Thursday, July 31, 2014

Ripped Off (1972)

An Italian action crime film directed by Franco Prosperi, starring Robert Blake and Ernest Borgnine.
A young boxing champion's criminal manager is killed and he is the prime suspect. To save himself from jail, he must find who really killed the manager.
Upon reading the plot after viewing the film, most of the film had little to do with the plot. It seems like an awful lot of Stephen King style setup for a cheap Italian crime film. The characters were barely identifiable and easily confused due to stereotypical '70s fashion choices. Fortunately for us, most of the bad guys had mustaches and the good guys had relatively clean shaven upper lips. The audio and video were lo-fi '70s standard and I was afraid that I was turning on a kung fu film when it first started. The style was generic enough to deserve no further description. The only scene that caught my attention was in the diner, the main character pours various items onto the counter and mixes them together. Overall, it's just another '70s crime flick. I rate it poor.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Origins & Oracles (2006)

An Irish documentary by Michael Tsarion.
Esoteric researcher Michael Tsarion shows slides and explains how his research has lead him to see things in the world. He covers subjects like astrology/astronomy, secret societies, religion, mythology, symbolism and the meaning of words.
With a total duration of over 30 hours, this is definitely the longest thing I've ever watched. With just Mike T. talking and a slideshow, this is definitely only for those who are truly interested in what he's saying. He takes the story of our world as far back in time as he can manage to communicate how us humans are a failed experiment in genetic manipulation, created by evil aliens who are trapped on our once peaceful planet. After much high adventure containing giants, monsters, dragons and magical weapons, toxic water rained from the sky as the planet Nibiru was decimated to make the moon and the mystic barrier. Since then we've been "totally lied to by our album covers" as Bill and Ted would say. Secret societies and religious cults have controlled history, leaving Joe Everyman in a psychotic and poverty-ridden mess. Modern politicians are quoted as they brag about swindling, cheating and engineering genocides. Finally, Mikey makes his way to advertising and how everything is a penis or vagina. Along the way he makes some gruesome mistakes. Usually he will be talking about a subject, switch topics and omit some type of connection that should have been mentioned, considering what he was just saying mere seconds before. Other times he will say something that reveals how his "deep and far-reaching research" missed something obvious. My favorite is when he praises the Disney corporation for having good intentions. The final section on advertising had me in tears of laughter as Mr. T pointed out pseudo-cocks, calling them "the male phallic". The noun form of that word, oh linguist supreme, is "phallus". As a documentary, it has lots of good information that goes against the grain of what society has programmed us to think. That means I rate it awesome. Do not, however, take this as the whole truth. Michael has lots of puzzle pieces and can put some of them together, but he doesn't have the puzzle put together. Nobody does yet. Do as Mikey says and find other sources of info.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Reign of Terror A.K.A. The Black Book (1949)

An American political drama directed by Anthony Mann.
During the French revolution, a French nobleman has a book containing the names of his political enemies. He plans to become a dictator by having all of the men listed in his book arrested and executed.
This movie started off looking really interesting. The camera-work was lively and the style looked good. Then it got bogged down in politics and the lies that come with that subject matter. Nobody was who they said they were and everyone had hidden agendas. This is not a thing that can be clearly presented in a 1949 film. The characters became difficult to differentiate and I believe that at least one of them was passing himself off as a man whom he had just killed. Overall, it starts out good and becomes both boring and confusing. I rate it bad.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Big Trees (1952)

An American drama directed by Felix E. Feist, starring Kirk Douglas.
A greedy and corrupt man moves his logging business to California. He meets with resistance from the religious settlers there when he plans to chop down the giant sequoia trees. When another logging company shows up to compete for the sequoia trees, they try to assassinate the main character.
I thought the plot and characters of this film were especially well done. The audio and video were very dated, but that was not a bad thing in this case. This would all be fine, but the style was very generic and the pacing was unbearably slow. I ended up being bored for the first hour and 20 minutes and only liking the action scene at the end. I'm giving this a weird pink rating because I think it's very well made, but extremely boring.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Texas Terror (1935)

An American western directed by Robert N. Bradbury, starring John Wayne and Lucile Brown.
A sheriff thinks that he has killed his best friend and mentor in a shootout with robbers, so he quits his job. When the friend's daughter comes to town to run her father's ranch, the ex-sheriff is convinced to help her with the ranch.
Everything about this was antique. From the audio and video to the style and the pacing, it was absolutely prehistoric. This meant that I got to see a very young John Wayne. This Sheriff John looks very different from the tough old sheriff in Rio Bravo. The main characters were identifiable, but everyone else was anonymous. The plot was barely decent. The indians' voices were difficult to make out because they spoke in such a low register and so quietly. I'm rating this poor because it was from a antediluvian time before the concept of a good movie was invented.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Telephone Operator (1937)

An American action disaster film directed by Scott Pembroke.
A pair of new line installers come to a small town to help run telephone lines. They are immediately disliked and plunged into small town drama of relationships, infidelity and trouble in the workplace. Once things start to go well for them, the local dam breaks and causes a flood.
The plot, although inconclusive, was interesting and kept my attention through the whole duration. The characters lacked back-stories, but weren't bad. The audio and video were pretty good for 1937 and the style was standard for that time, but not too shabby. The pacing seemed right and made sense. Nothing was rushed or drawn out. At 52 minutes, it was easy to watch. I'm rating this o.k.

