighty degrees from Tsui Hark's film of the previous year, the grimly realistic and uncompromisingly violent Don't Play with Fire, 1981's All the Wrong Clues is a cartoonish comedy-mystery-thriller set in the 1930s.

Starring Hong Kong singing stars George Lam and Teddy Robin Kwan as childhood buddies and rivals who have become, respectively, a police inspector and a private eye, the story follows their alternately bumbling and ingenious adventures in relation to a convoluted con game involving a big time gangster played by Karl Maka. Along the way there are slapstick shootouts, romantic foolishness, and twists to maintain interest. (Also, watch for the ubiquitous Hong Kong heavy Bolo Yeung as a thug in a barroom brawl.)

Ultimately frivolous, but fun and stylish enough to be worthwhile.
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4/10
Disappointing Fred Olen Ray Time-Waster
18 August 2010
I've enjoyed all of the other Fred Olen Ray movies I've seen - Cyclone and Warlords, for instance, are underrated classics of lowbrow fare, and even Scalps has its redeeming qualities - but Bad Girls from Mars is guilty of the worst possible charge that can be leveled against an exploitation flick: it's boring.

The self-deprecating script is bland, and everything is conducted with such self-conscious camp that no sense of reality or genuine interest is ever generated. Drab synthesized music, lame one-liners, and pointless Ed Wood references don't help matters. Brinke Stevens is underutilized, and the rest of the cast is uncharismatic, the repeatedly bared bosom of Edy Williams notwithstanding.

Only die-hard fans of Stevens or Ray, or anyone easily impressed by breasts or broad, lazy comedy, need bother with Bad Girls from Mars. The title is as funny as anything in the movie.
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10/10
Midnight Disney Oddity
15 August 2010
Probably the only Disney film to feature extensive Pabst Blue Ribbon product placement and an actress credited at the end as playing "Busty Waitress", Midnight Madness came out in the late 70s/early 80s period of madcap raunchy youth comedies like Animal House and The Hollywood Knights, and its intent was apparently to capitalize on that market while retaining a shiny Disney veneer of innocent fun.

Essentially a more youthful, more superficial It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, but with college kids and the object of their competition being an inexplicably appealing trophy instead of cash, Midnight Madness is similarly silly, fast-paced, and irresistible if you don't take your movie viewing habits too seriously. Adding to its charm is its loose 70s feel, with a cute disco theme song sung by Donna Fein setting the tone for the proceedings.

Among the cast of dweeby dozens you get Animal House's Stephen Furst, a young Michael J. Fox, Dr. Pepper commercial star David Naughton, legendary supernerd Eddie Deezen, and, in a small part, the future Pee Wee Herman himself, Paul Reubens. Catch Midnight Madness tonight and thrill as delinquent arcade dork Michael J. sweats teenage angst and asks in complete earnestness, "What do I look like, a nerd or something?"
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The Alchemist (1983)
6/10
Perils of Hitchhiking in a Charles Band Movie
16 June 2010
The audience for The Alchemist is, admittedly, limited. But those who remember hokey 80s bum-budget fare fondly will probably be fairly tolerant of this unspecial Charles Band outing.

We're introduced to a hitchhiker, John Sanderford, who gets picked up by a cute waitress, Lucinda Dooling, who's been having occult visions that interfere with her driving. Meanwhile, fleshy-faced Robert Ginty, star of one of the quintessential cheapcrud vigilante films, The Exterminator, here has an even more lowbrow role as a man plagued by a werewolf-like curse. Somehow, this quasi-werewolf glassblower's destiny seems to be linked with that of the waitress, who bears an uncanny resemblance to his dead wife. Robert Glaudini, weird star of Band's lurid masterpiece Parasite, has a small role as the title character (?).

If all of that sounds complicated, don't worry, because it isn't. The Alchemist is pretty casual viewing, fairly uneventful, actually, and won't appeal to people with 21st century attention spans. Those who stick with it, however, will at least be treated to a gateway to Hell, a couple of neat if not particularly formidable demons, and maybe a few moments approximating scares. Tame as a whole, The Alchemist does have some brief gross/gory scenes; my favorite is the white and green slime oozing out of a dead demon's head.

