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Real name: Joe Wawrzyniak
Hair: Rapidly receding, but what's still left is dirty blonde & often uncombed
Eyes: Piercing blue. Not exactly Meg Fosterish, but leaning in that striking direction
Favorite hat: Fedora, a man's hat
Favorite shirt: loud Hawaiian shirts, the uglier the better
Favorite pants: Khaki, usually rumpled
Date of birth: June 1st, 1972
Homestate: New Jersey, where both myself and the drive-in were born
Height: 6 feet, 4 inches, very tall
Weight: 215 pounds, really thin
Nicknames: The Woodman, The Woodster,
The Woodmeister, Awesome Anders
Mr. Wood, Woody A, Good Ol' WA, Woods,
Woody Baby (ladies only, please)
Persona: Film nerd and damn proud of it
Voice: Deep, oily, soothing pus ooze late night disc jockey tenor
Favorite song: "Una Paloma Blanca" 2005 remix by George Baker
Motto: "If you wanna be the s**t, you gotta know your s**t. Otherwise, you ain't s**t."
Religion: Godless heathen atheist and proud of it, too
I'm especially fond of horror and exploitation movies. I think the 70's was the best-ever decade for film. Watch a lot of cult movies and drive-in films; the sleazier and/or weirder they are, the more I dig 'em. Enjoy out of the mainstream independent films, rock pics, sci-fi end-of-the-world items and made-for-TV movies as well.
Just to stop my life from being too dull I have a little sideline hobby singing downhome Southern-fried country and western music. I'm the lead singer/songwriter in a funky band called Hillbilly Joe and the Jersey Bumpkins. We're a bunch of s**t-kickin', fiddle-pickin', banjo-pluckin' rowdy rednecks who love to spit, chew, screw and drink Mountain Dew (and I ain't talkin' 'bout the soda). We perform at truckstops, greasy spoons, swap meets, flea markets, seedy honkytonk dives, trailer parks, weddings, bar mitzvahs, and especially church social gatherings every Sunday afternoon. Songs we perform include such good, clean, wholesome family numbers as "Thank God I'm A Country *beep* "On the Floor Again," "I *beep* Your Sister and She's A Lousy Lay," and "The Wife Beating Song." The latter charming ditty I wrote in fifteen minutes at the tail end of a severe weekend whiskey bender. The lyrics are as follows:
I punch the dawg
I kick the cat
I beat the wife
With a bat
She called the cops
I'm in jail
Spendin' the night
Can't pay bail
While I'm here
I really hope
My hairy cellmate Bubba
Don't drop the soap
Now, isn't that a truly special song just ripe to bursting with wit, warmth, tasteful humor and a teeming surplus of poignant heartfelt humanity? Your darn totin' it sure is. Keep watching "American Idol" because I'm gonna be on it any day now.
I also act in hard-core porno films under the alias IGiveYouMyWood. Among the hard-core movies I've starred in are "Layin' the Ladies," "Stickin' It to Your Sister," "Lovin' My Cousin" (a Hillbilly Joe favorite), and the sentimental yuletide classic "Santa's Special Sausage." All these films and many more can be ordered from the following website: www.getmywood.com.
Moreover, I'm a shameless hack writer who does numerous film reviews and articles for such underground publications as "Vex," "Cult Movies" (my article on Bigfoot films was nominated for a Rondo Award in 2003, but alas I didn't win), "The Exploitation Journal," "Screem," and "Shock Cinema." I also write album reviews for a local Garden State rock zine called "Jersey Beat."
