Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Film Capsule Reviews

Sheba, Baby (1975) - BOMB. Poor Pam Grier flick suffers from dull script, bad acting, little action, no nudity. What were they thinking?? Barbara Mason’s funky soundtrack is its only virtue.

SherryBaby (2006) - ***. Another gutsy role for Maggie Gyllenhaal as a drug-addict ex-con trying to get her life together. Nice to see bad guy Danny Trejo in a sympathetic role too.

Watchmen (2008) - * ½. Expensive, overlong, self-important superhero gobbledygook without one sympathetic character among them. Based on Alan Moore’s celebrated graphic novel.

Whiteout (2009) - * ½. There’s a killer on the South Pole and only Kate Beckinsale can catch him in this trite, illogical time waster.

Die, Mommy, Die (2003) - ** ½. Campy John Waters-like tribute to 50s melodramas stars drag performer Charles Busch as a washed up singer mounting a comeback in the worst possible way. Fun for awhile, but Busch fared better with Psycho Beach Party (2000).

Whip It (2009) - ***. Predictable but likable ‘girl power’ roller derby movie. Excellent work by Marcia Gay Harden and Daniel Stern as Ellen Page’s parents. Directed by Drew Barrymore who also co-stars.

Corsair (1931) - ** ½.. This sturdy, atmospheric rum-runner movie received a bum rap in the Thelma Todd bio, Hot Toddy, but is well worth seeing. Todd has a thankless role as a bitchy society girl in one of her few dramatic performances. Director Roland West’s last film.

The Last Flight (1931)- ** ½. Four shell-shocked airmen decide to stay in France after the war and pursue the same girl (an irritating Helen Chandler ). Borrows alot from Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises (right down to the bullfights). David Manners’ character is remarkably fey, at one time called “a big sissy”. Don’t ask, don’t tell.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

More Must Have Junk for Sale on Ebay!

Neverless33 is selling everything you want!!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Friday, October 1, 2010

Old Movies Ate My Life!

Sally (1929) - ** ½. The first time seeing the fabled Ziegfeld star Marilyn Miller (only a passable actress but sings and dances like the dickens), rubber-legged Joe E Brown, former Sennett star Ford Sterling (quite funny in a Billy Gilbert-like ethnic role) and the hit song “Look for the Silver Lining”… these novelties barely make it bearable to sit through this early sound musical’s inane rags and riches dramatics. The stage version was Brown’s big break and he does a great dance number with Miller. Oddly, I don’t recall Brown dancing in his films at all! Wonder why he gave it up?

The Captain Hates the Sea (1934) - **. This hodgepodge on the high seas stars alcoholic John Gilbert as a drunk in his last role, comic Leon Errol plays it straight and the Three Stooges have barely any screen time (only Larry has dialogue). Unfortunately even with these oddities, the comedy is unfunny and the drama is contrived.

Blow-Out (1981) - **. A wildly inappropriate noirish score and an awful performance by Nancy Allen sink this so-called DePalma “thriller”. The director’s Hitchcock fixation and misogynistic view are in full bloom in this sleazy variation of Antonioni’s Blow-Up. Still one of Travolta’s better performances.

The Chief (1933) - * ½. Fascinating failed attempt to bring radio’s Ed Wynn to the screen. By this time, Wynn (immensely popular on stage , radio, and early television) was about 40 years too old for his “Perfect Fool” persona. Film (by MGM no less) actually ends contrived plot early to showcase Wynn’s radio show. Perennial mug Nat Pendleton is good though.

Hot Rod Girl (1956) - * ½. Tease of a low-budgeter with hardly a ‘hot-rod gal’ in sight. It does have Chuck Connors and Frank Gorshin in early roles. Best seek out the similar but superior Dragstrip Girl (1957) also with Gorshin.

Cotton Comes to Harlem (1970) - ***. Considered by many the film that ushered in Blaxploitation, Cotton is slicker than most and thus less fun, but you still have good period detail, anti-whitey sentiments and gorgeous, naked Judy Pace seducing everyone in sight. Directed by Ossie Davis from Chester Himes’ novel.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Friday, August 13, 2010

Films.....

Sit Tight (1931) - ** ½. Awfully bizarre early Joe E. Brown comedy casts him as a letch in Winnie Lightner’s spa. First time I’ve seen the wisecracking Lightner (who looks like a young Karl Malden in drag) in what is basically a mixed bag of racy burlesque routines stitched together.

Flying High (1931) - ** ½. Mancrazy Charlotte Greenwood outshines the material in this at times unendurable Bert Lahr comedy. As with Joe E. Brown, Bert Wheeler, and other comedians of this era, Lahr’s “cowardly” antics come across as slightly effeminate. Pat O’Brian is out of his element as Lahr’s crony in this George White’s Scandals stage show.

The Better ‘Ole (1926) - *. Painfully unfunny WW1 comedy starring Charlie’s half-brother, Sydney Chaplin, a life-time private who matches wits with Sgt. Edgar Kennedy. Based on a popular British stage hit, this probably isn’t the best way to meet Sydney, who had a lengthy career. I imagine the short was his forte, because he is unimpressive here.

