War Gods Of The Deep (1965 UK/USA)

Also known as City Under The Sea but I prefer the above title. Ah, the good old days of sci-fi/fantasy flicks: watching well dressed men sit around sipping Brandy in a study (walnut panelling of course) while the rocket/ship/sub/plane is carrying them to an amazing destination or fate. Taking its theme from an Edgar Allan Poe poem, with an interesting screenplay by Charles Bennett, this fantasy picture packs thrills, weird monsters, a lively pace and fantastic scenarios–all located undersea obviously. The film also seems to be a scrapbook of ideas from other, better, movies like the Roger Corman Poe films, and The Time Machine.
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Throne of Blood (1957 Japan)

Also known as Castle Of The Spider’s Web in Japan. Akira Kurosawa was accused by Japanese critics of being stuck in the past for his heavy use of techniques from Noh, a theatrical tradition that predates Shakespeare by a few centuries. A New York Times review also put the boot in, dissing Mr K’s masterpiece as “serio-comic.” Much of the time, when Shakespeare plays are transferred to different settings, what results is only a shadow of the original, because too many directors have only a limited grasp of what Shakespeare is about… [Read more…]

Night Of The Living Dead (1968 USA)

Along with “Carnival of Souls” and “Dementia 13” this movie stands out as one of the definitive black-and-white horror films of the bygone drive-in movie era. Night ranks among the scariest horror films, partly for raising the bar on gore. Yet raising the bar far higher has made later horror movies far less scary. By the 1980s, horror movies were gore-splattered freak shows with expensive puppets, and now they’re freak shows with digital characters that seem to belong in video games. “Night of the Living Dead,” by contrast, looks like a very cheap documentary. One that cost a mere one hundred and twelve thousand bucks.
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Indiana Jones & The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull (2008 USA)

After a 19 year wait, Indiana Jones came back to the big screen, hamming it up and continuing his search for rare and wild artifacts that could seriously kill ya. Of course, you shouldn’t go into this thinking its going to be as good or better than Raiders or the Last Crusade. I didn’t expect too much and that is exactly what I got. Not too much, but enough to recommend for all fans of the original three to see. Are the first three the best? Of course. Should they have made this fourth one? Probably not. But in the 21st century that’s not a reasonable answer anymore. Its so hard to find new ideas for an action packed extravaganza. [Read more…]

Khartoum (1966 Britain)

This has to be one of the most splendid films ever to come out of Pinewood Studios. Khartoum depicts the last chapter in the remarkable life of Gen. Charles “Chinese” Gordon; another one of those larger-than-life-personages seemingly produced uniquely by Victorian England; such as Sir Richard Francis Burton (1821-1890) or T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia). To that last personage is the best comparison as they were both considered the best commanders of “irregular” forces of their respective times. And like Lawrence of Arabia this film barely scrapes the surface of the man’s life but they couldn’t make it three times longer could they? [Read more…]

Craze (1974 Britain)

I’d seen actor Michael Jayston in a couple of things before this and thought he was a good actor. But after seeing his ‘turn’ (as they used to say in our forefathers day) here as a police detective I just thought “what a tosser, they should have got anyone else!” His Detective Sgt Wall character is so thoroughly unlikable and ill mannered that you almost want him to fail to catch the serial killer running amok on his patch. The script for Craze had enough problems before they cast the wrong man in a role the viewer is supposed to sympathize with. [Read more…]

Ripping Yarns (1976–1979 Britain)

Ripping Yarns is Michael Palin at his best, delivering a one–man tour de force. This is even better than the Monty Python series, which has dated horribly and contains more misses than hits. But Ripping Yarns is still a spiffing good piece of television, even in this 21st century of ours. My personal favourite is Murder At Moorstones Manor, an Agatha Christie–like plot in an English country manor setting that gradually whittles down its cast at the point of a gun. The brilliant shambles of an ending denies the curious viewer the answer to whodunnit.
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Wacky Races (1968–1970 USA)

I admit this is a bit of a waste of time ‘reviewing’ such a limited animated TV series for kids but what the heck. Wacky Races was Hanna-Barbera’s hilarious cartoon spoof of the 1960’s comedy films The Great Race and Those Daring Young Men in their Jaunty Jalopies. The characters are all here; the perfect hero, the lovely damsel, the wacky inventor, the evil villain, plus an assortment of new characters including cavemen, gangsters, monsters, a WWI flying ace, soldiers, a hillbilly and his pet bear, a lumberjack and his pet beaver, plus many more.  [Read more…]

Bottom Live 2003: Weapons Grade Y- Fronts Tour

Following the average Bottom 2001: An Arse Oddity, Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson returned for their fifth and final Bottom tour, which played the length and breadth of Britain in 2003. One of the places they brought the show to was Southend on Sea. The Cliffs Pavilion to be precise. Eddie: “Why don’t you just own up to the fact that you were actually born in Basildon?” Richie: “How dare you? I was born here – I love Southport!” By now they were probably just phoning it in, which is why they upped the quotient of swear words for this one. [Read more…]

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