Jan 2007

Verson Jetorix watched:

 

THE MOLE PEOPLE (56, encore)
Classic 50s sci-fi, still loads of fun.  John Agar rules!
 

 

 

 

 

MONSTER ON THE CAMPUS (58)
An irradiated Coelacanth causes heck at a small college.  Arthur Franz is the "Jekyll and Hyde" scientist.  With Whit Bissell, a hot Joanna Moore and some cool modern art.
 

 

SPY IN YOUR EYE (65, encore)
Rather dull spy caper with an interesting cast: Brett Halsey, Pier Angeli, Dana Andrews, Gastone Moschin, Luciano Pigozzi, Massimo Righi, et al.  See The Eurospy Guide for complete review.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE DESCENT (06)
Good old-fashioned, body count horror movie about spelunking chicks.  Same old story but well-told with allusions to the classics in plain sight.
 

 

THE ILLUSIONIST (06)
Twisty period romantic adventure is spiced with the supernatural overtones of magician Edward Norton's abilities as he takes on the monarchy in Vienna for his beloved.  It may not fool every audience but it is visually well-crafted, and the score by Philip Glass lends a commanding gravity.  Paul Giamatti does a great Werner Peters impression throughout.
 

 

A STOLEN FACE (52)
This wishy-washy "Hammer Film Noir," directed by Terrence Fisher, can't make up its mind whether it's dark romance, Hitchcockian thriller or medical horror.  Hence it does none of the above any justice.  Crazy surgeon Paul Henreid sculpts the disfigured face of an incarcerated criminal dame to look like the object of his latest failed love affair (the completely miscast Lizabeth Scott), and then marries her!  Needless to say, the frenzied finale features twice as much inspired thespianism from Liz.  Henreid drinks lots of Johnny Walker to cope, and so would I.
 

 

BLACKOUT (54)
Another "Hammer Film Noir" directed by Terence Fisher.  This time Dane Clark is the chump for a double-dealing, murder-scheming rich twist.  Clark takes his predicted lumps in this complicated, unconvincing upper crust mystery.
 

 

ATOM AGE VAMPIRE (60, encore)
This late-night favorite medical horror/Jekyll and Hyde concoction still holds up due to some good photography, a cool score, and the generally delirious ambience.
 

 

A LAWLESS STREET (55)
A violent, noirish western from Joseph H. Lewis.  Marshal Randolph Scott leads a terrific supporting cast through a brutal few days in the life of the aging lawman.
 

 

TOUCHEZ PAS AU GRISBI (54)
AKA Hands off the loot
Gangsters with impeccable taste fall out over stolen loot.  Jean Gabin and Lino Ventura (in his first role) class up the place.  Fascinating in its simplicity and gorgeously photographed.
 

 


Joe Violente watched:

DON'T GO IN THE HOUSE (80)
Pointless sickie about a guy who was tortured by his mother as a child and now kidnaps women and burns them to death.
 

 

LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE (06)
I laughed out loud.

 

THE BLACK DAHLIA (06)
De Palma's adaptation of Ellroy's Black Dahlia fantasy works for about 20 minutes. The rest is excruciating, right up to the absurd and hilarious ending.
 

 

MILLER'S CROSSING (90)
"The old man's still an artist with the Thompson."
 

 

Ms .45 (81)
One of my all-time favorite revenge/vigilante movies.
 

 

GONE IN 60 SECONDS (74)
The acting is pretty poor but the great driving and dangerous stunts in the 30 minute chase makes it worth watching.
 

 

INVISIBLE INVADERS (59)
Fun low budget horror/sci-fi helped along a lot by John Carradine, John Agar and a bunch of living dead!
 

 

AIRPLANE (80)
Still pretty damned funny....
 

 

CLEAN, SHAVEN (93)
Lodge Kerrigan's haunting portrait of a schizophrenic looking for his daughter gets better and better every time i see it.
 

 

GHOST BREAKERS ()
"How do you take your aspirin, with scotch or rye?" With a belly full of Hendrick's gin, this is really funny. Bob Hope is on fire.
 

 

PHILADELPHIA STORY (40)
Simply wonderful!
 

 

PROGENY (98)
Stuart Gordon and Brian Yuzna deliver a slick looking alien impregnation horror but the leads are very weak, especially compared to the fine supporting cast (Brad Dourif, Lindsey Crouse, Wilfred Brimley). After a half hour it starts getting laughable anyway.
 

 

THE DESCENT (06)
Surprisingly good brit horror not unlike DOG SOLDIERS but much more suspenseful and gory.
 

 

SPARTAN (03)
Val Kilmer strong-arms his way through this fun, fast paced political thriller from David Mamet.
 

 

HELL OF THE LIVING DEAD (80)
I remember seeing this on Showtime 26 years ago- it didn't get any better. Bruno Mattei uses tons of stock mondo footage to pad out this zombie movie and earns a place among the biggest hacks in italy. The motherfucker even has the balls to drag it out to 100 minutes.
 

 

NIGHTMARE CITY (80)
Umberto Lenzi bad makeup zombie movie hackjob. At least the undead move fast and fly airplanes.
 

 

LOST HIGHWAY (97)
This brilliant schizophrenic nightmare is clearly David Lynch's masterpiece.
 

 

CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD (80)
For some reason i love this dream-like gorefest. Maybe it's the Louisiana forest monkeys...
 

