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…]

The Eiger Sanction (USA 1975)

A retired assassin, resigned to a life as an art professor and collector, one Jonathan Hemlock (Clint Eastwood) reluctantly agrees to take on the task of one last “sanction” when he learns that the targets are responsible for the death of an old friend. Discovering that one of the killers is among an expedition to climb the Eiger, he must discern the identity of the target and take him out, all whilst scaling the deadliest mountain in all of Europe. He must also show off his physique, know his wines and encounter some mean bitches along the way. In other words, Clint must try to be James Bond–but he doesn’t have that certain je ne sais quoi.
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Die, Monster, Die! (1965 USA)

The original script for this adaptation of H. P. Lovecraft’s The Colour Out Of Space was so bad, written by Jerry Sohl, that the crew behind the camera could not stop giggling. At one point, actress Freida Jackson, wailed: “I can’t speak these lines. They’re unspeakable!” So director Daniel Haller had to rework the narrative mess. Despite his surgery, unintentional laughter remains. During an absurdly tense meal time scene, a servant collapses to the floor–taking the tablecloth and cutlery with him. Inspector Clouseau couldn’t have done it better.
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A View To A Kill (1985 United Artists)

All James Bond films are too long as the only segments that the public really wants to see are the women (who sometimes disappoint), the gadgets and the stunts/chases. Please don’t complain about the acting, script, plot development, music, etc… All of these elements are by-the-numbers in all Bond movies. The gist is how serious a particular 007 film takes itself, and if the pretentiousness this time around is overwhelming. In his goodbye performance, Roger Moore manages to remarkably combine all the best elements of his previous Bond movies, and comes up with a perfect way to leave behind Bond and Her Majesty’s Secret Service. [Read more…]

While The City Sleeps (1956 USA)

Fritz Lang’s second to last American feature is one of his most cynical pieces of work, consisting of two plot threads deftly coiled together to create an ironic whole. When media mogul, Amos Kyne, dies his playboy son takes over the seat of power. But, knowing he is unable to manage such an organization, he decides to create an executive directorship just below his role to do all the real work and manage the company day by day. Meanwhile, a maniac–‘The Lipstick Killer’– is stalking the city, strangling young women in their homes. [Read more…]

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