Friday, July 21, 2017

Man with the Gun (1955)

Director: Richard Wilson

Writers: N.B. Stone Jr., Richard Wilson

Composer: Alex North

Starring: Robert Mitchum, Jan Sterling, Karen Sharpe, Henry Hull, Emile Meyer, John Lupton, Barbara Lawrence, Ted de Corsia, Leo Gordon, James Westerfield, Claude Akins, Angie Dickenson

More info: IMDb

Tagline: His Gun Was For Sale...And His Life With It!

Plot: When a notorious tough 'town tamer' is hired by the citizenry to rid of the gunmen driving them off their land, he finds the local saloon madam to be an old friend.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again?  No.'s OK.  I was hoping for more and there was a moment when the film promised it but then it just kind of ended without much of a sizzle.  Mitchum does fine as the stoic gunfighter who agrees to clean up the town.  He sticks to his rules and shit gets done...until he gets pissed his ex-gal so he kills the owner of the saloon where she works and burns it to the ground.  It would've been nice if the film kept going with that anger and changed the tone of the last act but it doesn't.  The last fifteen minutes builds to the showdown between the bad guy and his right hand man but it's so weak of a buildup and finale that I couldn't help but wonder why they went that way instead of any number of more exciting routes.  I must have blinked during the opening credits because I didn't see who the composer was.  During the saloon fire I knew instantly as the cue sounded far to similar to his fight cue from SPARTACUS (1960), way too similar.  Ultimately the movie is a missed opportunity but it does offer enough entertainment value that it's worth a look for fans of Bob.

Zero Woman: Red Handcuffs (1974)

Original title: Zeroka no Onna: Akai Wappa

Director: Yukio Noda

Writers: Fumio Konami, Hiro Matsuda, Tooru Shinohara

Composer: Shunsuke Kikuchi

Starring: Miki Sugimoto, Eiji Go, Tesuro Tanha, Hideo Murota, Yoko Mihara, Ichiro Araki, Seiji Endo, Hiromi Kishi, Rokko Toura

More info: IMDb

Plot: After a politician's daughter is kidnapped by a ruthless gang, a brutal policewoman is released from jail and sent after them.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again?  Yes.

It's been at least ten years since I saw this and I didn't remember anything about it (thanks, fucked up memory).  At least I had some fun seeing it again for the first time.  Where the lead in this Pinky Violence flick is lacking in charisma (I'll give her the benefit of the doubt that the character is so jaded and burnt out that she's so drab), it makes up in hard violence and lots of nudity (I love the Japanese people so, so much.  Thanks, ya'll!).  The violence is really fucking harsh and in your face.  Like all of the PVs I've seen so far, the cinematography is fantastic with eye popping colors and camera angles that give these films the style they're known for.  The nudity isn't the sexy kind.  When you get it the girls are being raped or tortured.  While it's not a slow film, the finale feels like it's a long time coming.  I could've used a couple of minutes trimmed from that last fifteen minutes but you do get your money's worth with the brutality and action.  The ending delivers a great payoff that leaves enough for the viewer to piece together without having to hold your had to explain it.  It's a good entry into the PV genre but so far, nothing tops GIRL BOSS GUERILLA (1972) which is so good that I don't think there's a better film in the wonderful, crazy world of Pinky Violence.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

10 Rillington Place (1971)

Director: Richard Fleischer

Writers: Clive Exton, Ludovic Kennedy

Composer: John Dankworth

Starring: Richard Attenborough, Judy Geeson, John Hurt, Pat Heywood, Isobel Black, Miss Riley, Phyllis MacMahon, Andre Morell, Robert Hardy

More info: IMDb

Tagline: What happened to Ena and Geraldine and Beryl and Muriel and Rita and Ethel at 10 Rillington Place?

Plot: Based on the real-life case of the British serial killer John Christie, and what happened to his neighbours Tim and Beryl Evans.

My rating: 7.5/10

Will I watch it again?  Sure.

The movie starts of innocently enough and then BAM!  The first kill within a few short minutes!  Nice!!!  Something else happens early on and that's the appearance of John Hurt looking like I've never seen him before...young.  He's always looked old to me ever since I first time I saw him in anything.  It was ALIEN (1979).  I thought he was born middle-aged.  Jokes aside, it was odd seeing him look like he just got out of high school even though he was 29 when he made this.  The plot builds as you know Tim's (Hurt) young bride, Beryl (Geeson), is going to probably snuff it at some point as Christie (Attenborough) is very sweet on her.  See, this is based on the true account of this guy who strangled and then had sex with his victims.  Nearing the halfway mark I was very settled into the film and thinking it was OK but nothing all that great.  Then a certain something happens and there's no friggin' way Christie's getting out of this one.  From that point on I was hooked and taking up a good chunk of the edge of my seat.  The second half is even better than the first.  It's a good film with very good performances.  Some my find it a little slow but do stick with it because it gets interesting really fast just when you think it can't.  It's worth the wait.  An odd aside, this just happened to be the second Richard Fleischer movie I saw within three days.  The other was THE NEW CENTURIONS (1972), another very good picture.

Deadly Trackers (1972)

Original title: La Lunga Cavalcata della Vendetta

Director: Tanio Boccia

Writer: Tanio Boccia

Composer: Carlo Esposito

Starring: Richard Harrison, Anita Ekberg, Rik Battaglia, Furio Meniconi, George Want, Emilio Vale, Dada Gallotti, Omero Gargano

More info: IMDb

Plot: Jeff sets out to murder each one of the five outlaws who robbed, raped and killed his poor sister.