 

McCABE AND MRS MILLER (71)
Julie Christie should have gotten naked.
 

 

A LAWLESS STREET (55)
Angela Lansbury should have gotten naked.
 

 

 

Feb/Mar/April 2007

Verson Jetorix watched:

JET LI'S FEARLESS (06)
Personal journey of true-to-life martial arts master is clumsy and obvious as a movie but it is nicely photographed and it has really good fight scenes.  Isn't that what it's all about anyway?
 

 

THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP (05)
Trippy story of a manchild whose dreams merge into reality.  Lots of fun, inventive darkness.
 

 

ASSASSINATION IN ROME (67)
Uninspired, convoluted "international thriller" starring Hugh O'Brian and Cyd Charisse, that has something to do with drugs, gambling and microfilm.  To the good, this Spanish/Italian/French co-production features many recognizable actors and locations, including Cinecitta studios.  Music by Armando Travajoli.  From the director of SMILE BEFORE DEATH and AMUCK.
 

 

HENRY AND JUNE (90, encore)
Quite enjoyed Philip Kaufman's controversial film this time around.
 

 

HOLLYWOODLAND (06)
Liked this story about George Reeves' mysterious death.  It weaves time lines nicely and Ben Affleck is actually good!  Also features hottie Diane Lane and not enough of Bob Hoskins.
 

 

FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION (06)
Another ensemble piece from Christopher Guest.  Definitely not on par with the other films but it still has its moments.
 

 

KEEPING MUM (05)
Enjoyed this genteel British black comedy about a murderous housekeeper with Kristin Scott Thomas, Rowan Atkinson, Maggie Smith and, believe it or not, Patrick Swayze!
 

 

SATANIK (68, encore)
A second viewing did not improve my opinion of this Jekyll and Hyde/crime hybrid.  Other than the low rent Euro-ambience, the presence of Unberto Raho and the "talents" of the poor man's Marisa Mell, Magda Konopka, in the lead, it's really rather dull.


 

 

SLAUGHTER OF THE VAMPIRES (62, encore)
Nice to see a widescreen print of this classic-but-just-ok bloodsucker opus.  The best part, besides the heaving bosoms of the females cast members, is the major role for Dieter Eppler as the fanged one.  The Dark Sky DVD has an interview with "The Deet" as well.
 

 

TENACIOUS D: PICK OF DESTINY (06)
Fucking funny.
 

 

THE PRESTIGE (06)
Serious movie about two rival magicians around the turn of the last century is much deeper and darker than I expected.  Great looking movie with good performances from Christian Bale and Michael Caine, but Hugh Jackman seems in over his head.  Very good indeed.  From Christopher Nolan who made BATMAN BEGINS and is now filming THE DARK KNIGHT.
 

 

BORAT (06)
BORAT sticks a red-hot poker up the asses of Christians, rednecks, drunken frat boys, baggy-pants Negroes and lily-white Americans in general.  Hilarious.

 

 

CASINO ROYALE (06)
Good Bond flick.  He's a bit of a thug for my old-fashioned taste, however.
 

 

THE ASTOUNDING SHE-MONSTER (58)
A boring piece of junk made in four days with no money.  It looks it.  Even Robert Clarke can't help.  Some people like it, most people don't.  Color me the latter.
 

 

ROAD TO PERDITION (02, encore)
Still a terrific and stylish gangster picture.
 

 

KNIFE IN THE WATER (62)
I had never seen Polanski's first film.  Enjoyed it even tho it wasn't what I expected.
 

 

THE DEPARTED (06)
Rockin' Scorsese crime flick.  Like the old days, almost.
 

 

MIRRORMASK (05, encore)
This fantasy from Dave McKean and Neil Gaiman still blows me away.  How do they think of this stuff?
 

 

CHILDREN OF MEN (06)
Really excellent dystopian near-future fable about an earth where no child has been born for 18 years.  And then one appears.  Clive Owen is great as is Michael Caine, of course.  Recommended for the hardened cinephile.
 
 

 


Joe Violente watched:

 

HOLIDAY (38)
Another classic from most of the principles that would later make the great PHILADELPHIA STORY. The witty script has a melancholy tone but the pure genius is that it actually makes you  feel sorry for the filthy rich.
 

 

PICK ME UP (06)
Larry Cohen's installment in the Masters of Horror series isn't too bad. Michael Moriarty is fun as one of two rivaling serial killers. But why do they always have to be so fucking smug?
 

 

NAKED (93)
Mike Leigh's grim and occasionally funny look at modern society becomes increasingly important every time i see it.
 

 

SINGAPORE SLING (90)
The above photo depicts the main character's memory of her father taking her virginity. Enough said, except i'm an unrepentant fan of this hilarious and disgusting and near pornographic spin on film noir favorite, LAURA.
 

 

SHIVERS (75)
Cronenberg started out with a nicely sick bang with this twisted story of a sexual parasite running rampant through a modern high rise.
 

 

HEAT (95)
Michael Mann's epic heist movie plays much better the second time around although Al Pacino is still too over-the-top for me.
 

 

IMPRINT (06)
Takashi Miike's installment in the Masters of Horror series is an exercise in extreme excess. That's the only good part, i guess. The  bad parts are that it is filmed in annoying english-as-a-second-language instead of japanese, and the lead, Billy Drago, is an unbelievably bad actor.
 