I average at one film comment a day on the IMDb and even write snappy little bios on such lesser known actors and actresses as Vic Diaz, Victor Israel, Joy Bang, Michael Ironside, Michelle Stacy, James Whitworth, Frances Raines, Roberta Collins, Rick Dean, Candice Rialson, Monica Gayle, Harley Cross, Bill Thurman, Michael Sopkiw, Nicholas Worth, Jennifer Ashley, Sondra Currie, Bruno VeSota, Sharon Kelly, Tim Thomerson, Tony Musante, Lina Romay, Pamela Franklin, Kelli Maroney, Jewel Shepard, Starr Andreeff, and Patty Shepard. I've also written bios for such directors as Richard Compton (R.I.P.), my good friend Keith Crocker, William Lustig, Jeff Lieberman, Jeff Burr, Fred Dekker, Kevin S. Tenney, Lewis Teague, Jack Arnold, Lee Frost, Don Edmonds, and Gary Sherman. In a pitiful attempt at displaying range and versatility, I've whipped up bios for longtime favorite singer/songwriters Kim Carnes, Carol Connors, Jackie DeShannon, John Prine, Joe South and Tony Joe White, country singers Dave Dudley and Eddie Rabbitt, blues singer/guitarist T-Model Ford, rock'n'roll guitarists Davie Allan and Link Wray, and crime novelist Charles Willeford. In fact, I have over 1,000 mini-bios posted all over the IMDb and am currently listed as #3 in the IMDb statistics top twenty list of writers on mini-bios. Plus I add pieces of trivia and quotes for folks all over the IMDb (one of the folks I've added several quotes for is none other than Fred Astaire!). Hell, I even add magazine interviews, pictorials and cover photos, too. And TV commercials, too. I'm not a prolific writer; I'm just a guy who writes a lot.
I would love to hear from film fans the world over. I hope you enjoy my writing and comments.
I own more DVDs than I care to list and have seen more movies than I would care to admit to. I average three or fours DVDs a week, so my collection gets bigger and bigger all the time. Before you ask, I store my DVDs in a very large basement. I also store the bodies of stray drifters I pick on the way home from work in my basement as well. Wait a minute; forget that last sentence. I actually eat as much of the bodies as I can (thus saving money on food so I can buy more DVDs) and burn what I can't eat in my incinerator (thus saving money on heating as well). When in Jersey be sure to stop by my house. I'd be glad to have you over for diner. However, you wouldn't be a guest in my house; you would be the main course instead. Cheers!
Excellent retrospective documentary
This retrospective documentary covers a lot of interesting and illuminating ground on the making of the controversial "Midnight Cowboy." Screenwriter Waldo Salt was specifically hired to write the script because he had the right staccato style for the project and put more emphasis on shaping a scene than on dialogue. Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight discuss at length how they did a lot of improvisations and pushed each other to go as high as they could with their characters. Sylvia Miles talks about how her brief, but memorable six minute role launched her whole career. Cinematographer Adam Holender goes into detail about giving New York City a gritty look. Among the other things we learn are that Ratso's crummy apartment was built in a studio, the rehearsal period lasted three to four weeks, and director John Schlesinger saw aspects of American culture that are generally overlooked by people who are born and raised in America. Worth a watch for fans of the film.
Crowhaven Farm (1970)
Something creepy is happening down at Crowhaven Farm
Maggie (a fine and sympathetic portrayal by Hope Lange) and her artist husband Ben (a solid performance by Paul Burke) inherit an old farmhouse in the country that turns out to have a dark past. Pretty soon Maggie is experiencing scary flashbacks involving a coven of witches.
Director Walter Grauman relates the absorbing story at a steady pace, presents a strong rural atmosphere, and ably crafts a supremely spooky mood. John McGreevey's compact script offers a few neat twists and concludes on a subtly chilling note. The sound acting from the capable cast rates as another substantial asset: Lloyd Bochner as the suave Kevin Pierce, John Carradine as sinister handyman Nate Cheever, Cyril Delevanti as kindly old occult expert Harold Dane, Milton Seltzer as the friendly Dr. Terminer, and Patricia Barry as perky gal pal Felicia. However, Cindy Eilbacher easily steals the show with her sharp turn as sly and devious little girl Jennifer. William Smith pops up in nice bit as a policeman on horseback at the very end. Robert Drasnin's shivery score hits the shuddery spot. An excellent 70's made-for-TV chiller.