A guilty pleasure - one for all you Bandites out there.
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Jian mo (1992)
6/10
Devil of Misleading Title
5 June 2010
First of all, ignore the title and dark box art, which make this look like a horror film. Nothing remotely horrific happens in Devil of Rape, which is really a goofy supernatural sex comedy that might just as easily have been titled Doofus of Gratuitous Sex.

The plot, as far as I could piece it together without translation, concerns a nerdy guy whose parents are worried because he's such a loser with ladies. The father then has his cook add a dose of magic root to the son's soup so he'll transform into a lothario. Unfortunately, he becomes more of an unstoppable sexual dynamo who runs amok, having random and seemingly interminable softcore sex for most of the movie.

The bottom line is that if you're only wanting some trash and tawdriness and don't mind doing without subtitles, Devil of Rape will satisfy. Just don't expect much of a plot or any suspense or horror. If you're determined to find a horror flick with a devil actually committing rape, check out The Eerie Midnight Horror Show instead.
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9/10
An Italophile's Violent Delight
29 May 2010
The semi-tough, actually rather effeminate Mark Gregory is back as "that delinquent Trash person" in Bronx Warriors 2, which in my opinion bests the original. It's faster-paced, with more action and more dead bodies, and Mark Gregory's acting has even improved.

The story gleefully ups the bleakness quotient, with most of the Bronx gangs having retreated into subterranean hideouts as Disinfestation Annihilation Squads raze the blighted neighborhoods to make way for fascistic urban renewal. Anybody who's seen the first Bronx Warriors knows Trash isn't going to put up with that.

If you're in the mood for a cheap 80s action flick that delivers the goods, Bronx Warriors 2 has more than enough gun battles, flamethrowers, exploding miniatures, people dying and flying through the air in slow motion, and scatological dialogue to satisfy. Consider watching it as a double feature with C.H.U.D., which shares several of its elements.
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7/10
My Fair Ladykiller
14 May 2010
You probably never thought you'd see Chow Yun Fat happily eating feces, did you? Well, that and more awaits you in The Greatest Lover, a sweet but decidedly lowbrow Hong Kong take on My Fair Lady, with Chow playing the ill-mannered lout transformed into a suave society man and Anita Mui playing his frustrated etiquette/elocution instructor.

Rarely has such a big star so totally debased himself for your entertainment, so you comedy fans owe it to Chow Yun Fat to check out his off-the-wall performance. And for those who manage to endure the juvenile humor, there really is a touching story of love and friendship waiting to be discovered here.
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I bastardi (1968)
7/10
Somebody Resurrect This Bastard
5 May 2010
It's a bit difficult for me to give a final verdict on this movie since, despite the running time given by IMDb, I saw it by way of a crummy bootleg of an Asian TV broadcast that had been chopped down to about 67 minutes. Still, what remained was entertaining enough to keep me watching (and wondering what had been left out).

The Bastard is about a thief who's betrayed by his brother, crime boss Klaus Kinski, and has the tendons in his right hand cut. After that the movie is about the thief licking his wounds, enjoying some sexual healing, learning to shoot with his left hand, and planning his revenge. Then, in an odd and way-out-of-left-field plot device, a natural disaster intercedes and makes the ending feel like a cop-out.

It would be nice if somebody brought out a restored version so people could rediscover this one.
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8/10
Enjoyable Hong Kong Supernatural Fluff
24 April 2010
I have the feeling that some viewers go into this one with unfair expectations. If you think it's going to be an action flick just because Chow Yun Fat is the star, or think it's going to be horrific just because it has the word "witch" in the title, you're probably going to be disappointed.

One problem western viewers may have with Witch from Nepal is its inconsistency of mode. The beginning and end are action and horror oriented, while most of the middle portion has the leisurely pace of a romantic drama. Once the viewer adjusts to the unfamiliar genre hybrid nature of the proceedings, however, there's more than enough cuteness, action, and spooky stuff to keep an open-minded audience pleasantly occupied.
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10/10
Underrated Sixties Noir
23 April 2010
All of the critical scorn directed at Dog Eat Dog is rather perplexing, since it's a tense, starkly photographed, bleak and sleazy shot of cool 60s crime melodrama.