Tarzan's Revenge (1938)

An American adventure film directed by D. Ross Lederman, starring Glenn Morris and Eleanor Holm.
A young woman who is engaged to be married goes on a jungle safari with her boyfriend and parents. A rich man on the boat to the jungle invites this woman to be his hundredth wife and she turns him down. He then decides to follow the safari. When everyone gets to the jungle, a wild man there meets the woman and the two of them fall in love.
Out of the three Tarzan films that I got, this is the best one. The plot was simple and most of the characters were a little shallow, but the style was worth it. Eleanor Holm definitely gets some ultra-conservative '30s female anatomy points. The audio and video showed their age, but didn't look bad. I thought the pacing was spot on and the soundtrack was actually enjoyable. The general presentation was very clear and it was always obvious what was happening. I'm rating this adequate because I think they did a good job of making it.

Tarzan and the Trappers (1958)

An American made for TV action film directed by Charles F. Haas, Sandy Howard and H. Bruce Humberstone, starring Gordon Scott.
Unscrupulous trappers are capturing animals in Tarzan's jungle and he fights to stop them.
The super-lame plot and cliche characters didn't make sense until I looked this up on Wikipedia. It was originally supposed to be a TV series, but that plan was abandoned and it was released as a movie. Regardless of what it is supposed to be, it is not good. Besides not liking Tarzan films in general, this one was poorly executed. I rate it bad.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Tarzan and the Green Goddess (1935)

An American action adventure directed by Edward Kull and Wilbur F. McGaugh, produced by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Tarzan goes to Guatemala with a safari in search of a statue with valuables inside.
The plot was simple and the characters shallow. The audio and video were prehistoric. At least it was only an hour long. I just don't see any reason to watch this movie at all. Rating it bad.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Target of an Assassin (1977)

A South African action adventure directed by Peter Collinson, starring Anthony Quinn and John Phillip Law.
A sniper is trying to kill a president who is being cared for in a hospital. The president's male nurse kidnaps him and together with the nurse's daughter, they go ride in a cable car.
The audio was horrible. I had it cranked and still couldn't tell what people were saying. The video was pretty standard for the '70s and the style seemed like an A-Team episode. The plot was absolutely ludicrous. It seemed to me that the sniper, the nurse and the president were all drug addicts and suffering from withdrawal. Maybe they were poisoned and I missed it? The nurse was puking or doubling over in pain frequently and the president was found living like a bum at one point. The sniper was also a patient at the same hospital, but didn't seem to be sick or injured in any way. The nurse's daughter first appears at his home and is covered in dirt and working like a slave. I found the daughter to be extremely attractive, but not worthy of any female anatomy points. This is evidence that the nurse is an abusive father due to his drug addiction. Obviously, I found the characters to be interesting. This movie was repugnant, but because of the poor presentation of the plot, can be funny. I'm rating it poor because it would be in one's best interest to just watch something else.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Lancelot and Guinevere (1963)

A British action romance directed by and starring Cornel Wilde.
Sir Lancelot falls in love with King Arthur's wife, Guinevere as a war is happening. This obviously causes differences in opinion and conflict.
Boring. So utterly and mind numbingly boring. I've read The Once and Future King and found this section of the book to be interesting, but this film really kills any type of entertainment value that may have existed. The relationships and politics of the noble class hold absolutely no interest to me in video form. The style was reminiscent of all those '60s sword and sandal flicks. The video was extremely grainy and the audio had a tremolo effect that was obviously caused by an inferior quality recording and damage that could have happened over time. I think that this is quite enough description of this film that I don't like. I rate it poor because it wasn't totally unwatchable.