Super intense creature feature
A group of young folks find themselves in considerable jeopardy after a vicious giant monster suddenly attacks New York City.
Director Matt Reeves, working from a tight script by Drew Goddard, takes time to develop the characters, grounds the fantastic premise in a believable everyday reality, and generates plenty of nerve-wracking tension. The total absence of a music score and the expert use of a shaky hand-held portable camera give this picture a bracing, riveting, and above all extremely harrowing sense of immediacy and intimacy that basically puts the viewer in the thick of the terrifying action just like the hapless people in the movie; the acute feeling of blind panic and complete chaos is frighteningly well captured. Lizzy Caplan, Jessica Lucas, T.J. Miller, Michael Stahl-David, Mike Vogel, and Odette Annable are all credible as the imperiled protagonists. The scenes of destruction -- the Statue of Liberty's decapitated head rolls down a street, the Brooklyn Bridge gets demolished -- are quite potent and startling. The grim ending also packs a shocking punch. The special effects are convincingly done. An on the money nail biter.
The Ghost of Sierra de Cobre (1964)
Nifty and effective made-for-TV supernatural horror chiller
Paranormal expert Nelson Orion (an excellent performance by Martin Landau) investigates a case involving a deceased woman who's reportedly making phone calls from beyond the grave.
Writer/director Joseph Stefano relates the compelling story at a steady pace, ably crafts a supremely spooky atmosphere, and makes the most out of the isolated seaside setting. The fine acting by the capable cast keeps this movie humming: Diane Baker as the concerned Vivia Mandore, Tom Simcox as tormented blind man Henry, Judith Anderson as the sinister Paulina, and Nellie Burt as cheery housekeeper Mary Finch. The plot has a few neat twists and turns while the howling and moaning ghost rates as a genuinely unsettling apparition. Conrad L. Hall's crisp black and white cinematography boasts several snazzy stylistic flourishes. Dominic Frontiere's score is a tad overwrought at times, but does the shivery trick just the same. Well worth a watch.
Midnight Cowboy (1969)
Lost and lonely in New York City
Naïve Texas cowboy Joe Buck (a fine and engaging performance by Jon Voight) goes to New York City with the specific ambition of becoming a successful gigolo. Although Joe fails miserably at realizing this particular goal, he nonetheless meets scuzzy con artist Ratso (superbly played with considerable slimy charm by Dustin Hoffman), with whom he manages to form a deep bond with.
Director John Schlesinger offers a vivid evocation of the seedier side of the Big Apple, sees the fragile wounded humanity in the down and out main characters despite the cruel and sordid urban cesspool they reside in, and astutely captures the freaky low-rent underbelly of American culture that's fascinating in its grimy despair. Waldo Salt's thoughtful script makes a poignant and significant statement about the basic human need for connection and companionship, with the occasionally strained, but heartfelt friendship between the needy protagonists registering as quite moving and unforgettable as well as coming complete with an substantial emotional arc for Joe Buck in which he becomes a wiser and more humane person at the shattering conclusion.
Voight and Hoffman both do sterling work with their roles; they receive sturdy support from Sylvia Miles as proud aging hooker Cass, John McGiver as religious fanatic Mr. O'Daniel, Brenda Vaccaro as the sassy Shirley, Barnard Hughes as the pathetic and desperate Towny, Ruth White as Joe's doting grandmother Sally, and Jennifer Salt as town tramp Annie. Kudos are also in order for John Barry's haunting score and Adam Holender's sharp cinematography. Essential viewing.