 

BARE BEHIND BARS (80)
The above picture is review enough.
 

 

MARIE ANTOINETTE  (06)
Sofia Coppola's dreamy spin on history is chancy and irresistible.
 

 

THIEF  (81)
James Caan is great in Mann's stylish and gritty crime movie.
 

 

OX-BOW INCIDENT  (43)
This tight moral drama with a great cast is sadly just as pertinent now as the time period it is set in.
 

 

MY DARLING CLEMENTINE  (46)
Enjoyable understated western from John Ford. The cinematography is terrific. The great cast includes Henry Fonda, John Ireland, Walter Brennan (as a bad guy!), Ward Bond and Tim Holt. Victor Mature is in it too.
 

 

MARTIN  (77)
It's hard to believe this nasty and stylish "vampire" movie came out the same year as STAR WARS.
 

 

WHY WE FIGHT (05)
Thoroughly engrossing documentary about the American industrial military complex. A must see.
 

 

NOIR NIGHT 1
"Build my gallows high, baby" -  Hosted a night of film noir for some movie lovers fairly new to this style of filmmaking. It lasted two bottles of whiskey and ended at 4am. Films were: OUT OF THE PAST, THE KILLING and ASPHALT JUNGLE.
 

 

THE DEPARTED (06)
This well cast (with one exception) crime movie draws you in quickly and pretty much holds you throughout the 151 minute running time. It's an evenly paced and well balanced story, something Scorsese hasn't really been able to accomplish since GOODFELLAS.
 

 

HAECKEL'S TALE  (06)
John McNaughton's installment in the Masters of Horror series is pretty routine and stagy, just filler to lead us to the hot necrophile chick's gang bang with the undead. It really was... almost worth the 40 minute wait.
 

 

MANNY AND LO  (96)
Two runaway girls kidnap a women to help the oldest girl deliver a baby. It sounds like a tv movie but it's actually pretty good. Scarlett Johansson carries the whole show, and she's really hot. Sure, she was only 11 but she had the body of a 12 year old.
 

SOCIETY  (89)
Anything this horror movie had going for it back in the day is gone now.
 

 

SONNY  (02)
Nicolas Cage's movie about a young man trying to escape the sex trade he was raised in is actually pretty good.
 

 

LOVE AND DEATH ON LONG ISLAND  (97)
Surprisingly enjoyable movie about an old limey who falls in love with a young American actor.
 

 

VENOM  (81)
This one has quite a cast and it's just as bad and funny as everyone says. And no, she doesn't take it off.
 

 

THE PASSENGER  (75)
Spare and arty portrait of an American reporter who decides to trade in his old life for a new one. A bit too spare for me. There's a couple of Gaudi's buildings used for locations though.
 

 

THEY WERE EXPENDABLE  (45)
Outstanding and uncompromising war movie from the great John Ford. The swell cast includes John Wayne, Robert Montgomery, Donna Reed (looking surprisingly hot), Ward Bond, Marshall Thompson, and a 27 year old Cam The Man.
 

 

THE FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS  (06)
Weak casting, sub par effects and an unappealing editing technique make this one pretty forgettable.
 

 

TIDELAND  (05)
Chancy and visually interesting picture from Terry Gilliam about a little girl who uses her imagination to escape the nightmare going on around her.
 

 

 

 

April/May 2007

Verson Jetorix watched:

BEFORE I HANG (40, encore)
One of Boris Karloff's mad doctor flicks for Columbia.  A pretty good one too.  With Edward Van Sloan.
 

 

THE BOOGEY MAN WILL GET YOU (42)
Silly comedy but it's a joy watching the scenes between Karloff and Peter Lorre.
 

 

THE RACETRACK MURDERS (64)
Rather boring by-the-numbers German Edgar Wallace mystery.  None of my fave actors in the cast, although Werner Peters makes a cameo appearance.
 

 

DIVORCE ITALIAN STYLE (61)
Amusing poke at Italian society with Marcello Mastroianni as a frustrated husband out to kill his wife by arranging for her to take a lover, which would therefore allow him to commit a crime of passion.  No classic, but fun enough.
 

 

SWORD OF VENUS (53)
Low-rent adventure with Robert Clarke as the son of the Count of Monte Cristo.  Watchable and mildly interesting for the reunion of Clarke and William Schallert who earlier worked together in THE MAN FROM PLANET X and CAPTIVE WOMEN
 

 

KILL BABY KILL (66, encore)
Wonderful, wonderful!
 

 

HAND OF THE ASSASSIN (67)
Non-stop gothic atmosphere and a good cast make this an excellent ambient-type feature despite the by-the-numbers mystery story.

 

 

MAN WITH THE GLASS EYE (68)
Late-cycle German Edgar Wallace mystery directed by Alfred Vohrer.  Very colorful with terrif tunes by Peter Thomas but not much of a cast.  Still, it's worth hanging onto.

 

 

THE FAR COUNTRY (55, encore)
Parable about an amoral cowboy, James Stewart, who grows a conscience only after his buddy, Walter Brennan, takes a couple in the back.  Not the best of the Anthony Mann westerns he did with Stewart, but it still rides comparatively tall.  JS was one of the great western heroes of all time, and his presence easily carries the picture.
 

 

THE SPIDER (31)
This fun mystery, about a murder that occurs during a magician's performance, was directed by William Cameron Menzies.  The art deco set design and lighting effects alone are worth the price of admission.  Recommended.
 