Sundown (1941)

An American war film directed by Henry Hathaway, starring Gene Tierney and Bruce Cabot.
An English army camp in Africa is taken over by a new leader and news that the Africans are trafficking guns reaches the camp. Soon after, a white woman who runs a caravan in the area arrives in the camp as well and helps the military men to discover the details of the arms smuggling.
The plot was pretty simple, but the characters were very good. They were identifiable and easy to differentiate. All of them also came with back-stories to give them some depth. The audio, video and style were typical of the time period, but not bad. I thought that the pacing was a little drawn out in some parts and rushed just slightly in others. Although it pushed and pulled at "correct" time, this made it all that much more watchable. The hour and a half duration was just a little long for my tastes and what I think was needed to communicate and resolve the plot. Being a war film, I was expecting a higher level of propaganda, but this aspect was confined to a few quotes from a few characters (not taking into account any subliminals that I have no time to go into here). Gene Tierney earns the most basic and conservative of female anatomy points with her middle eastern clothing. Overall, it's an alright movie for those who don't mind it showing it's age. I rate it o.k.
As per the purpose of this blog, I'm trying to catch as many of the basic film elements as I can in my reviews. I had thought of putting bullet points for each element, but thought that this would make my writing seem too mechanical and dehumanizing.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Submarine Alert (1943)

An American war propaganda film directed by Frank McDonald.
Nazis and Japanese soldiers are using a stolen American radio to receive messages about wartime shipping and sinking ships. The American government fires all the radio experts and follows them to find the traitor in their midst. An innocent radio expert is then hired by the Nazis. Somewhere in all of this mess he ends up falling in love with a woman who is also part of the subterfuge.
It didn't have to be this complicated. Obviously, I followed most of the convoluted plot, but identifying the characters was a little difficult at times. The multitudinous droves of white men in suits were difficult to differentiate. For a war propaganda film, they sure went overboard on plot and characters. The audio and video were pretty standard for the era in which this was made and the style was nothing super-special. I'm not saying it looked or sounded bad, just "stock" as the guys from Metallica would say. I'm rating this o.k. because of how normal, standard and regular it was.

Songs and Saddles (1938)

An American western directed by Harry L. Fraser, starring Gene Austin.
A singing cowboy returns to his hometown to find that his father is being bullied into selling his farm by men who know that the property will become valuable when a road is built there.
I'm one for a good old fashioned country song and this film has a few of them. The characters were easily identifiable and the plot kept me interested. The audio and video were definitely not great and showed their age prominently. Overall, this is a movie for those who like old time cowboys. Being one of "those" myself, I rate it adequate.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Son of Monte Cristo (1940)

An American swashbuckling film directed by Rowland V. Lee.
When the heir to an empire is arranged to be wed to a corrupt military general, a man who has fallen in love with her after a chance meeting joins a rebel group and plays the hero in order to save her and her kingdom.
The characters were identifiable and I could follow the plot decently through the whole film. It was shot well, as was the case in many older films like this, but not astoundingly so. The style was obviously from the time in which it was made, but not quite as dated as other films of that era. The audio and video were just good enough quality to suffer through. The pacing was a off, as it felt exceedingly long and drawn out (maybe partially due to style and quality). Overall, it was just a tad on the dry and boring side. I'm rating it o.k. because there weren't serious problems.

Sky Patrol (1939)

An American action war film directed by Howard Bretherton.
A young man in the air force doesn't want to be there, but is forced to stay and even forced to cheat on his flying test. He then becomes involved in a mission regarding an unidentified plane and some stolen goods.
Being from 1939, the presentation was not the clearest, mostly because the audio and video sucked so badly. It was possible to identify some characters and follow some of the plot. The style was absolutely prehistoric, including the antiquated phraseology. I won't trounce it just for being old, but it definitely is dated and I'm rating it poor for this reason. Just watch something else.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Six-Gun Trail (1938)

An American drama action film directed by Sam Newfield.
The plot was so bad that Wikipedia doesn't even have a plot section for this film. The people who made it taped some stuff, edited it together and called it a movie. Total trash. It leaves a burnt popcorn taste in your mouth no matter how long it's been since I've seen a theater. This is just a bunch of old junk that got recorded. oops! I'll save it from the shit bin and give it a weird pink rating because it is null and void.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Singing Cowgirl (1938)

An American Western directed by Samuel Diege, starring Dorothy Page.
Bad cowboys are up to their standard mischief and a singing cowgirl, new cowboy in town and a boy team up to set things right.
Urban Dictionary says "you can't polish a turd" and they are right, but the makers of this film tried to do just that. The style, sets and pacing were for a good western. They used decent camera operators to shoot shitty acting and edited it together rather poorly, in my opinion. Apparently, Dorothy Page was billed as THE singing cowgirl and proposals were made for a bunch of films like this. Wikipedia says that it's the female lead that didn't go over quite so well, but I think it's the content in general. More specifically, her pants were the wrong size. It looked like she was wearing samurai trousers because they were so big. We can't see shapely curves through pants like that! If they had earned some female anatomy points with the singing cowgirl's costume, this would have been a much better film. For having easily spotted errors that should have been fixed, I rate it poor.