An excellent and informative documentary
This 61-minute documentary covers a lot of interesting and illuminating ground on the making of Roman Polanski's "Macbeth." Polanski defends his choice to make the violence as explicit as possible by pointing out that it's a bloody play and talks about how both Tuesday Weld and Marianne Faithful were also considered to play Lady Macbeth. Francesca Annis discusses how she refused to pose for a nude pictorial for Playboy and remembers star Jon Finch as a really macho and charismatic guy. Martin Shaw reveals that he also read for the part of Macbeth and goes into detail about how he took horse riding lessons for six weeks for his role as Banquo. Producers Victor Lownes and Andrew Braunsberg go into detail about the movie falling behind schedule and going over budget. Among the other topics that are covered are how screenwriter Ken Tynan was well versed in Shakespeare, Polanski encouraging the cast to speak the dialogue naturally, Columbia barely giving the picture a theatrical release in America, a catapult that was built for use in the film didn't work properly, and the movie's harsh reception from critics in New York City. Recommended viewing for fans of the film.
Curse of the Black Widow (1977)
A 70's made-for-TV camp marvel
Smartaleck private eye Mark Highbie (a spirited and engaging performance by Anthony Franciosa) investigates a series of baffling murders in which the male victims are found drained of blood and pumped full of spider venom.
Boy, does this 70's made-for-TV horror creature feature offer a wondrous wealth of deliciously kitschy delights: A gloriously ludicrous premise that's played straight by director Dan Curtis, cheesy (less than) special effects, goofy giant spider POV shots, Patty Duke wearing a dark wig and mangling a German accent while acting all crazy, sexy, and mysterious, an obvious stuntman doubling for an actress who takes a fatal spill out of a window, and an "it ain't over yet!" ending that leaves the door wide open for a sequel that was alas never made. Moreover, the able cast do an admirable job of not cracking up over the absurd material: Donna Mills as the distraught Leigh Lockwood, Max Gail as easygoing detective Ragsdale, Vic Morrow as the gruff Lt. Gully Conti, Jeff Corey as sage Native American Aspa Soldado, Sid Caesar as smarmy flesh peddler Lazlo Cozart, and, best of all, Roz Kelly, who provides plenty of spark as Highbie's sassy secretary Flaps. A real hoot and a half.
Okay last episode
"Hatred Unto Death" - A savage wild gorilla (George Barrows in a nifty ape suit) develops an immediate disdain for macho anthropologist Grant Wilson (a solid performance by Steve Forrest) as well as a hankering for Grant's more compassionate wife Ruth (an appealing portrayal by Dina Merrill). While the fairly involving story proves to be pretty predictable, it at least builds to a n exciting climax and ends on a satisfying downbeat note.
"How to Cure the Common Vampire" - Yet another extremely slight and corny short comic vignette with a dopey punchline.
Polanski Meets Macbeth (1972)
Excellent behind-the-scenes documentary
This 48-minute behind-the-scenes documentary offers a fascinating and illuminating glimpse of Roman Polanski hard at work making his adaptation of Shakespeare's "Macbeth." We see the very precise and exacting Polanski really put the cast and crew through their paces as he does multiple takes of complex scenes that in one particular instance encompasses the use of hundreds of extras. One gets the impression from watching Polanski toiling away that making a movie entails a tremendous amount of both time and effort. Star Jon Finch describes Polanski as autocratic while producer Andrew Braunsberg tries to keep his composure after the film goes over schedule and subsequently over budget as well. Moreover, the sight of Polanski pouring fake blood on a child extra is simply priceless. Recommended viewing for fans of the film.
The Tragedy of Macbeth (1971)
Magnificently grim Shakespeare adaptation
Roman Polanski brings a bleak and black heart to this shattering tale of Scottish lord Macbeth (superbly played with brooding intensity by Jon Finch) who murders his way to the king's throne only to be fatally undone by guilt and his own blindly ruthless vaulting ambition that beats strong and fierce. Polanski's vivid and nightmarish evocation of a grim, grimy, and gritty medieval world looks and feels both accurate and authentic. The potent sense of authenticity is further enhanced by the desolate countryside and genuine castle locations as well as by the bloody'n'brutal swordfights that literally cut right to the gory meat of the matter.