 

DEJA VU (06)
Haven't I seen this movie before?  Yeah, it was LAURA but things didn't blow up so good in that one.  And LAURA didn't have the ridiculous time travel angle this one does.  I wish I could go back in time about two hours, if you know what I mean.

 

 

IMMORTAL (04, encore)
Enki Bilal's mix of live action and CG is even better the second time around, although it should really be two movies.
 

 

WEREWOLF SHADOW (70, encore)
Gettin' into the Naschy groove for AFF!

 

LITTLE CHILDREN (06)
Edgy neo-soap in the manner of MAGNOLIA, HAPPINESS, CRASH...  Neither better nor worse, except it has Kate Winslet, which is a good thing.
 

 

SATAN'S SLAVE (76, encore)
Second viewing confirms this Brit occult number is flawed but still interesting enough to hang onto due mostly to nudity and gore quotient.
 

 

CAVE OF THE LIVING DEAD (65, encore)
Third tier German vampire tale is redeemed by good locations and accomplished photography.
 

 
 

SHE-GODS OF SHARK REEF (56)
Corman cheapy made in a week, and it looks it.  Two brothers on the run shipwreck on an island inhabited only by pearl-diving women.  One gets the girl, the other tries to steal the pearls and gets... shark death!  Some nice print bathing suit action.

 

 

MONSTER MAKER (44, encore)
PRC sickie still holds up thanks to J. Carrol Naish as the twisted Dr. Markov.  Too bad Glenn Strange didn't have more to do.

 
 

 

THE GOOD SHEPHERD (06)
Good story about the blossoming of the Cold War spy era in America, and a very accomplished film from Robert De Niro.

 

 

WAR BETWEEN THE PLANETS (66)
It's Margheriti time!  As usual in this series, the film makes very little sense but looks great when clean and wide.  Giacomo Rossi-Stuart rocks!

 
 

 

WESTWORLD (73, encore)
Michael Crichton's lean tale of technology gone bad is one of the primo B-movies of the era.

 

 

FUR: AN IMAGINARY PORTRAIT OF DIANE ARBUS (06)
Really interesting and beautifully-shot fantasy about the controversial photographer.  Bravo.

 

 


Joe Violente watched:

FOXES  (80)
That's a 13 year old Laura Dern on the left. i rented this one for the J&B scene. it turns out it's too obscure for the bastards on the J&B panel. i watched the whole movie for some reason and there's no way to make up for it now. "Teenage dopers, what a waste".
 

 

DA ALI G SHOW (00-02)
Season 1 & 2. Sacha Baron Cohen uses three characters (including Borat) to expose and humiliate. Very funny stuff. How he manages to get meetings with important people is truly amazing.
 

 

ALI G INDAHOUSE (02)
Sacha Baron Cohen's full length movie featuring his white rapper Ali G character has its moments but most of it doesn't really work.
 

 

THE QUIET EARTH (85)
The first hour of this end-of-the-world sci-fi is pretty good but it goes to hell and gets routine when the survivors try to "fix" the problem.
 

 

WHAT'S UP TIGER LILY? (66)
Woody Allen's redubbing still cracks me up. Just fast forward over the Lovin' Spoonful shit.
 

 

HAND OF THE ASSASSIN (67)
Strange and ill-logical mystery but fun all the same.

 

 

MAN WITH THE GLASS EYE (68)
Nice photography and lighting, overall weirdness and a high-pitch cop make this mystery quite watchable, not always for the right reasons.

 

 

THE SHIELD: SEASON 5  (06)
Another watchable season thanks to Forest Whitaker as a driven Internal Affairs investigator and a script that actually tackles the problems (and simplistic solutions) from the previous 4 seasons.

 

 

VANISHING POINT (97)
Besides the '70 Challenger, a beautiful Charger and a Cuda are added to the story in this terrible TV remake. Along for the ride are Steve Railsback, Viggo Mortensen and John Doe.

 

 

NEIGHBOR NUMBER 13  (05)
When a quiet man who was traumatized as a kid discovers his tormentor has just moved in the apartment above, it's time to let the vengeful demon loose, Takashi Miike-style!

 

 

WANDERLUST  (05)
Pretty good documentary on road movies with a lot of clips and good interviews. The final segment is really dull though, concentrating on "newer" movies, some of which aren't even road movies, but are included to serve the producer, IFC. And there's some really stupid inserts of the director and editor taking a road trip to inspire them to finish the documentary.

 

 

IMMORAL WOMEN  (79)
What can i possibly say?
 

 

PERVERT!  (05)
Stricty for the Troma retard crowd.

 

 
 

 

 

June/July 2007

Verson Jetorix watched:

PIT AND THE PENDULUM (61, encore)
Classic dose of Corman and Vinnie never fails to delight.  It's got all the elements of what made the Poe series successful.
 

 

TERROR CREATURES FROM THE GRAVE (65)
A surprisingly effective slice of gothic creepiness from Massimo Pupillo.  Loads of atmosphere here as the plague-ridden dead return for revenge.  If you're in the mood this baby will satisfy.  Featuring Babs Steele as a bitch (go figure) and Luciano Pigozzi in the role of Kurt.
 

 

MONSOON (43)
Edgar Ulmer's no-budget South Seas adventure involves gold and whores, and too many songs.  There's a monsoon too, such as it is.  John Carradine is miscast as a rough-and-tumble ladies man but Gale Sondergaard is always an asset.  Okay diversion if you go for this kind of stuff.