Dog Eat Dog is similar in its strange look and feel to Roman Polanski's Cul-de-Sac (there's even a bald creep who resembles Donald Pleasence), but with a more straightforward hard boiled edge and noirish dialogue, with Cameron Mitchell cynically dubbing Jayne Mansfield's breasts her "double indemnity".

Shot in beautiful locations and full of interesting, unusual faces, this is a crazy winner that ought to please fans of Mitchell, Mansfield, or offbeat genre films and black comedies generally. Mitchell even gets to go nuts and tear apart a whorehouse, yelling incoherently about money and gasoline. Really, what could be better?
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6/10
Supernatural Indonesian Rubber Alligator Saga
18 April 2010
Like the other reviewer, I watched White Alligator Queen without the benefit of translation; but, while amused, I wasn't quite as impressed by it. There's plenty of weirdness, certainly, if that's what you're after, but also stretches where not much of interest occurs, and the bulk of the bizarreness comes during the last third of the film.

Most of the special effects are of the chintzy, rubbery variety, probably on par with American schlock of the 1950s. There are a few genuinely gruesome moments, however, with worms and gore, so squeamish viewers are forewarned.

Newcomers to Indonesian fare are directed to Queen of Black Magic or Lady Terminator first. If you've already seen all of the other Indonesian titles offered by Mondo Macabro, however, and still find yourself wanting more, White Alligator Queen is available if you know where to look.

Note: The other reviewer mentions a musical sequence that wasn't present in the version I watched, so it may be that there are different cuts of varying degrees of surrealism floating around out there.
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Night Court: Hi Honey, I'm Home (1984)
Season 1, Episode 13
10/10
The Smell of Napier in the Morning
11 April 2010
In this typically tickling episode, Russ Meyer alum Charles Napier plays a rowdy soldier who's been in a Vietnamese prison camp for the past decade and returns home only to find out he's legally dead and his wife has remarried. The wife can't decide which man she wants, and Judge Stone slyly resorts to a biblical precedent in resolving the disputed matrimony.

The casting of Napier as a MIA soldier is ironic considering that he would appear on the big screen the next year in Rambo: First Blood Part II, as a jerk trying to cover up the number of U.S. soldiers still captive in Vietnam.
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The Clones (1973)
9/10
Flawed But Fascinating Low-Budget Sci-Fi
3 April 2010
The Clones is more than worthwhile for those who admire ambitious shoestring budget film-making. Principal among its charms is its eerie stylistic inventiveness, with disorienting tracking shots, upside-down fish-eye camera-work, offbeat locations, and weird effects on the soundtrack, ensuring that an oppressive 70s paranoia takes hold of the viewer.

The script is hit-and-miss, sometimes dumb, and the story weakens when the clone conspiracy is revealed to be only a part of a much, much broader sci-fi intrigue. The aforementioned strengths more than compensate for any failings, however. The Clones is a film that will be best appreciated by those who enjoy old, modestly budgeted but atmospheric speculative movies like Seconds, It's Alive, or The Terminal Man.
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Anatema (2006)
1/10
Headache-Inducingly Putrid Propaganda Film
28 March 2010
History and politics aside, Anatema stinks. I saw this at a film festival a couple of years ago and remember it as probably the most grueling movie-going experience of my life. Anatema is one of those self-righteous duds that seeks to dictate to you exactly how you're supposed to feel about everything. If it wants you to feel outraged and saddened (which it usually does), it shows you a row of orphaned girls crying on cue, etc, etc.

Anatema was bad, beyond bad, so relentlessly depressing and tasteless it brought tears to my eyes. I sat miserably, stupefied, twitching and sweating with the effort of stifling my giggles. I didn't know whether to laugh out loud or slash my wrists, and the only reason I didn't run screaming out of the theater is that some person connected with the production was in attendance, and I didn't want to humiliate him.

If you feel passionately about the atrocities depicted in Anatema, you should abhor this film for trivializing the subject, turning it into an unwatchable exercise in cheapjack manipulative propaganda.
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