Finch astutely nails the underlying insecurity raging underneath Macbeth's cocky veneer. Francesca Annis delivers a splendid and subtle performance as Macbeth's pitiless and conniving wife. Moreover, there are sturdy supporting contributions from Martin Shaw as loyal friend Banquo, Nicholas Selby as the jolly King Duncan, and Terrence Taylor as the vengeful Macduff, Sydney Bromley has an amusing bit as a crotchety porter, and Masie MacFarquhar, Elsie Taylor, and Noelle Rimmington are memorably grotesque as a trio of hideous hag witches. Gilbert Taylor's exquisite widescreen cinematography offers a wealth of striking images. But it's the startlingly stark and savage sensibility that Polanski injects into the dark material that in turn gives this film its undeniable raw power. Essential viewing.
Engrossing and illuminating documentary
This documentary covers a lot of interesting and informative ground on screenwriter Waldo Salt, who managed to recover from being a victim of the 1950's Hollywood blacklist and went on to win well deserved Oscars for his sterling scripts for "Midnight Cowboy" and "Coming Home." Salt came to Hollywood at age 20, wrote his first script at age 22, and joined the Communist party at age 24. Moreover, Salt's father was a rightwing extremist and his mother was a recluse, Salt as a result of being blacklisted didn't write any movie scripts for eleven years, and as a direct result of this latter situation wound up writing for television under various pseudonyms. In addition, Salt was a fearless moralist with an intolerance for reality who approached screenwriting as an artist.
The testimonies from such folks as Jon Voight, Robert Redford, his wife Mary Davenport, daughter Jennifer Salt, fellow writers Ring Lardner Jr. and Paul Jarrico, director John Schlesinger, and producer Jerome Hellman further confirm Salt's status as a man of exceptional talent and integrity. Salt himself in his archive interview segments comes across as a real smart, modest, and amiable guy. A nice portrait of a true artist.
Happy Death Day (2017)
Reliving your last day until you get it right
Self-absorbed college student Tree (a delightfully tart and spirited performance by the fetching Jessica Rothe) finds herself trapped in a nightmarish continual cycle in which she reexperiences the day she was murdered over and over again until she figures out the identity of her killer.
Director Christopher Landon keeps the involving and tricky story moving along at a brisk pace as well as expertly builds plenty of tension, maintains an engagingly breezy and sardonic tone throughout, and stages the shock set pieces with skill and flair. Scott Lobdell's clever script offers lots of neat variations on the time loop premise, further spices things up with amusing touches of inspired sharp humor, and even provides a surprisingly touching transitional arc for Tree in which she eventually learns to become a better and more considerate person.
Moreover, it's acted with zest by a game and capable cast, with especially praiseworthy contributions from Israel Broussard as bumbling nice guy Carter, Ruby Modine as sweet roommate Lori, Charles Aitken as hunky professor Gregory Butler, and Rachel Matthews as the snarky Danielle. Rothe's winningly brash persona keeps this movie humming and makes Tree an easy character to both root for and care about. Bear McCreary's robust score hits the rousing spot. Toby Oliver's glossy widescreen cinematography gives this picture an impressive slick look. A super fun and satisfying winner.
Female Chauvinists (1976)
Funny and racy romp
A smarmy photographer persuades his female associate Boopsie (a lively portrayal by voluptuous redhead knockout Roxanne Brewer) to infiltrate a group of militant feminists who vehemently despise men. Moreover, Boopsie's hunky boyfriend Vince (likeable Rick Dillon) also infiltrates the group by pretending to be deaf and dumb.
Director Jourdan Alexander keeps the enjoyably inane story zipping along at a snappy pace and maintains an amiable lighthearted tone throughout. Granted, the humor is pretty lowbrow and the feminists are drawn as broad caricatures, but this movie is still quite amusing just the same. Of course, there's also an ample abundance of tasty bare female skin on display (Brewer even rides a horse topless at one point). It also helps that the always welcome Ushi Digard is around to bare to her plentiful wares. Nora Holliday contributes a hilarious turn as ramrod ringleader Ms. Fullabull. A total hoot.