 

 

MAN FROM PLANET X (51, encore)
Still an effective, moody piece of paranoid sci-fi from the no budget master, Edgar J. Ulmer.
 

 

ARCHANGEL (05)
This made-for-Brit-TV thriller with Daniel Craig is a fairly engrossing tale of the discovery of Stalin's son.  However, it pretty much blows its credibility in the last half hour.  Typical.
 

 

CASTLE OF BLOOD (65, encore)
Antonio Margheriti's gothic ghost story may be slow moving but it literally drips with atmosphere.  Nice to have on a wide DVD when the mood strikes, even though the pristine quality of the print makes Barbara Steele look more ugly than usual.
 

 

SERAPHIM FALLS (06)
I liked this iconic revenge western overall, even tho it lost its way in the last reel.
 

 

FAY GRIM (06)
I really liked the new Hartley.  It's what you want with Hartley: funny and dangerous.
 

 

PAN'S LABYRINTH (06)
Visually interesting but repellent fairy tale disappoints with its mean-spirited intentions.
 

 

THE DEVIL'S PARTNER (58)
Enjoyable, low-budget hokum has Ed Nelson (as an old man) selling his soul to the devil for two years of life as a young man.  He uses his time wisely to get chicks and change into murderous animals.  Liked it.
 

 

GHOST RIDER (07)
Fairly fun (but silly, of course) FX extravaganza.  Nick doesn't bring anything special to the role, really, and Eva Mendez is terrible.
 

 

APOCALYPTO (06)
Pretty good jungle picture.

 

GIANT BEHEMOTH (59)
Another example of methodical, moodily-photographed Brit sci-fi, but it never rises above the routine.

 

 

BLACK SNAKE MOAN (07)
Off-beat and interesting, with a good cast (Christina Ricci looks terrific).  This takes a turn at the end that is even more unlikely than the rest of the movie, but in the whole, it was well-crafted and worth the time.
 

 

THE PRODIGAL (55)
Lana Turner cranks up the evil charm to corrupt prodigal son Edmond Purdom.  Rather ho-hum but it looks nice.
 

 

CRYPT OF THE VAMPIRE (64, encore)
Better-than-average example of the Italian/Spanish gothics of the period.  Christopher Lee has a good guy role as the dad of the reincarnation of the Karnstein witch.  Good stuff!
 

 

THE NIGHTCOMERS (72)
Annoying prequel to THE TURN OF THE SCREW/THE INNOCENTS has Marlon Brando as Quint corrupting the children and cavorting violently with Stephanie Beacham.  A loser except for the topless SB.
 

 

COLOSSUS OF RHODES (61)
Sergio Leone's official debut is a solid peplum, if a half hour too long.
 

 

UNKNOWN ISLAND (48)
Pretty entertaining tough-talking lost world fantasy with hokey monsters.  Richard Denning and Barton MacLane shine in the Cinecolor light.
 

 

THE HIDEOUS SUN DEMON (59)
Robert Clarke's direction is spotty but there's still enough fun here to be had at least once.
 

 

MALPERTUIS (71)
Harry Kumel crafted an interesting and picturesque art film but it is also cold and somewhat annoying; the same complaint some made about his masterpiece, DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS.  Worth a watch, definitely, for its strange beauty.
 

 

THE HOST (06)
Pretty good Korean monster movie.  It tries too hard and goes on too long, but it's still entertaining.
 

 

PERFUME: THE STORY OF A MURDERER (06)
Mostly excellent tale of a killer on a quest for the ultimate scent.  A feast of sights and smells from Tom (RUN, LOLA, RUN) Tykwer
 

 

 

Aug/Sept 2007

Verson Jetorix watched:

RENAISSANCE (06)
Experimental CGI film noir is interesting to watch but it lacks a certain something.  Perhaps it has to do with the character design or the vocal work (in the English dub) but the overall result is less then compelling.  The artificial environment, obviously inspired by BLADE RUNNER, is wonderful, to be sure.
 

 

PHANTOM FROM SPACE  (53)
No-budget sci-fi will "entertain" only those with a flexible definition of the word.
 

 

ANITA  (73)
Sexed-up sob story - with exploitation fave Christina Lindberg and a barely recognizable Stellan Skarsgard - has enough base elements to keep jaded viewers amused.
 

 

ZODIAC (07)
Excellent mystery with a terrific cast.  Recommended.
 

 

FRACTURE (07)
Better-than-I-thought legal thriller with a nicely worked out ending, for a change.
 

 

CHARLIE CHAN'S SECRET (36)
Most of this mystery takes place inside a weird house, probably the most ambitious set used for a CC film.  Add to this the generally creepy goings on and we have a series fave.
 

 

THE NUMBER 23 (07)
Far more entertaining than I thought it would be, this is a fun ride and one great-looking movie to boot.

 

 

THE 10TH VICTIM (65)
Okay satire set in the 21st century when human aggression is channeled into a hunting game, i.e. hunting each other.  Marcello Mastroianni and Ursula Andress are both damn good looking.  Some cool 60s imagery.  Ripe for a remake.

 

 

SON OF SAMSON (60)
Mark Forest kicks Persian ass!  Li'l hottie Chelo Alonso plays the treacherous bitch queen who commits suicide by jumping into a crocodile tank!  A pretty fun example of the peplum.
 