My rating: 4.5/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

Yawn.  Example.  In the first half hour there's a chase (of sorts) of the bad guys chasing a woman on horseback in the desert.  It lasts far too long and the music, which does nothing to build any attention or excitement, is dull and repetitive.  I wouldn't say that that scene represents the problem with the film but it's certainly a real drag on it.  The only thing I thought was interesting was having Jeff (Harrison) makes himself sheriff in the town the bad guys have taken over so he can wait for them to return and kill them.  Even the finale was ho-hum and it didn't help that the time before that was spent in a lull while he and Jane (Ekberg) have tender talking time.  Hell, she's barely in it until at least the last half hour.  It's middle of the road at best but the slow (unintentional, I'm sure) pacing pulls it down.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Night of the Hell Hamsters (2006)

Director: Paul Campion

Writers: Paul Campion, Hadyn Green, Mike Roseingrave

Composer: Andrea Possee

Starring: Ailsa Baker, Beth Charlesworth, Paul Campion, Pete Connell, Ryan Lloyd, Paul O'Neill, Elisabeth Pinto, Stephanie Ratcliff

More info: IMDb

Tagline: From the very pits of hell, furry death on four tiny stumpy feet!

Plot: A young couple unwittingly bring about the apocalypse - by possessed hamsters.

My rating:  7/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

OK, I think I've seen this a half dozen times over the past few years (it's something fun to toss on during a party).  It's one of those things that sound like it began with the title and the filmmakers worked their way backwards.  It is a great title and a fun idea that works well at sixteen minutes. The first half is fast paced and fun but once the hamsters dispose of the first victim that's where things slow down a bit and stays there.  I think since the hell hamsters have been released into the real world they wouldn't muck around, playing with their victim.  Shit would move a lot faster than it does here (thus making it that much more fun for us).  The ending is neat.  Overall it's a cute little film with a surprising amount of gore.  Plus, it's amazing what you can do with editing and sound effects.  It wasn't until I was writing this up that I noticed the writer/director also did THE DEVIL'S ROCK (2011), his only feature film.  That's a very good film and horror fans should seek it out.  Seriously, though, Paul, make some more movies, man!  You've got talent. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Manson Family (1997)

Director: Jim Van Bebber

Writer: Jim Van Bebber

Composers: Phil Anselmo, Ross Karpelman

Starring: Marcelo Games, Marc Pitman, Leslie Orr, Maureen Allisse, Amy Yates, Jim Van Bebber, Tom Burns, Michelle Briggs, Sherri Rickman, Nate Pennington, M.M. Jones, Carl Day, Jim Sayer, Mark Gillespie, Paul Harper, Norris Hellwig

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The most notorious mass murderers in American history

Plot: A dramatization of the horrific and notorious Manson Family Murders, in the form of super 8 home movies.

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again? Oh, yeah!

What a powerful film.  Writer/director/actor/producer/editor/special effects guy Van Bebber so much into this that it had to be a labor of love and it shows.  It's a brilliant picture incorporating interviews, drama, documentary style scenes, re-creations and all kinds of techniques to form a great narrative that goes where all other films and documentaries I've seen don't dare go.  It's the underground, not-afraid-to-show-it story of what happened before, during and after their infamous murders and it doesn't pull any punches.  It's loaded with nudity and gore.  Much of the picture looks authentic as if it were shot nearly fifty years ago.  The sound is fantastic and it's at times almost a collage of words, music and effects that don't fit the typical narrative but it works beautifully here.  It's trippy, ballsy and simply down & dirty fantastic.  Highly recommended.  I've got the Blu-ray set now for the next time I'm ready for a re-vist.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Director: Jon Watts

Writers: Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley, Jon Watts, Christopher Ford, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers

Composer: Michael Giacchino

Starring: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr., Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Gwyneth Paltrow, Zendaya, Donald Glover, Jacob Batalon, Laura Harrier, Tony Revolori, Bokeem Woodbine, Tyne Daly, Abraham Attah, Hannibal Buress, Kenneth Choi, Jennifer Connelly, Stan Lee, Chris Evans

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Homework can wait. The city can't.

Plot: Peter Parker, with the help of his mentor Tony Stark, tries to balance his life as an ordinary high school student in New York City while fighting crime as his superhero alter ego Spider-Man when a new threat emerges.

My rating: 9/10

Will I watch it again?  Yes!

I LOVED IT!  This is the funniest of the Disney Marvel movies so far.  The action is great, the cast is top drawer, the music, story, the works.  I loved the emotional beats between Peter Parker and Tony Stark.  They felt earned.  When it comes down to it, despite the 133 minute run time, I could've used a lot more - partly because it was that damn good and I wanted to spend more time with the characters and partly because I would've liked to have spent more time character building. Tom Holland is fabulous as Parker/Spider-Man.  He's a lovable spaz.  I really dug how Tony Stark is branching out as a pseudo-father figure.  Captain America's bits are hilarious and what he brings after the credits had me howling.  And speaking of laughing, I lost my shit with laughter with Aunt May's line just before the end credits began.  My only head-scratching moment is the ferry scene.  How could that boat stay afloat when sliced in half?  I'll pay more attention the next time I see it.  Oh, and one more thing, I love what they did with Toomes, giving him a lot of humanity and a very justifiable motive for being the bad guy.  He's charming, funny and very dangerous and menacing.  Keaton is outstanding in the role and I wanted so much more time with him.  I guess that's the biggest compliment I can give is that I had so much fun I didn't want it to end.  I hope this movie makes all the monies.