Hot Connections (1973)
Reach out and seduce someone
Callous married cad Arnold Thaxton (a nicely smarmy portrayal by Christopher Geoffries) works for the phone company and frequently has affairs with his lady coworkers. After Arnold fires a switchboard operator in the wake of knocking her up, his militant feminist ex-wife Marilyn (Tallie Cochrane in fine feisty form) and her fellow women's lib friends decide to get revenge on him.
Director James Hong -- yep, that James Hong of a hundred films and TV shows -- keeps the enjoyable story moving along at a snappy pace and maintains an amiable lighthearted tone throughout. Moreover, there's a generous abundance of tasty bare distaff skin and the simulated soft-core sex scenes are pretty hot, with a bathtub-set tryst rating as a definite sizzling highlight. The lively cast of familiar sexploitation cinema regulars helps a lot: The ever-adorable Rene Bond as sweet secretary Angie (Rene looks positively smashing in a skintight red vinyl dress), Cindy Daly as tough karate expert Joan, Sandy Dempsey as a lascivious lesbian, and Marge Lanier as the frustrated Cynthia Hanes. Jay Scott also contributes an amusing turn as Arnold's meek buddy George. A bawdy hoot.
Night Gallery: Die Now, Pay Later (1973)
A rare comic segment that works
Irate Sheriff Ned Harlow (a lively performance by Slim Pickens) suspects that the alarming rise in the death rate in his small town is being caused by the January clearance sale offered by local funeral director Walt Peckinpah (an equally dynamic and entertaining portrayal by Will Geer).
Director Timothy Galfas relates the enjoyable story at a snappy pace and gets plenty of laughs from the funny sense of blithely black humor. The two leads have a ball with the darkly humorous material and strike up a genuinely engaging chemistry. Jack Laird's witty script makes hysterical points on the practicality of Peckinpah's sale and concludes with a wickedly amusing punchline.
Night Gallery: Room for One Less (1973)
Silly one note sketch
An ugly malformed alien enters a crowded elevator. When the elevator operator informs said alien that the elevator can only hold a maximum of ten people, he makes the operator disappear. And that's about it, folks. Barely lasting a minute long, this slight single joke anecdote is moderately amusing at best. Moreover, it's no surprise that Rod Serling didn't care for these dopey tongue-in-cheek comedic filler shorts that were a specialty of producer Jack Laird. With the notable exception of the one starring Victor Buono as a picky cannibal, they frankly aren't that funny and tended to stick out like proverbial sore thumbs.
Sisters, l'autopsie (2004)
Nifty retrospective documentary
This 26-minute retrospective documentary covers some interesting and informative ground on the making of Brian De Palma's "Sisters." De Palma reveals that he got the idea for the story from a photograph of female Siamese twins featured in "Life" magazine and had to convince a producer that it's possible to place a dead body in a folding couch. Producer Edward R. Pressman points out that he raised the money for the budget through credit. Editor Paul Hirsch shares a great story about receiving a savage tongue lashing from legendary cantankerous composer Bernard Herrmann. William Finley notes that there was almost no improvisation and Margot Kidder helped him with his French accent. Moreover, there's also an in depth discussion on the use of split screen, the movie was initially shot with a non-union crew, carnival freaks were used as extras for the dream sequence, and the main female characters were specifically written for Kidder and Jennifer Salt to play. Worth a watch for fans of the film.
Quatermass and the Pit (1967)
Expertly done sci-fi/horror outing from Hammer
Professor Bernard Quatermas (superbly played with gruff authority by Andrew Kier) is called in to investigate a mysterious ship and several skeletons that are unearthed in the London subway system. Quatermas uncovers a powerful ancient and maleficent alien force that had a hand in mankind's evolution that still posts a threat to the human race.