 

SON OF CLEOPATRA (64)
Mark Damon chases Scilla Gabel's Roman tail across the sands of Egypt!  Typical sword-and-sandal stuff, heavy on the sand.


 

 
 

THE LIVES OF OTHERS (06)
Excellent Cold War drama set in 1980s East Berlin as the Stasi listen in on suspected anti-socialists.
 

 

PRIMER (04)
Super-dense, no-budget sci-fi has something to do with a time travel machine accidentally created by some engineer types.  Purposely convoluted, this was curious enough to warrant at least one more viewing.
 

 

THE PASSENGER (75, encore)
Hadn't seen Antonioni's thoughtful thriller since its original release.  It holds up much better than expected.  A delightful rediscovery.
 

 

THE EARTH DIES SCREAMING (64)
Excellent example of the moody, methodical British sci-fi of the 60's, this time an alien invasion of robots and zombies, all taken care of in 62 minutes.  Bravo.

 


Joe Violente watched:

YELLOW EMANUELLE  (77)
This so called Emanuelle is a Hong Kong brothel-grade "beauty" and doesn't get naked until half way through the movie. Lots of other nudity and exotic locales can't overcome the dull melodramatic script.
 

 

LOADED GUNS  (75)
Fernando Di Leo's crime/comedy isn't nearly as bad as I expected. The first two acts are actually kinda funny and mostly subtle. It's the last act that turns real stupid and slapsticky. At least Ursula Andress shows off her assets.
 

 
 

THE PALE FACE  (48)
In this Bob Hope western, uhh, jebus, did i just write that? A mildly humorous diversion at best. Jane Russell is pretty bad but looks good shooting off her pistols. There's a scene where dentist Hope uses laughing gas on a patient (and himself) and pulls the wrong tooth - sounds a lot like a Blake Edwards movie i once saw...
 

 

THE LAST HUNTER  (80)
Laughable Margheriti Vietnam war movie. The likable cast includes David Warbeck, John Steiner, Tisa Farrow and Luciano Pigozzi as the PX bartender.
 

 

ESCAPE FROM HELL  (80)
Be prepared to take two showers after this mean and dirty women-in-a-jungle-prison movie. Even the many rapes pale compared to the constant verbal abuse dished out by the guards. At least the prisoners are often naked... when you can see through the grime. Anthony Steffen is the sympathetic doc and Luciano Pigozzi has a nice big role as the heartless warden.
 

 

EMANUELLE AND THE LAST CANNIBALS  (77)
This time out the principals from SISTER EMANUELLE, Laura Gemser, Gabriele Tinti and Monica Zanchi, are joined by Susan Scott's bear cub (see left). Why Joe D'Amato likes to mix his erotica with stomach churning gore is beyond me. Only one snake dies and a monkey smokes a Marlboro.
 

 

THE PIT  (81)
A 12 year old bad seed brat finds a pit full of trapped troglodytes out in the woods. He eventually feeds them his tasty enemies including a young girl and a wheelchair bound old lady. The kid is a terrible actor and may have written the screenplay too.
 

 

HELLGATE  (89)
Arnold Horshak stars in this silly horror movie that i think might be a satire, but that's probably being too kind. The acting is uniformly bad but one chick is so fucking bad, possibly even retarded, that when she finally takes her top off you can't even enjoy her implants.
 

 

INLAND EMPIRE  (06)
Crummy looking digital video entry from David Lynch. I can't get past that. I'd have turned it off 20 minutes in if it had been made by anyone else.
 

 

THE WOODS  (06)
Pretty enjoyable haunted school for girls (my favorite kind) with witches and ghosts. Unfortunately, the conventional ending disappoints.
 

 

HANNIBAL RISING  (07)
Way too long revenge tale told without the slightest bit of suspense. At least Gaspard Ulliel as Hannibal is fun and chews it up. Gong Li plays a Jap and gets the best line: "Memory is a knife - it can hurt you". Did Thomas Harris really write that?
 

 

PHANTOM FROM SPACE  (53)
This no-budget sci-fi talkathon is fun enough and just the right length. Leaves lots of room for commentary.
 
 

 

ANITA  (73)
Although Christina Lindberg isn't naked enough, any naked is always a welcome sight.

 
 

 

BEHIND THE MASK:
THE RISE OF LESLIE VERNON  (06)
Entertaining horror satire about student journalists filming a serial killer as he begins stalking some students and revealing all the seemingly supernatural secrets of the trade. Scott Wilson as a retired serial killer makes a nice addition.
 

 

HIGH FIDELITY  (00)
"Charlie, you fucking bitch, let's work it out!"  Unbelievably perceptive and funny.
 

 

GO  (99)
Even more fun the second time around.
 

 

ZODIAC  (07)
Everything's good about David Fincher's nice tight thriLLer. Notice the two L's.
 

 

CAT'S PAW  (34)
MILKY WAY  (36)
These two talkies from Harold Lloyd really aren't that funny but they have enough charm to keep you watching. CAT'S PAW drops the C-word so many times i lost count - Chink that is - at least that was funny.

 

 

THE GATE  (87)
A tree falls over in suburbia opening a gate to hell. And what should come out? Good old fashioned stop-motion demons. Stars a 13 year old Stephen Dorff. Rated PG-13 for no fucking nudity.
 