Shoot to Kill (1947)

An American noir crime mystery film directed by William Berke.
After a car crash, a woman is rescued and relates the story that lead up to crashing the car. The story involves a district attorney, gangsters and corruption.
When not making the movie would have been a better decision than deciding to make it, that's bad. This was extremely dry and boring. The characters were not memorable, the plot was muddier than a swamp and the style was very utilitarian (not a compliment). The only part that caught my attention was the black piano player. They showed close shots of him playing and I think he may have actually been playing the music that you hear in that scene. If so, it's the only thing they did right in the whole film. They made a horrid movie and I hate it, but I watched the whole hour and three minutes. I rate it bad.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Shadows of the Orient (1935)

An American crime action film directed by Burt P. Lynwood.
A young woman accidentally gets involved when the police are trying to track a Chinese smuggling syndicate.
The plot was simple, yet still managed to get muddied by poor presentation. The characters were some of the least developed that I have ever encountered. The style seemed very generic and the acting was atrocious. In fact, everything about the film was generic and disposable. It was a crappy movie and I rate it bad.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Ransom Money (1970)

An American crime film directed by Dewitt Lee.
A rich woman's son is kidnapped. The kidnapper demands that the woman follow his instructions and give him lots of money. The woman calls in police to help her.
It wasn't bad, but it wasn't good. The characters were extremely shallow, but the plot kept my attention. The pacing seemed just a little bit drawn out and the style was dated, but not entirely bad. To simplify, it's just a regular effin' movie. I rate it o.k.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Project Kill (1976)

An American action film directed by William Girdler, starring Leslie Nielsen.
A man involved in a secret government group of assassins tries to leave the group and runs away, but is pursued by another man from the group and a crime boss who wants to sell him to another country.
I think that Leslie Nielsen is a good actor and should have been in a better movie than this one. The plot was simple and so were the characters. The style was piss poor and stereotypical. I really can't think of anything good to say about this, so I rate it bad.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Prison Break (1938)

An American drama adventure directed by Arthur Lubin.
An innocent fisherman confesses to a murder to protect a friend who he believes did it. He tries to serve his prison sentence and leave, but another prisoner provokes him and his stay is lengthened. This other man plans and begins to execute a prison break, but is stopped by the main character, earning his parole. He faces trouble finding a job because nobody wants to hire a paroled prisoner. Eventually, he begins to meet the men with whom he served time as they are let out of jail as well.
I know I gave away lots of the plot, but it seemed like it needed to be that way to communicate what happens in the film. The audio and video contained no annoying artifacts, but really showed their age anyway. I thought that the plot and characters were decent and the pacing seemed right. It was, however, a little lacking in the style department. It just wasn't very memorable or special in any way. I'm rating it adequate because it's an alright movie with no real problems. This also says something about what I've watched: I've seen so many disasters that just not having anything wrong with it gets a film this positive type of review.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Prehistoric Women (1950)

An American adventure film directed by Gregg C. Tallas.
A tribe of feminists capture husbands in order to reproduce. One of these men escapes, discovers fire and helps the tribe so much that he and his fellow men are accepted into the tribe.
The narration was spread on so heavily and was so "grade school instructional film" lame that it almost caused physical pain. It definitely hurt the film. There were also some sections in which the screen turned completely black, but sound effects and narration continued. That's 2 strikes against a film that already isn't too great. It wasn't even "so bad it's good", but may be watchable if you like to mock old movies. Since that is all it's good for, I rate it poor.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

My Name is Bill W (1989)

An American made for TV drama directed by Daniel Petrie, starring James Woods and backed by CBS, Warner Brothers and Hallmark corporations.
The founder of Alcoholics Anonymous has trouble quitting booze and starts a support group to help other people quit.
You may recognize James Woods from his other role as a quitter in Cat's Eye (1985). He may have been slightly type-cast in the late '80s. This film was mostly about the main character and I think that's appropriate in this case, as it is mostly biographical. The style and presentation were good, but also typical of that era. I think that the ending was a little too happy compared to how the real Bill W's life actually ended. The real one died from emphysema and pneumonia while demanding whiskey. Historical inaccuracies aside, I didn't really mind the movie and thought it was a little better than the average AA meeting. I rate it o.k.

Port of New York (1949)

An American film noir crime drama propaganda directed by Laszlo Benedek, starring Yul Brynner.
The narrator says that top government agents must stop the influx of drugs to our country by finding the men responsible for a stolen shipment of opium.
It says in the beginning that the aforementioned drugs were being shipped in for research legally. It then goes on about how harmful the drugs are and how no good can come of them. Then why research them? Then these top level (and probably top paid) dudes spend tons of time tracking down the guys who stole the fun stuff so more money can be spent by keeping them in jail for an even longer time. All on your tax dollars. I thought that the film was propaganda with a thin plot and some forgettable characters. The style wasn't very good and the thing of having some parts narrated and some parts not was not the best idea. I rate it poor because it didn't cause discomfort and it gave me something to write about.