Director Roy Ward Baker relates the intricate and intriguing story at a steady pace, ably crafts a spooky atmosphere along with an underlying sense of encroaching dread, gradually builds a substantial amount of tension, and stages the exciting climax with skill and flair. Nigel Kneale's bold and intelligent script brings up several fascinating and provocative questions pertaining to preconceived notions concerning science, history, and religion. Moreover, the excellent acting by the top-rate cast keeps this movie humming: James Donald as the pragmatic Dr. Matthew Roney, Barbara Shelley as Roney's loyal assistant Barbara Judd, Julian Glover as the bullish and arrogant Colonel Breen, Duncan Lamont as easygoing workman Sladden, Peter Copley as the skeptical Howell, and Edwin Richfield as the equally incredulous Minister of Defense. Kudos are also in order for Arthur grant's crisp cinematography and Tristram robust'n'rousing score. An on the money winner.
Night Gallery: Death on a Barge (1973)
Worthwhile vampire tale
Forlorn young lass Hyacinth (an excellent and enchanting performance by the ravishing Lesley Ann Warren) lives by herself on a barge anchored in a canal and suffers from a fear of crossing over running water. Local Ron (a solid and likeable portrayal by Robert Pratt) becomes smitten with her.
Director Leonard Nimoy relates the engrossing story at a constant pace as well as adroitly crafts an eerie misty atmosphere. Pratt and especially Warren both do sterling work with their roles; they receive sound support from Brooke Bundy as the concerned Phyllis and Lou Antonio as the jerky Jake. Hyacinth's lonely plight and the overall melancholy mood give this episode an extra haunting poignancy. Moreover, this particular show earns additional praise for concluding on an inevitable, yet still effective tragic note.
Funny hardcore spoof of the superhero genre
Bubblehead superheroine Ms. Magnificent (an endearingly ditsy portrayal by the gorgeous Desiree Cousteau) must save our planet as well as her kidnapped boyfriend John (likeable Larry Davis) from the evil clutches of her intergalactic arch nemesis Kreeta Borgia (robustly played to the lip-smacking wicked hilt by Jessie St. James).
Director Joe Sherman, working from a blithely dippy script by John Finegold, keeps the enjoyably inane story zipping along at a brisk pace and maintains an amiable tongue-in-cheek tone throughout. The sex scenes are pretty hot and energetic. Moreover, it's acted with zest by an enthusiastic cast: Mike Horner as nerdy newspaper editor Clark Click, Molly McCall as intrepid reporter Lois Lay, David Morris as the sleazy Jake, John Seaman as the suicidal Charlie, and Sharon Kane and Jesse Adams as two of Kreeta's flunkies. The rinky-dink (far from) special effects are hilariously shoddy. The funky-grinding music hits the right-on groovy spot. A total hoot.
Be careful what you ask for
Bitter alcoholic Molly Wheatland (robustly played with lip-smacking glee by Geraldine Page) conjures the spirit of ghost Jamie Dillman (a solid performance by John McMurty) who resides in the woodwork of her attic to take care of her ex-husband Charlie (a fine and likeable portrayal by Leif Erickson).
Director Edward M. Abroms relates the enjoyable story at a constant pace, ably crafts a pleasing spooky mood, and makes nice use of the cobwebby attic setting. Moreover, Page has a field day with her colorful and unpleasant character. Rod Serling's clever script offers a nifty twist by presenting a ghost that just wants to be left alone and doesn't want to be bothered by anyone, which naturally results in a fitting nasty comeuppance for Molly at the end.
Star and co-producer Edward James Olmos talks at length about the making and distribution of the indie Western "The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez" in this engrossing and informative 28-minute interview. Olmos points about that the movie was the first to feature an American hero of Latin descent and proudly notes that it is widely considered the most authentic Western in cinema history. Olmos further discusses why he hand picked Robert M. Young to direct the picture and reveals that the courthouse used in the movie was the actual courthouse that the trial for Gregorio Cortez was held in as well as that a real judge appears as the judge in said trial sequence. Olmos also goes in detail about how the wide national theatrical release for the film was sabotaged by a man who didn't like the movie. Worth a watch for fans of the film.