 

THE NEST  (88)
The dvd cover depicts a hot chick in her underwear getting fucked by a giant cockroach but the promised bug rape never happens. Much of this watchable but very 80's scientist-fucks-up-the-bugs movie was filmed in Bronson Canyon. Rated R for no bug fucking nudity. 

Left: That's Robert Lansing's eye popping out.

 

CRAZY MAMA  (75)
This is the kind of zany crime/road/comedy that makes you wish you had died before the movie started. Died violently. 

Left: Donny Most reading Dell 358.

 

SORORITY HOUSE MASSACRE II  (90)
Oh my gawd. With this sequel, in title only, Jim Wynorski manages to make the original look like  a masterwork. I'm not looking forward to SORORITY HOUSE MASSACRE III anymore...
 

 

THE KID BROTHER  (27)
THE FRESHMAN  (25)
THE KID BROTHER is okay. The end has a great action set piece aboard a ship. The cool monkey from THE CAMERAMAN shows up wearing some big shoes. THE FRESHMAN is pretty typical and a bit sentimental but it has some good laughs, especially the party scene where Lloyd's suit keeps falling apart.

 

MYSTERY TRAIN (89)
Good ole Jarmusch. I could have watched Masatoshi Nagase & Youki Kudoh the whole movie.
 

 

BLACK TEST CAR (62)
Okay drama about two rival car companies. The moralistic ending won't surprise anyone.

 

THE WRAITH (86)
Priceless movie with charlie sheen somehow returning from the dead to do some revenjin and ball Sherilyn Fenn. I just couldn't look away.
 

Left: Sherilyn Fenn's two second tit.

 

EBOLA SYNDROME (96)
Possibly even more tasteless than reported but too annoying to wallow around in the many excesses.

 

 

DEATH PROOF (06)
The most qualified director for this kind of project manages to deliver nearly two hours of grindhouse-lite. Kurt Russell is the only thing keeping this annoying talk-a-thon from being a complete waste of time, and he isn't around enough. There's several references to VANISHING POINT and DIRTY MARY CRAZY LARRY - Go watch those instead.
 

 

Oct/Dec 2007

Verson Jetorix watched:

THE LOOKOUT (07)
Really liked this spare crime thriller about a brain-injured kid cajoled into helping rob the bank where he works.  Low-key performances and interesting - without being showy - visuals.
 

 

1408 (07)
John Cusack makes this sometimes-chilly, sometimes-silly thriller sometimes fun.

 

 

PLANET OF DINOSAURS (78)
Dinosaurs in Bronson Canyon!  Excellent stop-motion dinosaurs in an otherwise terrible movie about astronauts stuck on a primitive planet.  Starring nobody.
 

 

CHOSEN SURVIVORS (74)
Weird post-holocaust eco-horror.  Ten people, unknowingly selected by the government, are drugged and sent to a high-tech (70s style) underground shelter where they are told that nuclear war has broken out.  Then the vampire bats show up.  Killer 70s TV cast: Alex ("I need a probe!") Cord, Bradford Dillman, Diana Muldaur, Jackie Cooper (who commits a rape!), and Richard Jaeckel.  Director Sutton Roley pulls his usual visual stunts.  Fever dream.
 

 

THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE (62, encore)
John Ford's classic western still holds up today, due to the terrific cast, iconic moments that have become cliches and the outstanding black and white photography.
 

 

HORROR ISLAND (41)
Deserted island with a haunted castle and buried treasure.  What's not to like?  Okay, this is a hokey programmer but it was fun.  Dick Foran, Leo "Pancho" Carrillo, and a foxy Peggy Moran.  From the director of THE WOLF MAN, the same year!
 
 

 

NIGHT MONSTER (42)
Serious-minded old dark house body count movie with Bela Lugosi as a mysterious butler.  Definitely a cut above.  Also starring (not enough of) Lionel Atwill, Leif Erickson, and a foxy Irene Hervey.
 

 

DEATH PROOF (06)
Too much "hip" profane yakking and not enough Kurt Russell, one of the great underrated actors of our time.  Some good stunt work with some cool cars tho, and a star turn by Rosario Dawson, a natural if ever I saw one. 
 

 

FIDO (06)
Well-intended 1950s-domesticated-zombie flick feels forced and never really comes to life, so to speak.
 
 

 

THE HOAX (07)
This was surprisingly good.  Not only is the story quite interesting but it's great fun to watch Alfred Molina act circles around everyone else. 
 

 

THE DEADLY MANTIS (57, encore)
Generally looked down upon by fans of 50s sci-fi, I find DM to be enjoyable for the very reasons it is spurned: because it is predictable and generic in the extreme.  It may be dull but it has a good cast, and its lethargy as art is an asset in my book.  It looks great on DVD too.  
 

 

BLACK SUNDAY (60, encore)
It's been just over three years since I saw this last.  It always amazes me, I always see something new, but there are other Bava movies I'm drawn to more frequently.
 

 

THE T-BIRD GANG (59)
Tiny crime film is elevated by Ed Nelson as the slick leader of the gang (he drives the T-bird) and by Shelly Manne's wall-to-wall jazz soundtrack.  
 

 

 

MYSTERY STREET (50)
Agreeable police procedural with a forensic bent and a heckuva cast.  Features Ricardo Montalban, Jan Sterling, and the high class photography of John "THE BIG COMBO" Alton. 
 

