December 23, 2015

River Of No Return (1954)

Marilyn Monroe is sweet, smart, sassy, sexy, strong and sonorous in River Of No Return. Robert Mitchum and Tommy Rettig play the dad and boy entranced by Monroe's mellifluous moves. Despite two misogynistic scenes involving Monroe (one involves the finale) and the film's treatment of Indians, Otto Preminger has fashioned an exciting western and Monroe is the consummate actress in one of her best movies.

August 9, 2015

Some Like It Remade

In the mid 1950s, Billy Wilder wanted to remake the 1935 French film Fanfare d'amour> but the screenplay of that film could not be found so Wilder and company procured the rights to remake the 1951 German remake of the French film titled Fanfaren der Liebe. In 1959, the American remake of the German remake of the French original was released and is recognized as one of the funniest and most perfect (despite its last line) movies of all time. In 1972 Sugar, the American musical remake of the American remake of the German remake of the French original, premiered on Broadway and ran for over a year before closing - thus ending the remake saga of Some Like It Hot.

August 7, 2015

Stuff Like That There By The King Sisters

Betty Hutton sang it for the charts, Bette Midler sang it for the movies, Kelly Clarkson sang it for American Idol and Seohyun sang it for Asia but The King Sisters sang Stuff Like That There (music by Jay Livingston and lyrics by Ray Evans) first. The sisters were a vocal quartet who formed in the early 1930s, had several hits during the big Band era and ultimately joined the larger King family to host the ABC television series The King Family Show in 1965. The King Family musical tradition carried on into the 21st century when sister Luise's grandson Win Butler co-founded the alternative rock group Arcade Fire with, among others, his brother William.

First time on YouTube!!

August 1, 2015

Amanda's (1983)

Amanda's is the short-lived 1983 sitcom starring Bea Arthur that came between her 1970s success as Maude and her 1980s success as Dorothy Zbornak in The Golden Girls. The show is based on the British comedy Fawlty Towers starring John Cleese and centered around the owner and staff of a seaside hotel. Not one of the 13 episodes filmed (all available on YouTube) is particularly funny but if you are a Bea completist, it's worth checking out.

Episode 1

Episode 2

July 27, 2015

Plague (2014)

Plague is not The Walking Dead or a Romero type zombie film. It's more about the disintegration of a marriage due to the circumstances of the unidentified (but zombie-creating) bacteria. The acting is decent and the script well-formed so if you're into a (Harold) Pinter-esque take on the zombie apocalypse then Plague is for you.

July 18, 2015

These Final Hours (2014)

Australia's These Final Hours is another winner in the I've never heard of this movie sweepstakes. It takes place in the final hours before Earth will be destroyed by a meteor; this event is the catalyst for the journey the lead character takes. Written and directed by Zak Hilditch, the film has well thought out characterizations and events but don't expect thrills and chills as the film is a drama at heart (and a romantic one at that).

July 9, 2015

Odd Thomas (2013)

I hadn't heard of the Dean Koontz book Odd Thomas but when I saw his name attached I figured how bad could it be. Well, it's a great occult mystery that has a few layers at it's core, excellent acting, involving characters, and the scary/comic tone of Zombieland. Nicely written and directed by Stephen Sommers, it also seems like we haven't seen the last of Odd.

July 6, 2015

Dead Sleep (1990)

It took me three nights to finish Dead Sleep, the 1990 Ozploitation (Australian exploitation) movie because, you guessed it, I kept falling into a dead sleep. But I like Linda Blair and didn't mind resuming the movie the next night(s). It's not very complex or very thrilling or very surprising in its outcome but I like Linda Blair and she is the star so...

June 25, 2015

Monster (2014)

Monster kicks ass! The 2014 bloody thriller about revenge on a serial killer is nail-biting (and sometimes a bit funny) throughout every bit of its almost two hours. Four star kudos to Lee Min-Ki, Kim Go-Eun and Ahn Seo-Hyun for involving and dedicated performances (especially the latter considering she was only ten years old when the movie was filmed) and writer/director Hwang In-Ho for holding me spellbound.