An excellent medical thriller
Spunky and determined Dr. Susan Wheeler (a terrific performance by Genevieve Bujold) suspects that something is amiss at the hospital she works at after a large volume of healthy patients develop complications while undergoing routine operations that cause them to slip into comas.
Writer/director Michael Crichton relates the gripping story at a constant pace, expertly crafts a considerable amount of nerve-wracking suspense that develops in a gradual, yet steady manner, and wisely puts a pronounced enhance on the story and characters over any fancy gimmicks or loud fireworks. Moreover, Crichton grounds the premise in a thoroughly believable workaday reality which in turn gives this movie an extra chilling edge.
Bujold simply shines as a highly sympathetic and courageous protagonist who's super easy to root for and care about. Michael Douglas also does well as Susan's skeptical boyfriend Dr. Mark Bellows who initially seems like kind of a jerk. In addition, there are sound contributions from Richard Widmark as tough, but fair administrator Dr. Harris, Elizabeth Ashley as the sinister Mrs. Emerson, Rip Torn as the stern Dr. George, and Lance LeGault as creepy assassin Vince. Lois Chiles and Tom Selleck have small roles as ill-fated patients while Ed Harris makes his film debut as a pathologist. Kudos are also min order for Victor J. Kemper's slick cinematography and Jerry Goldsmith's chilling score. An on the money nail biter.
Young Girls Do (1984)
Nifty vehicle for Erica Boyer
Prim'n'proper college student Mary Ann Rogers (foxy brunette Shanna McCullough) and her more adventurous tomboy gal pal Erica Thompson (the equally fetching Erica Boyer) shed their inhibitions and embark on a series of wild carnal misadventures while researching a term paper.
Director Bob Vosse keeps the eventful narrative moving along at a brisk pace as well as maintains an amiably breezy tone throughout. The sex scenes are pretty hot and explicit. Moreover, Boyer really gets a chance to strut her sizzling stuff: She busts some sexy dance moves, does a scorching BDSM dominatrix number with the delectable Jacqueline Lorians set to Wall of Voodoo's great cover of "Ring of Fire," and even pretends to be a gay man (complete with mustache!). In addition, we also get welcome appearances by such familiar hardcore cinema faces as Jon Martin as a guy who deflowers Mary Ann in an airplane bathroom, Paul Thomas as bisexual tennis player Rick, and Herschel Savage as hunky surfer dude Fred. Charles Gray's sunny cinematography gives this picture an attractive bright look. The funky-throbbing score hits the get-down groovy spot. Recommended viewing for Boyer fans.
Die unendliche Geschichte (1984)
A magical and marvelous fantasy adventure with heart and a point
Shy and awkward young boy Bastian (a fine and likeable performance b Barret Oliver) finds himself deeply engrossed in a book about brave teenage warrior Atreyu (an excellent portrayal by Noah Hathaway), who must save the Childlike Empress (Tami Stronach, who's enchanting, but never cutesy) and the glorious land of Fantasia from being destroyed by the evil Nothing.
Director/co-writer Wolfgang Petersen brings a sense of awe, wonder, and tremendous sweeping creativity to the captivating plot along with a more dark and daring sensibility that prevents the premise from becoming too silly or sappy. The world of Fantasia is beautifully well realized: The special effects hold up extremely well, with the assorted animatronic creatures registering as remarkably lifelike and convincing. Said colorful creatures include friendly luck dragon Falkor, gentle giant Rock Biter, scary wolf G'mork, and apathetic turtle Morla.
Gerald McRaney contributes a solid turn as Bastian's preoccupied father while Sydney Bromley and Patricia Hayes provide amusing comic relief as a couple of bickering gnomes. Jost Vacano's sumptuous widescreen cinematography provides a wealth of striking visuals. The ethereal synth score by Klaus Doldinger and Giorgio Moroder does the tuneful trick. Best of all, this film even makes a sweet and touching point about the importance of never losing one's capacity for hope and ability to make dreams come true with the sheer power of pure imagination. A total treat.