 

DAY WATCH (06)
Entertaining sequel to 2004's NIGHT WATCH maintains the same level of sophisticated eye candy and moderately engrossing alternate universe.
  
 

 

BROKEN FLOWERS (05, encore)
Still like Jarmusch's ambiguous poem about love and consequences.  
 

 

PLANET TERROR (07)
Rodriguez is just fucking around.  On my dime.
  
 

 

THE LODGER (44, encore)
Rather ripe but still terrific period noir from John Brahm.  Laird Cregar lets loose as a twisted, murderous psychopath on a Ripper-like rampage.  Primo.

  
 

 

YOU KILL ME (07)
Liked (and didn't like) John Dahl's crime dramedy: good crime stuff but too preachy. Ben Kingsley never did much for me but Tea Leoni was interesting.
  
 

 

AEON FLUX (05, encore)
Live action update of the surreal short films that first surfaced on MTV in the 90s. While supremely silly and a clear failure as engaging science fiction, AF is a fascinating visual experience due in large part to location filming in an unfamiliar Berlin. The monumental, modern architecture of the famous city outdoes anything that could have been accomplished with CGI.
 

 

FIRST SNOW (07)
Guy Pierce is quite good in this film noir set in New Mexico, of all places.  We've been down this road to hell and it feels good.
 

 

GOLIATH AND THE VAMPIRES (61, encore)
One of the wildest, that's for sure, and probably one of the best looking, if a nice wide DVD were available in these parts.
 

 

MR. BROOKS (07)
Way over plotted serial killer riff actually works thanks to top notch performances and a nice, low-key approach.  I dig the edgy Costner.
 

 

SAMSON AND THE 7 MIRACLES OF THE WORLD (61)
Weird peplum has Gordon Scott running around shirtless in Asia to save a Chinese princess.  The scenes where he sneaks around in a crowd--head and shoulders above everyone else--just don't work.  Not a fave.
 

 

HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD (61, encore)
Mind-blowing kaleidescope of color and camera trickery make this a classic.  Oh, and Hercules is in it too.

 

 

PLANET OF THE APES (68, encore)
Still holds up after nearly 40 (!) years as a cogent commentary on religion, evolution, revolution, violence, etc.  Damn you!

 

 

LIFESPAN (74)
Moody mystery set in autumnal Amsterdam boasts more pluses than minuses, including a trippy soundtrack and a persistently dreamlike atmosphere.  And it's always good to see Kinski skulking around in the shadows.
 

 

INVINCIBLE GLADIATOR (61)
Above average sword and sandal movie slides into strangeness at one point when Richard Harrison is swarmed in the arena by a gaggle of dwarves dressed in their little gladiator outfits.  Creepy!
 

 

HERCULES AND THE CAPTIVE WOMEN (61)
Pretty fun peplum is a colorful, photogenic fantasy about the denizens of Atlantis who worship Uranus, which affords the viewer many opportunities to enjoy amusing dialog.
 

 


Joe Violente watched:

PLANET OF TERROR (07)
Rodriguez doesn't take any chances here and grinds out an entertaining non-stop over-the-top action zombie gorefest.
 

 

ALLIGATOR (80)
This fun giant alligator movie holds up well thanks to Robert Forster and big game hunter Henry Silva.
 

 

RETURN IN RED  (05)
Watchable horror movie about a tiny town being subjected to an experimental sound wave weapon. It's really slow moving with a strange noise filled soundtrack that manages to add a lot of tension and dread. But ultimately, the amateurish acting is pretty hard to overlook.
 

 

THE HILLSIDE STRANGLER (04)
Ugly and violent horror with most the right ingredients but there's no real hook. Stars C. Thomas Howell as one of the stranglers.
 

 

NETWORK (76)
Pretty good satire that's even more relevant now.
 

 

ROLLING THUNDER (77)
I like this low key revenge movie more every damn time i see it.
 

 

BRAIN OF BLOOD (72)
This terrible brain transplant horror is all the more depressing because it stars Grant Williams in his last movie.
 

 

HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD (76)
Joe Dante's directorial debut is too zany and silly to be fun. The only thing worth mentioning, besides a bit of nudity, is the short Bava-esque murder scene that doesn't fit in with the rest of the movie. And Dick Miller has a fairly large part.
 

 

TENDER MERCIES (83)
Even with wall-to-wall country music, this is still a very enjoyable down-to-earth American drama directed by an Australian.
 

 

H.O.T.S.  (79) & THE VAN (77)
Two more movies from my cable fed youth that don't hold up well. There's plenty of tits, ass and toe in H.O.T.S but it tries so hard to entertain it ends up being just plain stupid. THE VAN could be worse but none of the naked chicks are worth looking at!
 

 

 

THE CRIMINAL (60)
Typical cold and impersonal Joseph Losey picture filled with unlikable characters. Stanley Baker's commanding performance rises above.
 

 

PIN  (88)
Very well made psychological horror about a kid traumatized by his sterile, over bearing parents.....and an anatomically correct medical dummy.
 

 

MONSTER SQUAD  (87)
Strictly for kids monster mash but i watched the whole thing. And there's a nice in-joke involving an armadillo. Tall Tom Noonan is pictured left playing The Monster.
 

 

THE RAVEN  (63)
Roger Corman's comedic tale of rivaling magicians is enjoyable and actually funny. It's got a great cast but Peter Lorre manages the best laughs.