2012 (2009) - * ½. This film coulda used Sydney Chaplin! Every disaster film cliché is employed to bookend the DAZZLING SPECIAL EFFECTS that Hollywood believes we deserve when the world ends.

When Ladies Meet (1933)- **1/2. Myrna Loy competes with Ann Harding for the love of Frank Morgan in this soapy talkfest. Top-billed Harding is pleasant if somewhat dull while Loy exudes star quality. Alice Brady adds amble support, while perennial ‘excitable Italian’ Luis Alberni plays an excitable French valet.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Films, movies and picture shows.

Oldboy (2003) - ***. Crazed, surreal Korean film about a drunken womanizer who is locked up for 15 years, then tries to find out why. Plot holes and occasional lapses in logic actually enhance the film. Well worth seeing.
The International (2009) - ***. Solid actioner has Clive Owen and an underwritten Naomi Watts going against a crooked banking system (shocking!). Scene in the Guggenheim is a standout.
The Merry Widow (1925) - ***. Mae Murray fends off three horndogs (roguish John Gilbert, slimy Roy D'Arcy, and crippled foot-fetishist Tully Marshall) in Erich Von Stroheim's extravagant silent romance. Enough weird Stroheim touches throughout to maintain interest but bogs down considerably in second half.
Gran Torino (2008) - ****. Clint Eastwood's pitch perfect as widower Walt Kowalski, a retired autoworker who begrudgingly befriends his Hmong neighbors. A burning plea for the reestablishing of honor and vanishing values. Awesome.
Navy Blues (1929) - **. Not a 'good' movie by any means, but a wonderful showcase for its two stars, effete William Haines and adorable Anita Page. Haines was #1 male star at the box office that year, though he's clearly outgrowing his 'Silly Billy" persona. Doomed Karl Dane lends good support as a gob.
Jinx Money (1948) - **1/2. Possibly the quintessential Bowery Boys comedy benefits from thug Sheldon Leonard and ham Donald (Room Service) MacBride as police chief. Directed by William "One-Take" Beaudine.
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005) - ****. Tommy Lee Jones stars and directs this sure handed modern day western about a trigger-happy sociopath border patrolman who meets his match when he kills the title character, Jones' best friend. A classic.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Films in Review from me to you

Sat through 3 Walter Huston movies, 2 of which I was dying to see, The Criminal Code (1931) **1/2, and Beast of the City (1932) ** 1/2, and ended up liking The Ruling Voice (1931) ***, which starts off as a classic then peters out into contrived dramatics. Huston's one of my favorite actors, alot of fun to watch him work with mediocrity and still give a riveting performance, as in all three flicks. Jean Harlow is scorching hot in Beast, in a showy role as a moll, and Criminal boasts a prime role for Boris Karloff as a mug.
Youth of the Beast (1963) ***1/2. Best Suzuki film of the few I've seen. Lone wolf infiltrates two gangs and pits them against each other. 60s Style to burn. A must see.
Dead Heat on a Merry Go Round (1966) ** 1/2. Very deliberately paced heist film where James Coburn dons different personas throughout until an abrupt and surprising conclusion. Coburn is always good while everybody else is pretty forgettable except Joey Faye, Rose Marie and Harrison Ford's awkward turn as a bellboy in his 1st movie.
I Love You, Man (2009) **. Contrived, overlong comedy " bromance" scores some laughs early on then drags on and on like most of today's post - Apatow comedies. Never liked Rush either. Passaic NJ 's Paul Rudd who plays basically the same character in Roll Models (2009) ***, a somewhat poignant community service comedy.
Sing Your Worries Away (1942) - **. Grade C musical boasts the novel (and odd) teaming of Bert Lahr and Buddy ( coulda been a " tinman") Ebsen, along with Patsy Kelly and the late June Havoc. Incredibly, this mishmash was the very next movie Lahr made after OZ three years earlier! Margaret Dumont has a small role.
The Men Who Tread on the Tiger's Tail (1945) ** 1/2. Kurosawa's 3rd movie is a very modest soundstage production which relies heavily on the comedic Puck-like antics of Kenichi Enomoto as a porter, which at times are hard to take. It is only as film progresses that you realize his character's importance. For completists only, I'm afraid.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Monday, March 29, 2010

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

You rarely call...


and when you do, it hurts!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Moving Pictures Monthly

Our Dancing Daughters (1928) - ***. "Wild" Joan Crawford battles "pure" Anita Page for Johnny Mack Brown's affections. Add dishy Dorothy Sebastian and you've got the penultimate 'jazz baby' silent film. Lotsa fun.

Defiance (1980) - ***. I remember seeing this at the drive-in back in high school. Merchant marine Jan-Michael Vincent battles New York gang with help from Theresa Saldana, Danny Aiello, Art Carney and future Soprano fixture Tony Sirico. Definitely a film of its time, but done with conviction.

Twilight (2008) - * 1/2. Christ, did this suck.

Le Samourai (1967) - ****. Alain Delon plays the definitive existential hired gun in Jean-Pierre Melville's homage to the American gangster film. A more masterful piece of coolness would be hard to find. Essential.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Cover of the Week #49743312


Bluesman (& Woman) #2

Memphis Minnie & Kancas City Joe McCoy.
Minnie appears to be floating like an angel in this photo.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010