May 29, 2015

Let There Be Zombies (2014)

Let There Be Zombies is a decent B-flick (on Amazon Prime now) with a script that has some characterization and is not laden with ridiculous actions by the protagonists. It's definitely a funny zombie movie although some of the jokes fall flat, and it's obvious writer/director Andrew Patterson knows his genre as there were shots that seemed direct homages to Night of the Living Dead. It's not scary and it's not very bloody but I still got drawn in by the story and the actors - who were very good in their respective roles - and it's got that social commentary thing running through it.

March 27, 2015

Coherence (2013)

Coherence is touted as a science fiction movie but has more in common with Donnie Darko than Star Trek. Writer/director James Ward Byrkit's 2013 film is a fascinating movie with a great script and development back story. Don't read anything about this movie before seeing it although how you'll manage to do that without reading what I wrote before seeing it is certainly a conundrum; maybe Coherence is the missing piece of this three lines puzzle?!

February 27, 2015

Housebound (2014)

It's not often that I want to watch a movie again right after I've seen it for the first time but that's exactly what I did with Housebound, the fantastically funny horror film from New Zealand written and directed by Gerard Johnstone. Morgana O'Reilly and Rima Te Wiata are spot on as a mother and daughter forced to spend eight months together in their haunted, childhood home. In spite of (or because of) the story cues from ABC Movie Of The Week, it is an almost perfect movie.

February 23, 2015

Billy Club (2013)

Billy Club is not earth-shatteringly bad or resoundingly refined. It's a typical revenge slasher film with a denouement I've seen before. It wasn't badly filmed, kept my attention (especially the truck kissing scene with writer/director/actor Nick Sommer) and had a premise about bullying but that's all I got.

February 18, 2015

Rebound (2013)

Although Rebound starts out as cheesy crap (despite the bra on the girl in the sex scene), it definitely proved itself as worthy of attention. I was never sure who was the bad guy and once the answer was clear it still went in a number of atypical directions. It doesn't break any new ground but writer/director Megan Freels creates a creepy movie with some nice camera work; certainly worth a watch for those into the horror genre.

February 15, 2015

The Cottage (2012)

Wow, David Arquette must really need the money for alimony and child support to have taken the lead role as a Manson-like pedophile in The Cottage, a cinematic piece of shit posing as a Lifetime drama. The script is misogynistic, the characters and situations stock, and the only redeeming values are the cottage (a beautiful property on which most of the movie takes place), Arquette's nude swim and the little seen movie poster in the style of Saul Bass. I posted a JPG and created a triptych so you can go on with your day.

January 31, 2015

Scourge (2008)

Scourge doesn't trod any new ground but it's decently involving and the titular corrigia, created using CGI, was well-done. For this type of B-movie the script could've been worse and the acting was decent; when the femme lead was fighting the corrigia she actually looked like she was fighting the corrigia - in spite of the fact that she was fighting nothing. It might've been better had the movie answered some of the questions asked by the characters themselves regarding the corrigia (which means shoelace while scourge means whip) but you can't have it all.

January 10, 2015

Mary, Queen Of Scots and the First Snuff Film?

Mary, Queen Of Scots (aka Mary Stuart) was six days old when her father, King James V of Scotland, died and she became the Scottish queen, but the real controversy surrounding this royal occurred when the very Catholic Queen Mary I of England died and was succeeded by her half-sister, the very Protestant Elizabeth I - both fathered by King Henry VIII. In the eyes of many Catholics, Elizabeth was illegitimate, and Mary Stuart, as the senior descendant of Henry VIII's elder sister, was the rightful queen of England. Katherine Hepburn and Vanessa Redgrave both played her on film but Mary Stuart's first cinematic appearance was in 1895 when the Edison Laboratory created a short film depicting her execution; the jump cut right before the beheading was so convincing to audiences of the time that many (would have) believed it to be the first snuff film - had that term been in the lexicon of the 19th century.